The birthplace of the iconic Ford Model T automobile, the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit, Michigan, still stands today, and is considered one of the most significant automotive heritage sites in the world.
Built in 1904 in the neighborhood of Milwaukee Junction, the late-Victorian style brick building was modeled after New England textile mills and measures 402 feet long and 56 feet wide over three stories, with 67,000 square feet of floorspace. There are 355 windows, which provided light as well as ventilation in the days before air conditioning.
Today, many original architectural elements remain, including original maple floors and square oak support beams. Henry Ford’s personal office occupied the second floor and has been restored and furnished with period-appropriate furniture. An “experimentation room” was found on the third floor, where an exclusive team developed the Model T.
Each day, over 100 cars were assembled at the factory, mostly by men, making Ford the biggest automaker through the 1920s. However, women also played a role: They assembled “magnetos,” a kind of electric generator.
It’s hard to believe that the first Model T’s cost just $365, which is about $7,000 today—pretty reasonable for a car! Want to learn more? Watch the video above, or visit the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant itself, which is open to the public.