Work has to be done on the plant before any of that could happen. The roof, walls, and foundation all need some work to support the weight of display vehicles. 

"We hope the facility becomes a destination place, potentially for researchers, students, families, GM dealerships, GM employees and the general public." adds Wickham.

Speaking of the birthplace of a revolution, the Ford Piquette Plant sets claim as the birthplace of the Model T. In a room on the third floor, you can see where Henry Ford and his team put together the first vehicle for the middle class.

This is the ideal story of what could be for the other two plants. Sitting quiet for years, there was a fear in the late 90’s that the plant would be bulldozed. A non-profit named The Model T Automotive Heritage Complex was formed and purchased the building. It was renovated and has been a museum ever since.

If you travel there, you’ll see history in the cars that fill the plant floor & the building itself. They kept a lot of the building as-is but updated it to be structurally sound. It’s the perfect example of how to show off a part of our history without turning into something unrecognizable. It’s as if the plant is frozen in time.

Three plants, three different times

The Packard Automotive Plant has an idea but will it happen? It's a grand plan! But haven't people in this area heard a lot of promises before? Yes, but perhaps the difference now is there is hope and that's just what this area needs right now. Plus, investors have retained the original architectural firm that designed the plant.

Factory One has been purchased and by the company that's roots started there. General Motors has the money, and the incentive, to turn it into something worth visiting again.

The Ford Piquette Plant is here. It’s been in its current iteration for over a decade now and the future is bright.

The dichotomy set up in Dickens’ opening passage might one day not be representative of our area. Perhaps these three plants show us we are heading towards neither a season of light nor dark but somewhere in between.

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A Tale of Three Plants in pictures

Published On: Jul 30 2013 04:16:41 PM EDT
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Packard Automotive Plant -- National Automotive History Collection -- Detroit Public Library

Sponsored by: Specs Howard School of Media Arts