Saginaw is an industrial city in eastern Michigan. The seat of Saginaw County, it is located along the Saginaw River about 85 miles northwest of Detroit. Automotive parts and sugar beet processing are among its many industries. Saginaw began as a trading post in 1816, developing into a settlement after the building of Fort Saginaw around 1820, and into an industrial center after the first lumber mill was built in 1834. It was one of the leading lumber centers of the nation until the forests were depleted in the 1890s.