An extremely dedicated team of volunteers has nearly completed restoring the 355 windows at Piquette.
The Detroit Free Press did a great article on the team that was also run on USA TODAY's website.
(Message edited by peter nikolajevs on July 23, 2017)
When I visited the Piquette plant several years ago, the Window Team had restored a few of the windows and it seemed that there were a million left to do. What a daunting task! The article above says that they have only 16 left to do. What a great testament to the perseverance of those Window Team workers!
Heartfelt thanks go out to all the Team members and others who work to preserve and restore the holy shrine which is the Piquette Plant. Any and all of us who have an interest in the Model T and its history owe them all a debt of gratitude.
If I lived in or around Dearborn, I would have been happy to have helped on that project. I've pretty good at glazing windows, but it's hard to do when you live in California. Every now and then I send them a check, because it's something I believe in.
Larry, All of us at Piquette appreciate the support we get from all around the world. They help make the Ford Piquette Plant one of the must see stops when visiting Detroit.
Mike, The Windows Team started out doing the windows the same way Ford built cars at Piquette, one at a time. Over the years, and many windows, they developed an assembly line which really sped up the work without sacrificing quality. Because the plant is on the National Register of Historic Places, they can't simply replace a window, but must do their best to reuse as much of the old as possible. On your next visit, make sure to look at the windows more closely.
Here is what the west side windows looked like in June of 2005 (very early in the renewal program).
By September, 2009, they made a lot of progress.
The windows look great. How is the roof repair coming along?
Bay A, south end (to the right in the pictures) is done. Work has started on Bay D north end (to the left). Some roof structural repair is necessary before they can redo the roof covering. Main trouble spots are right over the north elevator (original Ford) door. On the old pictures of the plant this is right below the water tower. The elevator is all there but needs extensive restoration, and will still not meet modern codes.
Historic original feature; it's grandfathered in, shouldn't be required to meet "modern code."
Hope they get that roof done soon, a building can stand a long time without windows, but not without a roof!!
Are there any plans to do anything with the first floor, or Couzens' old office, or anything like that?
R.V., not that I know of. The first floor in Bays A and B is rented by General Linen for their offices and support.
What's with the hearse in the second photo. Did they bring Henry back there to get his approval?
Well, the City inspector black-balled that elevator many years ago as being unsafe. Supposedly, it was made "non-operational" at that time, in the same manner as old cannons have their barrels cemented shut when they are used for display only. That's the story anyway.
A small portion of the first floor is rented to a local funeral parlor for storage of their vehicles.
Hmm, wonder how competent the inspector was? Sometimes there are ways to upgrade to meet safety too. Depends if you need the elevator to move vehicles up or down floors for displays, then the importance changes.
PS: many inspectors do not understand historic building codes either!!
David, Not so sure. Here is a photo of the support pulley for the South elevator. Studebaker converted to old shaft into rest rooms about 1920. (Up is to the left - crazy iPhone pictures!)
It is believed that the North Elevator is all there, but not in good condition.
(Message edited by touringtom on July 26, 2017)
Yeah, if that's the support pulley, that beam might not still be "good". Then there's all the plumbing that's been put in the shaft. . . .
David, There were two elevators in Ford's time at Piquette. The support pulley shown is in the former shaft that has been converted to restrooms (circa 1920). There is a duplicate elevator at the other end of the plant. That one was just ignored after Studebaker installed the larger elevator at the south end in 1920 or so.
If I recall correctly from listening to the various docents, in Ford's time the south elevator was used to bring parts up, the north brought completed cars down.