Friday, January 18, 2008

Factory #12 1925 Thru 2002



May 5th,1939 showing homeless families camped out in Oak Park at the corner of Baker st. and Industrial Avenue. Factory #12 is in the distance with Buick's employment and axle heat treating just beyond the people. This photo stated the county relief headquarters was in the background, so does that mean the Buick employment and services building? The photo below was during the same event only facing south-east with the old Weston-Mott factory in the background.     

This view facing east with the north-end of#12 in the foreground and #29 just to the east. Leith st. is at the left.

This view of #12 is from the west showing the demolition at the site of the "HALL OF THE GIANTS", this photo shows the overhead crane used to change the dies. There were two fatalities just after the regular first and second shift crane operators retired at the same time. Both deaths were due to improper training and inexperience. The new operators were leaving the brakes set while lifting the dies thus causing a pendulum effect. Both these accidents happened during the negotiations for the "Flex Body Shop" and I believe this had a lot to do with Buick City's demise. If we had gotten the new flex setup they might still be building cars there. *1 A direct quote from Lloyd Reuss: "If officials and workers at the plant had continued to pursue improvements with the same determination and "can do" spirit that went into creating Buick City, things might have turned out differently today". Like many before him he may have forgotten where he came from. I hope I'm wrong because I always liked him. In 1983 the statement made by past manager David C. Collier saying Reuss was "the best damned thing that ever happened to Buick" actually may have been a double edge sword because he may have ended up being the "worst thing that ever happened to Buick". But I have the privilege of hindsight. Some others have a totally different opinion on why Buick did not get the flex body shop. "More research needed as always". *1 The Flint Journal, June 29, 1999 pg. A 11

This was the "HALL OF THE GIANTS". This view is facing south west in #12. When I worked this area these presses were rotated to form a continuous stamping operation. As I recall the last one to the north was not rotated and this group of presses was called the 5 line. After #12c's presses were installed these were the small guys.

This view looking north at factory #12 shows the roof has now been raised (1925) to accommodate the larger presses now required which were called "The Hall Of The Giants". Also the factory driveway structure is gone being replaced by a new entrance. When I first hired in (1972) Factory #04 was attached here at the south end of #12 and you had the second floor of #04 above your head because this was still a delivery entrance to the Buick complex. You will also note that we now had a traffic light at this intersection. The two demolition photos are from Leonard Thygesen.

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