I am doing reseach on the history of the Twin City Ford Plant in St. Paul, Minnesota. Does any one have information on the plant in general and on the glass production? The plant was closed during the years 1933-35. Does anyone have info on this? I have found some information from my copies of the "Ford News" (1921-1926). The Ford News was still being published in the 1930s, but I have only a copy or two from that era.
Appreciate any help.
Darel Leipold (1910 Touring)
Darel, Try going to either the Trib or Pioneer Press archive. If you get the right person at the right time, you can get in the area(time wise) of the news print on microfiche. May have an article or two about it. Tim
I remember playing at the derelict Ford glass plant site in St. Paul as a kid. It was a long bike ride from my grandmother's house to the site which had several brick buildings with no doors or windows (all stripped) and the roofs were collapsed in the 1960's. The glass plant was near the river towards downtown St. Paul from the location of the Ford assembly plant. There were remains of huge ovens and tons and tons of sand everywhere.
It was right next to a large grain storage operation which was notable for the thousands of rats which came out every night when the sun went down.
The best source for any information you need is the Henry Ford - Benson Ford archives. They will help with research - They helped me research the old Ford Plant in Cincinnati, and sent me loads of information.
I have a listing of: Minneapolis Ford Model T Plant---420 Fifth St. North. It has been my experiance that while looking for plants you need to look around. Sometimes they are address changes and the plants are not always located at the location so listed. But the address above is a good starting point.
Chris, the Twin City plant's building is still located on that site. It's now full of offices suites and small manufacturing outfits. There's also a coffee shop. The only hints to the building's history is the Ford name on the small water tower on the roof and a few T parts on the wall near the coffee shop entrance.
Ford also had a sales office near the State Capitol in St. Paul. Last I heard, that building was set to be demolished. We did manage to get a photo of a bunch of Ts in front of it.
It's good that you folks had the forsite to photograph the building with a bunch of Model Ts.
Once the buildings are gone, they're gone.
From here, the building looks pretty good.
Just so that you can see the similarities in design, here is the restored plant in Cincy. These plants were designed by Albert Kahn, and they represent early reenforced concrete construction. The Cincy plant is on the National Register. Again, the Benson Ford supplied me with more information than one could possibly expect.
The Ford Sales Office in St. paul was also a nice building in good condition. But,it was very close to the Capitol they needed a new parking ramp near the State Capitol more than we needed an interesting piece of history..
One of these days, we'll line up a couple dozen of our club's Ts in front of the Twin City Assembly Plant. Luckily, that building stands in a slightly more stable part of downtown Minneapolis and it's fully occupied. But, I haven't seen the drawings for the proposed new ballpark site yet. We may lose another one.
I have a two page brochure entitiled "What You Saw at the Ford Motor Company" subtitled "Twin City Branch". It has info on the different departments and operations, etc. and production sales data from 1926. I actually have two copies. They are originals, not reprints. I would be happy to send you one of them if you'd like. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (805) 230-9115.
John, speaking of similarities in design, here's the former Ford plant in St. Louis. It's being converted to condos now.
I found this one. Not sure what year though.
Picture above is from 1925. There is an original copy at the Minnesota Historical Society.
There is extensive photo collection of the Highland Park plant at the Minnesota Historical Society. It includes pictures of the plant under construction as well as additional photos taken the same day as above.
NOTE: no spare tire in picture above!
According to the Minnesota Historical Society, photos were taken 5/05/1925
WOW - Great pictures. I love this kind of stuff
Eric, what is you email address? I have lost my old address book when I upgraded my comp. my email is:
I have tried to find those pictures on line, but failed. Do you have the photo numbers?
Enter "Ford plant" for key words. There are 285 images. Not all of the pictures have been scanned. The two above are scanned. I suggest that you go to the MNHS in St. Paul and pull the file of the physical photographs. I believe there is a photo of that same sedan coming off the end of the assembly line.
Also - the Minneapolis public library has indexed articles for some of the Minneapolis newspapers that are on microfilm. I don't know what the date range is(ie if it is as current as 1925).
In the 1960s? Clarence Forest "recreated" the occassion of the first Model T that rolled off the Highland Park assembly - he had a 1925? Tudor (he was also an employee at the plant). I think it was written up in Northern Light and/or may have been a picture/small article in one of the local papers. I know I have seen the photograph somewhere. Call my dad -he may have clipped it from the paper or remember the event. Also, call Jim Forest.
ALSO - if I remember correctly, there was an article published in the early 70s about the twin cities Ford Plant in the MNHS quarterly. Talk to my dad - he has a copy in his possession.
I love this picture of loading the cars onto barges for shipment down river. This is the location of the boat ramp in the public park today.
Glass plant pictures
Inside the glass plant
Beveling glass - no safety glasses!
Notice the use of Model T steering wheels to control the equipment!