Last Sunday afternoon I did some volunteer clean-up work at Piquette, along with my friend Norm and his wife. When Norm got to the museum he noticed several folks walking around the plant and looking confused. They had come from China and among other Ford history sites, had chosen to see Piquette as their very first stop. Unfortunately, the museum was closed for the winter, (except for special events/tours). That would have been a huge bummer, except we let them in anyway and gave them a personal tour of the plant. Only 2 of the 6 spoke any English so they did a lot of translation. Their level of interest was huge. They were absolutely amazed that most of the cars on display are drivable, actually get driven regularly and are mostly privately owned. Before they left they insisted that we join them in their many photos. I invited them to sit in my '21 Roadster for photos. It was truly a rewarding experience for us, and apparently for them as well. One of the non-English speaking members of the group said it best, "I'll never forget".
(Since my mentioning "Piquette" in the past has resulted in folks questioning what that means, I'll just add that the Piquette Plant is Ford's first company owned property, after moving out of the rented Mack Ave. Plant, and is the birthplace of Models F, N, R, S and a little number called the T.)
Thankyou for being such a great ambassador for the hobby and our country!
Thank you for being an "Ambassador" to the group.
I must of course mention, you left off (inadvertently I'm sure) models B and K.
Ditto that what Mark just said! Man, if I lived even within an hour of that place I'm afraid my wife would be a "Piquette widow"!! Great that you gave them the time and info.
Good on ya!! Did any of the visitor's have trouble pronouncing Jerry Van?? Good on ya!!
Thanks guys. Gotta thank Norm too, (he's on the forum here sometimes), he let them in. I was their impromptu tour guide.
Oops! Yes, B and certainly K as well.
I couldn't be cruel enough to make them say VanOoteghem.
If you get a chance please post some pictures of this historic place. I am too old to see it in person. I will never travel that far.
I did the tour of the plant in October. The staff and the whole tour were worth the trip from Calgary!. I hope to return someday. Thanks to the group who saw fit the keep this going!1
Good job Jerry and Norm, it warms the heart when you seen the commonality of people from other corners of the world. Gives one a sense of hope.
Hope these help...
Great job, Jerry, and great photos! Did you feel a bit like Guliver?
My mate John Page & I have been 3 times since 2010. Last year we took another 20 odd Aussies to see this wonderful attraction & the great effort put in by all the volunteers who have made our hobbies birthplace a must see for all. You don't need to be a T or even a Ford person to appreciate the significance of Piquette. Special thanks to Steve Shotwell who took us there the first time & to Don lacombe from the HFM who added his Knowledge to our 2 subsequent visits. All I can say is Don't fall off the perch before you visit Piquette.
Jerry & Norm,
A BIG THANK YOU for allowing them in and giving a tour. Museums do need down times for staff and artifacts to recover, but when something like this happens, it's always great that someone will take initiative and volunteer to do the "right thing."
Having unusual visitors stop by a odd times is more common than one would realize--I know it happened many times in my tenure as a curator. I was usually willing to open the doors and show them around, and usually one or two of the docents would also "belly up" and help. As you found, the reward of appreciation from the visitors is often overwhelming & it's great publicity for the museum, as you know the visitors will tell all their friends about the great time they had. Ya can't buy that kind of PR!
Oh, and great photos--I hope to be there someday in person.
You da man, Jerry Van!
Thanks Jerry. It is much appreciated.
Thanks Jerry, I love the photos with what I presume is number 220!
Well Rob. That is John Forster's 1909 model T.
Pretty much the spokescar for Piquette. It is
one of three 1909 model Ts on display at the
museum. The car resides near the experimental
room and is flawless. Jerry has graciously adopted all polishing and cleaning on the #220. See previous
photos on the forum. It does not have a windshield.
Still looking for a K to display.
We all appreciate Jerry's many hours spent at the
museum doing maintenance.
Hey Jerry and Norman,
Do ya'll still have and display the '11 barn fresh original Hupp? When I spent an entire afternoon at the Piquette plant in August of 2013, I learned a great deal by viewing and photographing that Hupp roadster because I was finishing up restoring one just like it. I never had the slant floorboards to repop and couldn't envision their dimensions so I asked the lady docent if I could remove them and take pictures. She fairly frowned at me and wordlessly walked back to the office returning a few minutes later wearing a pair of white gloves. She then asked me to remove the floorboards and she would hold the dirty, greasy, filthy but perfectly preserved boards for my picture taking. I did and fashioned perfect reproductions thanks to the "going the extra mile" educational efforts of a staff volunteer!! Soon as the wife retires this May, I'm taking her for a week at Dearborn/Detroit....
