Placeography:Featured place/2014-04

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Twin Cities Ford Assembly Plant, Saint Paul, Minnesota

The Twin Cities Ford Plant played an important role in the history of the Twin Cities and the Ford Motor Company for almost a century. The Ford Plant was built in 1925 in the Highland Park neighborhood in St. Paul. It is located just above the Mississippi River near Lock and Dam No. 1 and encompasses more than 2 million square feet. The Twin Cities Assembly Plant routinely had a higher than average productivity for the Ford Motor Company. Over 7 million vehicles and 45 different kinds of vehicles were produced at this site during its history. The plant was closed in December 2011. Demolition of the buildings began in June 2013 and may continue until the end of 2014. Brian McMahon, Historian and Director of University United, has started a group: Save Our Ford Plant Heritage Committee. Architect Albert Kahn, working with the Boston firm of Stone & Webster, was most likely the primary architect for the Twin Cities Assembly Plant. An industrial architect who had already designed several buildings for the Ford company, he based much of the TCAP’s design on the Ford Engineering Laboratory in Dearborn, Michigan, which he had also designed. With its strikingly classical facade, the Twin Cities Assembly Plant was originally designed to face the street; however, when Henry Ford saw the design drawings, he reportedly asked for the orientation of the building to be rotated 90 degrees, to allow for a sweeping view of the Mississippi River. The original facade of the plant had very large windows that looked directly in upon the assembly line, allowing tourists and other visitors to view the automobiles in their various forms of completion. However, a 1968 expansion of the plant destroyed much of this facade, replacing glass with solid walls.

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[http://discussions.mnhs.org/HP/oneonone.cfm snubnosed]