Hemmings Motor News Blog Blog

Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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A Century Later, Ford’s River Rouge Plant Remains a Monument to Industry

Posted January 31, 2018 9:00 AM by dstrohl

Springwells was aptly named. Situated along the Rogue Rouge River just southwest of Detroit’s city limits, the farming community operated around plenty of marshes. Few would peg it as prime real estate for one of the world’s most influential factories, but Henry Ford had a vision, one that he turned into reality 100 years ago with the River Rouge complex.

It wasn’t just the marshlands and pastures prone to flooding that led others to scoff at Ford’s idea. The Rouge River was wide but shallow, unsuitable for all but the smallest boats. And besides, Ford already had more capacity to build Model Ts than most observers figured he needed at his Highland Park assembly plant and at various other assembly plants distributed around the world.

But Ford, who in the mid-Teens still depended on others, such as the Dodge brothers, to supply him with castings as large as engine blocks, aimed to bring every aspect of producing an automobile together in one location. It wasn’t a new concept: As Joseph Cabadas wrote in his book, River Rouge: Ford’s Industrial Colossus, GM’s manufacturing centers in Flint and Lansing arguably incorporated vertical integration well before Ford thought to implement it. Ford, however, wasn’t far behind, with all aspects of Model T assembly under one roof already, and he was, in fact, looking to expand on the Highland Park plant. So, in July 1915, he settled on Springwells, bought several hundred acres of farmland, and called on Albert Kahn to design a foundry for the site.

Ford built almost anything at this Motor City site.

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