Norm is teasing me a little bit. It was he and his wife Donna who spent/spend "many hours at the museum doing maintenance". I stopped by for a short visit, and yes, I did dust 220, but, I'm not sure about "adopting all polishing & cleaning". Meeting our new friends from China was the added bonus.
The all original Hupp may have been removed. Not sure. I believe I know the owner though so if you need any info let me know.
That volunteer was most likely Pat Linklater. Your description of her sounds perfect.
Picture of two ladies driving by in a Model N.
Really is a shame that other, modern building is attached to the Piquette. Wouldn't it be great to see it as a stand alone building like the photo above?
Bill, Interesting point, but, the Studebaker addition is part of the building's history. What would be great would be to get the original power plant engine from The Henry Ford and rebuild the power house in the parking lot. That's it in the picture to the left of the plant.
I'm with you Bill. I sure would like to see that addition demolished.
I think I once read that it's Clara Ford driving that Model N.
Bill, I couldn't agree more! Piquette is such a beautiful building in so many ways...we need to be able to admire it in it's entire beauty, both inside and outside.
Steve, I read the same thing about Clara driving that car. Great picture. Somebody's watching them from the second floor corner window, and must be awfully hot in the one above it as that window is wide open!
Steve is correct. One of the lady's is Mrs. Ford.
I believe the original photo is in the Museum at Centerville.
Another view of the plant.
I was at Piquette in '03 during the centennial. I was awed that it was so well preserved. It was a highlight of the visit. I would like to go again to take more of it in.
Just recently I had a similar experience like the visitors from China, though I did not have travel as far. You might know that there has recently been flooding around St. Louis. There is a small County owned airport in St. Charles County about twenty minutes from me. A friend of mine has a small airplane stored there. It is tied down there. It had gotten water around it and we went there to check it. Our friend hadn't got there yet but we were looking at the plane. Some one came out to see what were doing and after our explanation and we were invited into the hanger.
Wow! It is a 1939 wooden quonset hut hanger that is used by the Comemerotive Air Force.
Inside there were two WWII bombers having their annual inspections, plus period motorcycles and jeeps and other treasures. The thing I am getting at is that we had a private tour of the facility while we were waiting for our friend to arrive. I felt lucky and I am sure the is how the group from China must have felt also.
Like Bud said 'Good on you" Jerry.
Let me add that the accessibility to 220 enjoyed by this little group was only due to the fact the owner of 220 also happened to be present, and was in fact the photographer. Otherwise, the car is roped off, with signs not to touch.
Steve and Peter are correct about Mrs. Ford driving the car (information obtained from past forum postings) If you look closely at the second story window you will see Henry looking out at the car. There was a larger photo posted awhile back and you could see Henry clearly.
At the end of 08, not to miss the special year, we went to see the Ford sights. An invitation from an employee/friend that worked at the Henry Ford allowed us to visit the Rouge (sp?), Greenfield Village and the museum. Time was short and not enough time to go thru Fairlane but we stopped just to see the grounds, all covered with snow. At the door we asked if we could take a few pics as our plane left before they opened. Before we could say good by, there was a gentleman that was kind enough to give a two man tour of the entire house, power plant and garage. That made great trip even better. It is one of the things that you want to pay forward if ever the time permits.
How would you ever have better experiences with another hobby? And it feels like you are driving in a cartoon whenever you are on the road.
In the picture I posted above does anyone know what the sign on the side of the building says?
Could it have been "The home of the Fordmobile"? - even though I suppose that name was more or less dropped by 1904 when the company moved in?
As far as removing the Studebaker building, I think that the elevator might have been moved from its original location perhaps as a result of the Studebaker addition. This would require additional modifications to get it back to orignial!
The sign on one side probably mimic's the sign on the other side, which I believe reads "The Home of the Celebrated Ford Automobiles."
Does the foundation also own the Studebaker addition?
Thanks. The "H" had me stumped.
What dates is it open to the public?
The Piquette Plant does not own the Studebaker addition.
The large sign on the side of the building reads: "The Home of the Celebrated Ford Automobiles." It shows better in the picture posted earlier in this thread showing Clara Ford and one of the secretaries driving past the plant. I understand Clara is the passenger.
Go to Ford Piquette Avenue Plant for more detail.
The painted letters on the Beaubien St side of the Piquette plant in the image above read "Home of the Celebrated Ford Automobile". There are also several imagines of the opposite side (John R St) of the building that appeared in the July 1908 Ford Times. That view shows the same lettering on that side of the building as well.
Maybe the lettering could be painted back on that side? (If FoMoCo allows it..)
Here's a new article about the museum with lots of pictures: http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2016/01/ford_piquette_ave_plant_birt hp.html
Thank you. That is my 1916 touring car in the main photo of the article. The only car in the museum you can sit in. Great for taking pictures.
Here is a picture of the 1911 Hupmobile Runabout at the Piquette Plant taken today.