The New York Times runs an occasional article in its travel section called "36 Hours in - - - ". It suggests things to do on a short visit to an unfamiliar city. Most of the cities are distant and exotic, but some are close to home.
Today the website has "36 Hours in Detroit". (It's probably in the dead tree issue, too, but I haven't seen it yet.) There's a mention of the Piquette Avenue plant. Here it is:
"Tucked in a somewhat forgotten industrial neighborhood, the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant (admission, $12) is one of the most significant car factories ever built. This was where the first Model T was constructed. In the early 20th century, Studebaker had a plant next door. The exceptional guided tour gives you a sense of the plantís huge role in American automotive history. Among an extensive selection of cars, youíll find a 1904 curved dash Oldsmobile body, largely considered to be the first mass-produced gas vehicle, along with some of the first Cadillacs and a classic 1965 Ford Mustang."
The Piquette Plant is one of the best places on earth to visit. So neat to be able to stand in the very spots where hundreds of men toiled daily putting America on the road! And you can almost feel Henry in the "back room" tirelessly working on details of the soon to be Model T. I need to go back again.
Hey one of the best deals at Piquette is their repro gas sticks. They are accurate and have the Piquette name on there. They are cheap cheap cheap at 2 bucks. I buy 50 at a time and give them out to visitors to my barn ,club meetings when I am invited to speak. It's for a good cause and its a neat gift.
Hey Brass Car Guy, I think the best deal is the FORD Joke books, I have them printed 400 at a time and donate them to Piquette to sell.
You are correct it is a good cause for a Motown gem,
I visited Detroit in 2007 to see all things Ford.
Piquette Ave was right at the top of my list of "Must See's".
In just 52 days from now, Mrs. Patterson and I are heading off there again. Its still at the top of my list. I cant wait to see how much the restorations have changed the building.
Attached you'll find a photo of how it was 10 years ago. Going by more recent pics on their website, I think they've done a fantastic job.
......and this is how it looks now.
I was there in 2003, and really want to go back. My oldest son (9) is really getting into history, so a weekend trip to Piquette and THF is in the plans for late summer or fall.
Having started out with gm in a building about the same age i really enjoy it.My question is/is there a working web site and do they sell on line? Sure going to miss this September! Bud.
Comparing the two photos, someone sure did a nice job restoring the front entrance. I've been there a couple of times, I didn't know about the gas gauge sticks. I'll be sure to get one next time. And Tim, well said!
I am a Founder Member of the Piquette Preservation Project. I would have loved to have been available to help them with their window preservation, but it's kind of hard to do living in California! I try to send them a check a couple of times per year to help them along. If you are ever in the Detroit area, it's a must see.
For those in the Detroit area, we have the Model T Shop talk at Piquette today.
Piquette Tís, Casual Tís and Honored Guests Ė
The Piquette Tís/Casual Tís annual Shop Talk is coming up his Saturday, May 13 at the Piquette Plant. We will have multiple session on the maintenance and restoration of Model Tís.
We are very pleased to have nearly 40 people signed up at this time and have room for lots more. Usually we have between 50 Ė 60 people.
The people who are already registered are listed below. Please send me an e-mail if you would like to be added to the list. Please let me know if you are on the list and cannot attend. If I missed your name, please let me know as well. J
The sessions are free, lunch is ďfreeĒ (donations accepted) and the talks are great. Attached to this e-mail is a flier.
Don LaCombe has prepared a special session for us on Fordís X-Engine. I am really looking forward to this.
Please join us!
Piquette Tís and Casual Tís
Don't forget Highland Park when you go to Detroit. Still some of it standing, but you can't go in.
The Shop Talk is a fantastic event! I'll sadly be missing this one, though.... :-(
I was there last Saturday for a great tour!
Senior citizens get a break on the quoted price, but it is well worth more that the price charged.
They have 2 very low serial numbers 1909 Touring cars on display that look like they just came off the assembly line. One is a two lever two pedal car.
