The Ford Piquette Avenue plant and the office where Henry Ford created his historic Model T car is now welcoming visitors. The century-old plant has been restored by a group of preservationists and Ford history enthusiasts who have worked for a decade to renovate it. The first 12,000 Model T cars were built at Piquette, starting in September 1908.
The 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 look.
“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.”
Piquette 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 where Henry Ford and his team of automotive pioneers changed the course of history. They will also see how automobiles were hand-assembled before the moving assembly line. Restored is the experimental room where the Model T was developed, Henry Ford’s 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.