Iconic Ford Model T Plant to Be Demolished

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Indianapolis plant produced over 600,000 automobiles until it was forced to shut down in 1932 due to the Great Depression.

Ford Motor Company currently gives truck enthusiasts the opportunity to tour the 2.3-million square foot F-150 Dearborn Truck Plant near Detroit, Michigan. There, one can witness the synergy that exists between humans and machines that results in more than one F-150 being produced every minute. Now attempt to picture the same facility empty and largely vandalized 87 years later. Hard to conceive, no?


Perhaps that’s how hundreds of employees who vigorously built 300 cars per day felt during the factory’s heyday. Completed in 1914, the massive plant brought a much-needed change to the Indiana automotive industry, which at the time was home to high-end-only manufacturers such as Duesenberg and Stutz.

The Indianapolis, Indiana played a crucial role in distributing Model As and Ts across the lower Midwest. Its strategic location allowed vehicles to be shipped to other parts of the country much faster, and with less complications during the winter months. The plant even had an 18-car train than ran through it, but it wasn’t to pickup vehicles – it was to deliver the much-needed raw materials to build Ford vehicles in grand scale.

Despite building cheap cars for commoners, Ford paid its employees an average of $5 per day – which was considerably higher than the industry average for that time. In fact, sources state that business and city leaders opposed to a possible plant expansion which would’ve hired more workers – claiming that high wages would affect the local manufacturing industry by upsetting pay scales.


Other noteworthy features of the plant include its construction and a famous crane. More than 60% of the building’s walls were made out of glass, since it allowed for brighter working conditions indoors. It also kept electric bills lower due to more natural light flowing in. A massive multiple-story high crane carried vehicles during various production stages from one floor to another, but the crane was commandeered by the US Government during WWI and sent to a Detroit foundry to help with war efforts.

The property was recently acquired by TWG Developments, who plans to clear the land and build a new apartment complex.

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Photos via: [Historic Indianapolis]

Jerry Perez is a regular contributor to Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Corvette Forum, and 6SpeedOnline, among other auto sites.

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