Children were having a great deal of fun with a Service Station Equipment Company Hand Crank Coil Tester that they were allowed to crank and make sparks in a display spark plug.
That unit looks like new too and a sign on it says it was donated by Russ Potter and Brent Mize.
In 2008 we attended the Piquette T Centennial Tour. The closing banquet was at the Piquette plant. I found this A-frame sign from the 2003 Ford Centennial at the Piquette Plant gift shop. It was used as a hard back-up for posters that were for sale. One look and I wanted it! We spoke to Jerry Mitchell about buying it. He said they hadn't thought of selling it, but would for a donation. That is how I got it. He then told me they had bricks from the Highland Park plant in the basement if I wanted one of those. Yes of course. He took me down to the basement and I picked out these two. I can tell you it was a thrill to go down the stairs using the handrail that Henry Ford used, as nothing there had ever been touched. He told me they planned on selling these bricks for a fundraiser. I have never seen them advertised for sale, they may still be there.
I'm pleased you mentioned that handrail on the stairs.
I too had the same thought and felt a real blast knowing that Henry had held the same piece of timber. Then it occurred to me.....so did Ransom E. Olds, Harvey Firestone, the Dodge Bros. and probably President Harding.
Would you please run that by one more time? Why would RE Olds be at the Piquette Plant? Bud.
I have absolutely no idea why......BUT.....when I visited the Piquette Plant we (all of those on the tour) were all told that R.E.O. visited the place several times. Please bear in mind this was 10 years ago.
We were also told that it was his (Olds) factory fire that inspired Henry Ford to built this plant with "Fire" in mind, incorporating gravity fed sprinklers and removing sharp edges from most of the timbers.
I was lucky enough to have been invited to the shop talk today. If I caught it correctly, Olds was manufacturing body parts for Ford.
In case any one is wondering, Ford also contracted the Dodge Brothers to build the Model T chassis, engines, axles, etc. prior to them starting their own company.
Rob, thanks for posting the picture.
Most don't realize if it wasn't for Ford there wouldn't have been a Dodge.
My Grandfather also used the steps in 1906-1908 on the way to the Experimental room. Here is a photo I took in 2003 of the steps.
Dan,Are you going the right direction? Most people don't realize if not for Dodge Bros there might not have been a Ford? Bud.
Bud, I'm sure if the Dodge brothers hadn't been available Henry would have found another machine shop to supply the parts he needed. I don't believe anything could have stood in his way, he was to driven.
A little OT - Somebody should make a movie about the snubbed 13th investor in Ford Motor Company - did he invest later after finding a partner so that the company could skip the number 13? Did he invest in a different car company? Did he die penniless instead of getting rich like he would have if Henry had allowed him to invest?
John and Horace Dodge were two of the original investors in Ford Motor Company. As I understand it, their investment was to supply mechanical parts on credit. Good thing for Ford. I believe they had less than $300.00 cash when they sold the first three Model As in 1903.
Glad some of you made it to the Shop Talk! That back stairway is THE most untouched and authentic part of the building! It's my favorite part. If you were to be at the ground level, you'd see a tin sign, tacked to the wall, stating that there is to be no spitting on the floor. It's been recently confirmed that the sign is original to Ford's time in the building. Also, been proven that two identical signs were posted on the 2nd & 3rd floors. Those 2 signs are now gone, but the nails that held them are still there. What saved the 1st floor sign? You can't reach it.
So happy you were on the 2008 tour. We worked our butts off putting that event on and I'm still pretty proud of it. Bud was there too! (but little a little "hard luck" that week)
Jerry,You should be very proud of that tour and the way many of Fords Cottage Industries were visited!After joining the two piece crank club we could have got the wife's Model A but our oldest flew into Detroit and it cut us short.Bud.
Jerry, you all did an excellent job on that tour. Ellen and I got engaged at the Indiana centennial, got married shortly after and the Piquette tour was our honeymoon. The entire tour was perfect, and the closing banquet was over the top.