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Before and After – The Sad Story of the Packard Plant

The Packard Motor Car Company Plant, in Detroit, Michigan, (seen above) was for a long time, one of the grandest examples of an automobile factory in the world. The company moved into its first new and modern  Albert Kahn designed, reinforced concrete building on East Grand Blvd. in Detroit during 1903 – 1904. After that time it was a continual process of expansion until the whole complex was almost one-half a mile long.




The photos (above) are all courtesy of the Detroit Free press and originated from the Detroit Public Library. All are captioned in a gallery you can access below, containing eighty-one photos of showing the Packard plant during its busy and most prosperous pre war years.

The Detroit Free press photo (above) taken from the same spot as the (top) photo shows the crumbling remains of the once grand Packard Plant. The situation that whole complex is in, remains very serious and it now appears that the great majority of it may end up being razed. Take the time to view the following links to the Detroit Free Press, were you will see the plant at its prosperous times and today, close to death after being taken off of life support.

The newspaper has has done a very good job of putting together a number of features you will enjoy exploring:

An interactive aerial view showing where and how the complex is currently disintegrating. By moving your mouse over the photos you will see how it looked in the past.

An editorial and a must see video that explains the problems and shows the condition of the plant and how it is being stripped by scrappers, piece by piece.

The remainder of the 75 black and white photos with captions seen (above) showing interesting scenes back when it was in operation.

An amazing  interactive gallery that overlays images from the present with an image of   the plant in the same view when it was in operation.

timeline that starts in 1899  and lists significant events in the complexes history and covers troubled years and down hill slide from 1987 to the recent foreclose proceedings by the city.

One other photo galley not to be missed shows the sad scenes of the Packard Plant today in images by talented photographer Brian Kaufman of the Detroit Free Press. Found via Mac’s M.C.G.

7 responses to “Before and After – The Sad Story of the Packard Plant

  1. I look forward to this website as somewhere safe from ideological-theological bombardment. There are infinite opportunities to dust it up on line but keep this one for hobbyists , please!

  2. We think that Donald Ellis has the right idea and we are not going to post anymore comments unless they pertain to Packard, Detroit or the factory and other automakers and keep “politics” out of it. Sorry but we deleted all of the previous comments just to be fair to everyone. Remember The Old Motor is about learning more about the vehicles we love and fun, let’s keep it that way.

  3. That packard plant goes back to early 1990’s and needed to be replaced long ago WW2 keep it in operation but that was its useful life. the major reason Packark failed was trying to produce modern cars in a very outdated factory

    • The demise of Packard is much more complicated than an out dated plant. Allowing the bean counters to run the company in the early 50’s and the failure of the merger of Hudson, Nash, Packard, and Studebaker played a big part in the eventual failure. Books have been written on the subject.

  4. I worked in the photo department of Packard during 1943 and 1944. I left Detroit in 1951. It is very sad to see what has become of Packard and Detroit.

  5. i want to join the group that is to be renovating the Packard Automobile Plant. I have some great ides on manufacturing small products and generate a profit to aassist in covering the renovation costs.
    My ideas is to fabricate used FedEx trucks into food trucks. I wish to install a small iron and steel foundry to recycle the scrap that will be generated during the renovation. I wish also to manufacture a small wind generator that will serve single family homes and small commercial buildings.

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