The Huron Cement flag in the NMGL collection is eight feet long and consists of a rectangular white flag with a blue outline of a circle in the center. Within this outlined circle, “HURON” in white lettering appears on a red sideways hourglass shape. This red shape could be described as a cement bag as Huron Cement vessels hauled dry powdered cement from the Huron Cement plant in Alpena, Michigan to their distribution terminals around the Great Lakes. Significant colors for the company include white, green, and red; from the late 1940s through the early 1970s the vessels’ hulls went through various color changes with “HURON CEMENT” in white lettering on green hulls by the early 1950s, to gray hulls with red lettering in 1965, then to gray hulls with green lettering in 1973.
John Battice Ford was the first president and co-founder of the Huron Cement Company with the vessel J. B. Ford bearing his name. In 1965, Huron Cement became a unit of the National Gypsum Company, and the J. B. Ford vessel’s hull color was changed from Huron Cement green to the beige color it still wears today. In 1987, Huron Cement was acquired by the LaFarge Corporation, and Inland Lakes Transportation was formed as a subsidiary to manage the fleet. By the 1990s, Huron Cement went by Inland Lakes Management, Incorporated. They still took care of the old fleet of Huron Cement boats with incredible maintenance. The E. M. Ford, built in 1898, was sold for scrap in 2008 and J. B. Ford, built in 1904, does not sail anymore.
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