As Ford Motor Co. demolishes its former Twin Cities assembly plant, it has agreed to preserve the facade of the oldest building for posterity.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman issued a statement saying he's pleased with Ford's decision to save a piece of the plant, which sits on a Mississippi River bluff in the Highland Park neighborhood. Coleman says he looks forward to working with Ford and a developer of the site to create a fitting memorial to Ford's legacy in the city.
Historian Brian McMahon tells the Pioneer Press he's disappointed by Ford's decision. He'd hoped the company would leave the entire showroom standing. McMahon helped pull together car collectors, history buffs, and former employees to form a group called the Save Our Ford Heritage Committee.
The showroom where Minnesotans bought their first Model Ts is a small part of what became a 122-acre site. The Star Tribune reports Ford has agreed to save seven bays with columns, medallions and light fixtures on the building, clay roof tiles, and a frieze.
Henry Ford himself selected the plant's location, which allowed for the use of hydropower from a dam on the Mississippi. When it closed in 2011 it was Ford's oldest plant. According to a video produced by St. Paul, 7 million vehicles were built there.