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3.5 Million Sq. Ft. Packard Plant

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  • 8E45E
    replied
    Originally posted by BobPalma View Post
    Before entering, yes, Gary...but while inside, you're best advised to wear it due to potentially-falling particles of who-knows-what!
    I would want more than just a ball cap if I was concerned about what may fall a person in there!!! And maybe a bulletproof vest too!

    Craig

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  • BobPalma
    replied
    Originally posted by Chris_Dresbach View Post
    Thanks for the pics Bob. I've never been to the Packard plant, but still appreciate it. It's hard to imagine that the place used to turn out some of the finest automobiles on this side of the hemisphere. Do you have any "before" pictures for comparison? And what the heck happened in that lobby from 1989 to now?!
    Chris: I believe The Studebaker National Museum has publications from Packard Automobile Classics, the larger of the two Packard Clubs.

    Their slick, color, glossy quarterly magazine is known as The Packard Cormorant. The Winter 2009 issue, cover below, is dedicated to the Detroit Packard factory:





    That issue has dozens of then & now photos. 'Next time you are at The SNM, ask to see their copy and you can see all the "before & afters" you want.

    The Lobby was obviously broken into and vandalized during the years since 1989. That's pretty much the story of the whole place, sad to say. Once windows are broken, entry is gained, and the place is open to the weather, especially harsh Detroit weather, it doesn't take long... BP
    Last edited by BobPalma; 07-23-2012, 07:44 PM. Reason: forgot to answer lobby question

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  • BobPalma
    replied
    Originally posted by Warren Webb View Post
    Thanks Bob for posting. I see the entry to the Packard offices where PACKARD was cast into the header was taken down. I hope it was done by a group that will at least preserve that for future generations. Comparing the pictures to one from 1989 it lessens the thought of myself visiting & relying on pictures only.
    Yes, Warren; the header and P-A-C-K-A-R-D name were carefully removed, with appropriate permission and blessings.

    They are being stored up north at the Shelby Township MI site of The Packard Proving Ground. A portion of the Proving Ground is being well-preserved with period buildings intact and being stabilized and restored. The site is becoming a showplace and center for The Packard Hobby, as if The Studebaker National Museum had a "satellite" facility / area at the former Studebaker Proving Ground.

    If that P-A-C-K-A-R-D doorway has not yet been re-erected, it will be as part of that Proving Ground acreage and good Packard memories. BP

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  • Guido
    replied
    Some may remember the dump truck being pushed from the 4th floor "window" several years ago.

    http://live.wsj.com/video/how-to-pus...5-FC679F9BA3BD

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  • Classic Car Guy
    replied
    Wow those are some pic's of the old Factory!! What a shame it was not made into another Car facility or a Museum for Packard/Studebaker? What a shame and thanks for sharing those photo's.

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  • Warren Webb
    replied
    Thanks Bob for posting. I see the entry to the Packard offices where PACKARD was cast into the header was taken down. I hope it was done by a group that will at least preserve that for future generations. Comparing the pictures to one from 1989 it lessens the thought of myself visiting & relying on pictures only.

    Leave a comment:


  • Chris_Dresbach
    replied
    Thanks for the pics Bob. I've never been to the Packard plant, but still appreciate it. It's hard to imagine that the place used to turn out some of the finest automobiles on this side of the hemisphere. Do you have any "before" pictures for comparison? And what the heck happened in that lobby from 1989 to now?!

    Leave a comment:


  • BobPalma
    replied
    Originally posted by studegary View Post
    Bob P. -
    Thanks for the pic's.
    I see that you took your cap off in reverence before entering the lobby.
    Before entering, yes, Gary...but while inside, you're best advised to wear it due to potentially-falling particles of who-knows-what!

    You'll note I was also wearing my shin-high, steel-toed Red Wing work boots that day, too. I knew it would be hot and we'd be walking, but just the same.... BP

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  • studegary
    replied
    Bob P. -
    Thanks for the pic's.
    I see that you took your cap off in reverence before entering the lobby.

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  • Bob Bryant
    replied
    Originally posted by BobPalma View Post
    True, Steve; I've often thought the business to have in metro Detroit is being a rattle-can paint vendor. BP
    How about having a panel truck and equip it with a selection of paints and colors and follow the ice cream truck through the 'hood! Could be a successful business and then franchise it for some other cities with similar problems.

