Historical steam engine returns home to Mount Clemens

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published November 23, 2018

 Mount Clemens Assistant City Manager Jeff Wood, Mount Clemens City Commissioner Laura Kropp and Mount Clemens Mayor Barb Dempsey admire the recently renovated steam engine donated to the city by the Weier family during a dedication ceremony  on Nov. 16.

Mount Clemens Assistant City Manager Jeff Wood, Mount Clemens City Commissioner Laura Kropp and Mount Clemens Mayor Barb Dempsey admire the recently renovated steam engine donated to the city by the Weier family during a dedication ceremony on Nov. 16.

Photo by Deb Jacques

MOUNT CLEMENS — A historical steam engine that once played a role in the city’s bath houses has returned to Mount Clemens.

A dedication ceremony was held at Clemens Park on Nov. 16, welcoming the 1872 Farrar and Trefts steam engine home again along the banks of the Clinton River, with city officials in attendance.

“We are honored to have this important part of history for all of our residents to see and learn from,” said Mount Clemens interim City Manager Lisa Borgacz.      

The engine was donated to the city by Robert Weier, of Armada, and his sisters, Susan and Ann. Their father was an avid collector of vintage items and acquired the steam engine when Robert was about 8 years old.

“Someone was going to scrap it,” said Robert Weier, 65. “I remember I was so excited about it and wanted to go (when my father left to pick it up), but I had to go to catechism.”

After their parents died, the siblings decided to donate their father’s collection.

“We were really happy to donate it to the city,” Robert Weier said. “After all, that engine may have pumped water for President Roosevelt.”

Mount Clemens became known as Bath City, USA, in the 1800s, and was a popular stop for both political figures and celebrities of the time wanting to experience or re-experience the healing powers of the mineral baths. The mineral baths offered at many luxury hotels and bath houses were widely known for their healing powers to those suffering various ailments, including skin conditions.

The steam engine, used to pump mineral water into the tanks of Mount Clemens bath houses, was renovated to its original condition by the Mount Clemens Department of Public Services.