Dr. Douglass Houghton
Physician, Explorer, Geologist, and Mayor


Dr Douglass Houghton was a versatile physician who came from New York to Detroit in 1830, to lecture about geology and chemistry, and later became the states first geologist, in 1837. Earlier, he had explored the northern reaches of Michigan on two trips with Indian Agent, Henry Schoolcraft, and civic activist, Bela Hubbard, where he found copper traces on the Keweenaw Peninsula. As state geologist, he discovered the Saginaw Valley salt beds, and in his 1841 report to Legislature about copper findings in the Upper Peninsula, he triggered a mining rush.
In 1842, he was elect Mayor of Detroit, and the first free public schools opened during this tenure. He died in 1845, when his boat capsized in Lake Superior.
A city, county, and the state's largest inland lake, are all named in his honor.

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