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Ford Piquette Avenue Plant
411Piquette Avenue, NW corner of Beaubien, Detroit - Wayne County
Other Names Ford Piquette Plant
Historic Use INDUSTRY/PROCESSING/EXTRACTION/manufacturing facility
Style Late Victorian
Architect/Builder Field, Hinchman & Smith
Henry Ford
Significant Person Henry Ford
Narrative Description The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is located approximately five miles north of the Detroit River in a section of the City of Detroit just east of Woodward Avenue between the Ford Freeway (I-94) on the south and East Grand Boulevard on the North, known as Milwaukee Junction. Residential development had not yet reached this far northward when the Ford Piquetter Plant was built in 1904, but the rail lines were already established, making it attractive to the several automobile and automobile related companies that located there in the early years of the twentieth century. Several of the industrial buildings situated along this rail line, both east and west of Woodward Avenue (New Amsterdam Historic District, listed on the National Register, 2001), still remail today. The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is built on its lot lines at the northwest corner of Piquette and Beaubien. The original three story building measures 402' x 56' in ground dimensions. Its exterior envelope consists of load bearing brick masonry walls constructed of common brick, punctuated with a regulaar pattern of window openings on all sides. The south (Piquette Avenue) elevation is the front and exhibits Late Victorian influences with a tripartite arrangement of bays with a low gable over the center. The minimally sloped roof is hidden by the parapet wall in the front; thus, it is not visible from the street. The yard to the building's west was a major feature of the site's functionality while operated by the Ford Motor Company and has changed over the years through the addition and removal of support as its long side ran the remaining length of the block westward to Brush. The two buildings were then connected at the second and third floor levels. The resulting drive through between the two buildings at the ground level permitted access into the courtyard. Structurally, the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is in excellent condition. Its defining features, such as the brick walls, window arrangements, wood columns and wood floors are all intact. In addition, many original elements such as signage, sprinkler system, fire doors, electrical fuse boxes and rear elevator remain in place.
Statement of Significance The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is historically significant because it: 1) is the birthplace of the Model T, the most important car in history, 2) the site where the application of the moving assembly line to the manufacture of automobiles was conceived, 3) the site where the world's record for car production was achieved, thereby establishing American dominance and expertise in automobile manufacturing, 4) the site where Ford Motor Company became the largest American manufacturer of cars and 5) the first building built and owned by the Ford Motor Company, one of the largest corporations in the world. The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant qualifies for listing on the National Register under Criterion A for it associations with the Model T, the car that put America on wheels; Criterion B for its association with Henry Ford; and Criterion C as embodying a distinctive method of construction that became obsolete shortly after its construction as a result of innovatins in building technologies and necessities of industrial production.
Period of Significance Early 20th century
Significant Date(s) 1904, 1908
Registry Type(s) 02/22/2002 National Register listed
03/13/2003 State Register listed
Site ID# P47263