Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Highland Park Ford Plant

The birthplace of the moving assembly line, the Highland Park Ford Plant opened its doors in 1910 on Manchester Avenue at Woodward Avenue.  The main structure was designed and implemented by Albert Kahn.  The plant included offices, factories, a power plant, and a foundry and it became a model after which many factories and production plants were built.  Kahn designed a plant that contained two buildings which ran parallel to one another.  One building was four stories tall while the other was just one story tall.  The one story building was the wider of the two, spanning 140 feet wide.  Between the two plants was a very large crane way that allowed cranes easy access to deliver parts to both side of the plant.  Both facilities included a beautiful skylight that allowed for a relaxed work environment.  Although they were two separate buildings, they functioned as one single unit. 

The Highland Park Ford Plant was the second production facility for the Model T, the first being the Piquette Plant, and in 1913 it became the first production facility to manufacture complete cars by use of the assembly line.  In the 1920s, automobile assembly was moved to the River Rouge Plant and the Highland Park Plant began to focus on automotive trim manufacturing and tractor assembly.  As of 2011, the plant has been used by the Henry Ford Museum as a storage facility for artifacts and to store documents for the Ford Motor Company.

The Highland Park Ford Plant was groundbreaking and revolutionary with its implementation of the assembly line.  Without Henry Ford and the Highland Park Ford Plant, the automobile industry would still be stationary. 



Powerhouse of the Highland Park Ford Plant, 1920s - 1945.101.001

Highland Park Plant photo, 1922 - 2005.046.002

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