My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 3A

18 Sep

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Day 3 – Thursday July 25

I was really disappointed when I visited the Yankee Air Museum in Belleville, MI this morning.  I had read many articles about the famous Willow Run B-24 Bomber plant that Henry Ford built during WWII, and I was expecting to see the museum’s aircraft displays in the remaining portion of that plant.  Well, I was informed that the building was still being renovated, and most of their 25+ aircraft were on temporary loan to other museums.  Bumber!  The small collection of five aircraft and some memorabilia in the small museum building was unimpressive.

I headed northeast on I-94 about 20 miles to visit The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI.  This museum in overwhelming!  A person could spend a week in this museum, and not see everything. It seems that Henry Ford was a visionary in more ways than one.  I learned that by the late 1920s he was a world-famous collector.  This museum is built on Ford’s Rouge Factory site (birthplace of the Ford Model “T”), and is where much of Ford’s collections have been used as displays. I was especially impressed with the Heroes of the Sky aircraft displays, and the automobile collection that showcases over 120+ beautifully restored cars dating from 1865. Added to all of this is the Greenfield Village, the Dearborn Development Center and the IMAX movies, and the average person just can’t see it all in one day.

Now I headed east to visit the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit, MI.  I learned that the Ford Motor Company produced its first Model “A” and Model “AC” cars in 1903, in a converted wagon shop that became known as the Ford Mack Avenue Plant.

Then in 1904, Ford’s assembly operations were moved to the new Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, where the evolution of the Model “A” thru Model “T” continued.   In 1910, when the demand for Ford’s Model “T” made this building inadequate, assembly operations were moved to the larger Highland Park Ford Plant, where the Ford Motor Company first used the moving assembly line to produce its cars.

In 1914 Henry Ford shocked the car manufacturing industry when he announced he would raise his employees’ wages from $2.34 to $5.00 per day, and cut the shift hours from 9-hours to 8-hours per day.  This move allowed Ford to work three equal shifts per day, which would keep his assembly line producing cars 24-hours per day.  It also cut his employee turnover rate from 31.9% in 1913 to 1.4% in 1915.

I decided to by-pass the Bunert School Museum in Warren, MI as they are only open on Sundays, and I’ve seen many one-room school houses on previous trips.  So, now I headed northeast to visit the Michigan Transit Museum located in Mount Clemens, MI.  This museum is in the restored 1859 depot, and displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the railroad’s history of this part of Michigan.   A Historical Marker outside the museum described how a 15 year-old Thomas Edison saved the life of the Mount Clemens railway station agents’ son, and was rewarded with his first telegraphy lessons.

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

 

Bill

 

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

One Response to “My 2019 Great Lakes Road Trip Part 3A”

  1. Onisha Ellis September 19, 2019 at 10:20 am #

    That Henry Ford was a smart man!

    Like

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