Central City Alliance

Out Of This World - Model T Revisited

Sep 22, 2001

Over 700 people attended the first public opening of the historic Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Saturday, July 27 where Henry Ford created and assembled the famous Model T. The event featured a guided tour through the factory, slide presentations, a historic car parade & demonstrations and photo exhibits. Visitors enjoyed viewing cars that the Piquette Plant produced from 1904 to 1910, such as the Model T, N, K, S, and A.

Jerald Mitchell's, Founder and CEO of T-Plex, objective is to restore the plant to its circa 1904-1910 appearance. "The Piquette Plant is the birthplace of the Model T - the most important car of the 20th Century, it's also where the first moving assembly line was conceived, that's why the Piquette Plant is worth preserving, it's part of the American culture," said Jerald.

The Piquette Avenue Plant sits on 3.11 acres on the corner of Beaubien and Piquette. The Ford Motor Company purchased the property from Max Brook, in April 1904, for $23,500. The architectural firm of Field, Hinchman & Smith designed the main building; a three story, wood and brick construction building, 402 feet long by 56 feet wide. Construction began May 10, 1904 and was completed about December 1, 1904. Henry Ford and his team of automotive pioneers made automobile industry history several times over at the historic Piquette Plant.

In 1907, Ford Motor Company broke all sales records with the Model N. Later that year, Henry Ford and C. Harold Willis developed the concept of the Model T; Joseph Galamb drew up the designs. The production of the Model T began in September 1908.

Henry Ford's concept was so in tune with the needs and aspirations of the average citizen, that it took America by storm. More than 10,000 cars were sold within the first year, an astronomical figure for the period. Production continued until Ford outgrew the plant and moved to the larger and sturdier buildings in Highland Park January 1910.

Ford Motor Company became the largest and most successful producer of automobiles in the world. Henry Ford's "Universal Car" - the Model T is known around the world as the car that put America on wheels, and it all started right here in the modest three-story building on Piquette and Beaubien. For more information or to make a donation to help refurbish the historic Piquette Plant log on to www.tplex.org or call (313) 867-8960.

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