Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Detroit Car & Manufacturing Company

Not to be confused with the Detroit Car Company, the Detroit Car & Manufacturing Company was the first railcar builder west of Albany, New York. The manufacturer had its beginnings in 1853, when Dr. George B. Russel undertook building 25 cars for the Detroit & Pontiac Railroad. Incorporated on December 24, 1867, it was located on Gratiot Avenue.

In 1871, George Mortimer Pullman bought the Detroit Car & Manufacturing Company through the Pullman Palace Car Company. Located at Croghan (now Monroe St.) and Dequindre streets, and intersected by the Detroit & Milwaukee Railroad tracks, Pullman was able to consolidate all his manufacturing operations into one facility. From here, Pullman built five classes of cars: hotel cars, parlor cars, reclining room cars, sleepers, and diners.

Until Pullman built a new plant outside Chicago, most Pullman-built railway cars were made in Detroit. In 1893, the facility, which had around 800 workers, was closed due to the nationwide recession.