Ford Piquette Avenue Factory

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by Joe Babiasz  More from Author

Automotive Museums Guide

What to Expect

This wonderfully restored building is the only example of an early Detroit auto factory still open to the public. Built on 3.11 acres of land purchased by Henry Ford in 1904 for the sum of $23,500, the factory is well preserved and largely unchanged from its original 1904 appearance. Three stories in height and 405 feet by 56 feet in size, the Piquette factory was where Ford’s Model B, C, F, K, N, R and S models were produced. It is, however, best known as the place where the Ford Model T was both designed and built. On September 27, 1908, the first Model T was assembled. Before the move to the larger Highland Park facility, over 12,000 Model Ts were built at Piquette factory. The exterior of the building is today immediately recognizable as the same building shown in early photographs – still in its original red brick, complete with original fire escapes and windows.

Walking the third floor is like stepping back in time. One is immediately impressed by how much it resembles the operating plant of 1905, as it’s virtually unchanged from over 100 years ago. To this day, the third floor has never been painted since Ford Motor Company left the facility in 1910.

The original sliding fire doors remain attached to the firewalls, still bearing the same "Positively No Smoking" signs that were stenciled on them in 1904.

Located in the back corner of the third floor is the secret Experimental Room where Ford developed the innovative Model T. Another exhibit spans five bays on the third floor, showing the Model T during various stages of assembly. This exhibit explains the stationary assembly process with which cars were produced before the moving assembly line.

Various Model Ts and other Piquette-era Fords are on display throughout the rest of the building, with several dozen interpretive panels explaining the history of the building and the people who worked there.


461 Piquette Ave.

Detroit, Michigan 48202


Hours of operation and admission

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. - first and third Saturday of the month May through October

General admission $10.00

Free onsite parking

Automotive Museums Guide

Ford Piquette Avenue Factory

Henry Ford Museum

Automotive Hall Of Fame

R.E. Olds Museum

Packard Proving Grounds

Gilmore Museum

Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Collection

Walter P. Chrysler Museum

Alfred P. Sloan Museum


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