Henry Ford’s Piquette Avenue Plant remains one of the most important locations in industrial and consumer history, serving as the factory where the famous Model T, as well as a whole other alphabet or earlier prototypes were manufactured.
While not the first place Ford operated, it is still of critical importance. Located north of downtown, he moved there from the first location, which was demolished and replaced by another important Detroit landmark, the Michigan Building and Theater.
The plant was taken over by Studebaker which then built many of the other large factory buildings that still stand nearby.
While I don’t think these buildings were designed by Albert Kahn, the revolutionary Detroit architect, they reflect his new vision of industrial architecture in their form. Kahn’s name will start coming up a lot from now on, as modern Detroit and his designs are inextricably linked.
Ironically, Ford grew so fast that it only lasted in the Piquette plant, designed by Field, Hinchman & Smith, for a few years, from 1904 to 1911, when it was sold to Studebaker. Eventually, even 3M had interests in the building.
Nearby is a former Fisher Body Plant, which logically was located near its largest customers. It’s a massive building, towering over the vacant lots.
You can read more about the Fisher Body Plant 21 here.
Again, it reflects the revolution in plant design in the Twentieth Century.
A few of the apartments where workers lived still survive.