    I lived in Gary, IN for three years a long time ago. About the longest three years of my life having grown up in rural areas. Even then I had customers who were shot to death in their businesses. I told my barber who had lived in Gary all of his life I was moving to Michigan and he asked, "How do you know you will like it?" I didn't answer because I didn't think he would understand.

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  • BobPalma
    replied
    Originally posted by swvalcon View Post
    At the cost of all the spray cans of paint shot all over they could have remodeled the place.
    True, Steve; I've often thought the business to have in metro Detroit is being a rattle-can paint vendor. BP

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  • swvalcon
    replied
    At the cost of all the spray cans of paint shot all over they could have remodeled the place.

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  • BobPalma
    replied
    Originally posted by Bob Bryant View Post
    BP: Thank you for sharing the interesting photos depicting the very sad ending to a formerly great company with a fine product. I have read where the city will attempt to group defunct properties and plans on making them green areas. Such demolition requires money, also. The squatters will be able to have a garden.
    Now that's funny, Bob...I think....BP

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  • Bob Bryant
    replied
    BP: Thank you for sharing the interesting photos depicting the very sad ending to a formerly great company with a fine product. I have read where the city will attempt to group defunct properties and plans on making them green areas. Such demolition requires money, also. The squatters will be able to have a garden.

    Leave a comment:


  • BobPalma
    replied
    The #1 Item on my Bucket List was visiting the deteriorating Packard Plant in Detroit before they tore it down.

    'Closest I'd ever been to Detroit city, as difficult as that might be to believe, was the 1995 SDC National Meet in Dearborn, so with these rumors and reports of The Packard Plant being on a short leash, I decided it was now or never and moved the adventure to the front burner.

    Friday, July 6, 2012 was the day. My Hudson friend Larry Kennedy had been on call for this mission more than a year. His son-in-law, John Pontius of Auburn IN, and John's 9-year-old son Jack wanted to accompany us. We piled in John's 1992 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon at 9:00 AM that morning and headed east from Auburn.

    True to form, John's Roadmaster rode as smooth as silk with the air conditioning making ice cubes all the way over and back despite having 316,000 miles on it! ('Can't imagine a Toyota or Honda anything being that comfortable and tight, assuming you could find a specimen in one piece at 316,000 miles.)

    **************************************************************************

    Yours truly at what was the Main Entrance to The Packard Motor Car Company lobby. This doorway was Packard's Official Street Address: 1580 East Grand Boulevard, Detroit, MI:



    It was once beautiful inside this lobby, which is inside the doorway seen above.

    If you had an appointment or were otherwise approved, you would have ascended the stairs to the right (now partially blocked by a fallen board) to see Packard's President de jour, or some other VIP:



    To see lesser executives, you would have continued down the hallway to the left, to reach the appropriate office:



    Ironically, the lobby didn't look all that bad when the picture below was taken in 1989:




    For some time, the Detroit Fire Dept. has had orders to not enter the property to extinquish fires that break out periodically due to vagrant and other illicit activities. They will stand at the perimeter and keep the fire from spreading off the property and endangering the few residences nearby, however.

    The biggest single fire in the history of The Detroit Fire Department was at this plant from the morning of February 9, 1959, through February 21, 1959. One way or another, the Fire Department had enough of a continuous working fire to have equipment and personnel on this site 13 consecutive days!

    Today, the scrappers have even stolen the caps off the fire hydrants:



    'Probably won't be staying at the forelorn Packard Motel a half-block east of the Packard Plant any time soon!



    The famous Packard Bridge spanning once-glamorous East Grand Boulevard, west of The Packard Motel:



    The balance of this collection are simply random photos of the plant taken July 6, 2012.

    For the most part, these are taken from public property. We were told it is dangerous to go very far onto the Packard property lest you disturb a squatter, druggie, scrapper, etc. I decided to take that at face value, much as I would have liked to scout around. But it is best to do that when armed, from what I understand!































    Obviously, as the son of a Packard dealer, these photographs and this facility are difficult to view. We once thought Studebaker's decaying facilities were an unsightly embarrassment, but they didn't hold a candle to Detroit.

    Decades of public policy due to political realities not to be discussed here have produced a flat-broke city that can't even afford to cut the weeds on public areas around Detroit, much less entertain demolishing the many properties such as this all over the downtown area. And even if they could be torn down profitably to recover the materials for scrap value, the area around this plant (and similar real estate) is in such a blighted area that it has little value as open acreage!

    South Bend, thank goodness you never looked this bad! BP

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