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Model T Automotive Heritage Complex (Ford Motor Company Piquette Avenue Plant)

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Ford Motor Company Piquette Avenue Plant
1904, Field, Hinchman and Smith. 411 Piquette Ave.
  • (HAER, Jet Low, photographer)

This stretch of Piquette Avenue was part of Milwaukee Junction, named for the nearby Detroit and Milwaukee Railroad, and Chicago, Detroit and Canada Grand Trunk Junction lines. The automobile grew up and matured at Milwaukee Junction. After quickly outgrowing its first factory on Mack Avenue, the Ford Motor Company built this well-lighted, three-story, rectangular, brick industrial building that exemplifies the standard mill design developed in New England. Provisions were also made for adequate protection against fires through fire walls and an automatic sprinkler system. Repeated arcades containing windows grouped within segmental arches march along the sides of the building and a battlemented cornice runs along the front. Ford first built the Model T here in 1908 and struggled to increase production, before finally moving to the Highland Park Plant ( WN126) in 1910. At the Highland Park plant Ford conceived of the application of the moving assembly line to the manufacture of automobiles.

In 2000 the Model T Automotive Heritage Complex, Inc., purchased the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant. In transforming the old factory into a centerpiece of the MotorCities National Heritage Area, the complex is interpreting the heritage of the automobile industry and contributing to the revitalization of Milwaukee Junction. The building is a National Historic Landmark.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert

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