This is one of Detroit's UE hotspots, and understandably so. It's huge, it's very interesting and it's wide open! This was my first port of call in Motor City and it didn't disappoint! All the schools and churches could wait as far as I was concerned, my primary objective in Detroit was to see as much of the auto industry as I could.In 1916, the company became the Fisher Body Corporation. Its capacity was 370,000 bodies per year and its customers included Abbot, Buick, Cadillac, Chalmers, Chandler, Chevrolet, Churchfield, Elmore, EMF, Ford, Herreshoff, Hudson, Krit, Oldsmobile, Packard, Regal, and Studebaker.
The company constructed their signature factory, the Albert Kahn-designed Fisher Body 23, on Piquette Street, in Detroit, in 1919. The building is now part of the Piquette Avenue Industrial Historic District. At the time, the company had more than 40 buildings encompassing 3,700,000 square feet (344,000 mÂ²) of floor space.
In a 1919 deal put together by president William C. Durant, General Motors bought 60% of the company. The Fisher company purchased Fleetwood Metal Body in 1925, and in 1926 was integrated entirely as an in-house coachbuilding division of General Motors. Fisher Body as a unique entity was dissolved by being merged with other GM operations in 1984.
The building is huge, on a par with Millennium mills or the Stanley Dock Tobacco warehouse. The first floors were pretty empty but it got better as I went up. Cat had told me there had been a fire here just a day before my arrival to Detroit, and the place was still smouldering when I was in there, but there had been no attempt to seal it up.
The top two floors were fabulous, still kitted out with production line rails and many bits and bobs from the days of auto manufacture. The roof offered stunning views over the city, and despite being very visible for miles around I risked a water tower climb for the icing on the cake.
Again I was a little on edge in here about bumping into someone but it seemed I had the place to myself. Quite unbelievable by our standards just how large the place was, apparently there are plans to save the building but quite what you would do with it and how much it would cost just to re-glaze the windows alone remains to be seen.
The building just below the water tower was the birthplace of the "Model T"
Fisher Body Plant 21 is just across the street, and looks quite derelict, though is used for warehousing
Please excuse the hoody, I was trying to look like I had as little to steal from as possible...