Ford's Piquette Avenue plant has been restored and opened to the public by a group of preservationists and Ford history enthusiasts who have worked for a decade to renovate it.
"It's the first building built and owned by the Ford Motor Company and the only early automobile plant in Detroit open to the public," said Jerald Mitchell, president of the group. "Ford produced eight models here between 1904 and 1910."
"The Model T, called the car that changed the world, was designed and engineered in this facility," Mitchell said. "The first 12,000 Model T cars were built here, starting in September, 1908."
The Piquette Avenue plant, near Detroit's New Center area, was purchased and saved from potential destruction in 2000 with donations by members of the Henry Ford Heritage Association. It was then transformed in 10 years from a semi-derelict building into a viable automotive museum. Donations and volunteer efforts have renovated the interior, installed exhibits, and restored the facade to its original 1908 appearance.
It is now owned and operated by a non-profit corporation which accepts tax-deductible donations to support its operation. It is not affiliated with Ford Motor Company.
Visitors will see a 1900-era mill style factory scene where Henry Ford and his team of automotive pioneers changed the course of history. They will see how automobiles were hand-assembled before the moving assembly line; also the experimental room where the Model T was developed, Henry Ford's restored office, and one of the earliest existing Model T cars.
The plant is open to public April through October, closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Group tours can be arranged at other times and the facility is available for special events and occasions. Hours, directions and admission prices are available on website www.tplex.org and by telephone 313-872-8759.