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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

FORD MOTOR CO. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

FORD MOTOR CO., a major employer in the Cleveland area, entered the Cleveland market in 1906 by establishing a sales and service office at 1900 Euclid Ave. In 1911, Ford moved its Cleveland operation to E. 72nd St. and St. Clair Ave., where workers assembled Model T's from sections received from Detroit. The company then built a 4-story brick assembly plant at 11610 Euclid Ave. which began operating on 29 June 1914. During World War I, the government used the plant to store war materials. Two years after automobile production resumed in 1919, a 5-story wing was added to the factory, and in 1923 the stationary assembly line was replaced by Henry Ford's innovative moving line. With 1,600 workers, automobile production peaked at 225 Model T cars daily in 1925. After producing Model A cars from 1927-31, the plant briefly produced Model B's in 1932, but Ford halted production later that year and converted the facility to offices and a distribution center in 1933. It was turned over to the government again during World War II and later was sold. In 1976 the building was placed on the U.S. Dept. of Interior's Natl. Register of Historic Places.

Following World War II, Ford built several production plants in the Cleveland area, making it a significant base for the company's operations. Ford's BROOK PARK complex, established between 1951-55, included a casting plant to make engine blocks at 5600 Henry Ford Blvd., Engine Plant #1 at 17601 Brookpark Rd., and Engine Plant #2 at 18300 Five Points Rd. Ford also built the WALTON HILLS Stamping Plant at 7845 Northfield Rd. in 1954 which fabricated steel bumpers, hoods, roofs, and quarter panels for the Ford assembly plants. In 1978 plants #1 and #2 were making engines for more than half of Ford's domestic cars. However, a recession in the auto industry reduced employment at the engine complex from 16,000 in 1978 to 11,000 in 1980. The Brookpark engine plants successfully competed with other Ford plants for new projects during the 1980s, producing V-8 engines and 6-cylinder truck engines. In 1992 they began to build a new all-aluminum V-6 engine following completion of a $700 million expansion. The late 1990s saw the end of V-8 engine production at Ford's Brookpark engine plants, but a new aluminum casting plant was opened in Brook Park in 2000, a high-tech facility employing fewer workers than a more traditional iron foundry. The Ford Motor Co. employed 15,500 Greater Cleveland workers in 1995.

Last Modified: 15 Dec 2002 02:02:35 PM

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