Group Wants to Open Old Ford Plant for Tours

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Tourists may soon be able to visit a historically significant Ford Motor Co. plant in Highland Park, Mich., if a community development group has its way.

The plant once turned out millions of Model Ts and was designed by noted industrial architect Albert Kahn, known as the "architect of Detroit."

Plans are for the Woodward Avenue Action Association to buy and renovate part of the complex and turn it into a visitor center for Detroit-area auto tourism.

The plant was home to a moving assembly line that revolutionized the auto industry. It was also the first place to pay an average daily $5 minimum wage.

During World War II, the Highland Park facility was used for military production.

"It was quite a unique building," says Bob Kreipke, Ford's corporate historian. "For a number of years, it was the largest inside manufacturing facility in the world."

Heather Carmona, the association's executive director, says the 20th-century plant is particularly relevant as Detroit and the U.S. auto industry try to recover from years of struggles.

"That rebirth we can use and tie to the history of the building," Carmona says.

Ford, which is headquartered in Dearborn, sold the complex decades ago to a private company but still uses part of the facility for storage. Other companies also use sections of the plant.



Photo, dok1, flickr
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