The Packard Plant sprawls multiple city blocks in Detroit and measures in at 3.5 million square feet. The Packard Company opened the plant to build luxury automobiles in 1903. At the time, the plant was considered to be the most modern automotive manufacturing facility in the world.
Inside the multi-level structure, cars were moved from one floor to another thanks to massive elevators. Each floor included a large workforce to manually build different sections of the Packard automobiles. Most of the buildings are still completely intact thanks to the brand new application of steel-reinforced concrete in the early 1900’s.
The Packard cars manufactured in the plant were no stranger to new ideas or inventions. In fact, Packard was the first company to build a working 12-cylinder engine and to provide air conditioning in a passenger car.
Detroit resident Henry Bourne Joy bought an Ohio made Packard in 1900. He was so impressed by the car that he helped to bring the company to Detroit, thanks to a group of investors. On October 2, 1902, the Packard car, which was manufactured under the name Ohio Automobile Company, changed their name to the Packard Motor Car Company.
In the 1940’s, Packard switched from cars to the war production of airplane engines. The conversion proved to be extremely positive giving the company millions of dollars in reserve. However, bad management decisions and struggles with Ford, GM and Chrysler in the mid 1950’s destroyed the company.
Packard closed their doors for good in 1958. Other businesses rented the massive property from time to time for storage, but that completely ended for all but one of the buildings in the 1990’s. A company called “Chemical Processing” stayed in one of the many Packard structures until year 2010.