Friday, January 18, 2008

Factory #12 Demolition Plus Inside

This south facing view from inside the factory #12-c annex shows the north face of factory #04. You can see where this photo was taken below, indicated by the yellow X and arrow.
This is overlooking the Oak Park facing east. The area in red is where the departments known as the B-loop were located. B-Loop was factory #50 machine floor when I hired in in 1972 This is just south (or right) of the photo below. That is factory #04 still intact at the right. 
 The train shed is in the background. The snow covered area of basement conveyors shown at right center was the press area. I stocked all these areas at one time or another. . This photo and the one above and below are still shots from Leonard Thygesen's documentary. 
This is part of #12-c going down for the 10 count, you are facing east with #12 showing at the left.

This is an "El Par", ours had no cage. El Par stood for Elwell Parker.

This is what the presses looked like after Buick City, in this view facing south in the part of the factory designated 12c. My friend Bill McKeller worked at the press next to last on the line of presses to the right in this photo. The trucks that supplied the large steel blanks used on these presses were called "EL PAR'S" short for Elwell Parker the manufacturer of these vehicles. We had one of our truck drivers get killed when the supervisor Ron Hensel, a nicer guy you'll never meet, told him to take the El Par to factory #17 for repair. Ron felt guilty years later thinking he should have given more instructions on how to get to there from factory #12. I won't tell his name but instead of driving down Division st. and crossing the tracks then following the road north along the tracks over to #17 this guy decided to take the short cut over the bridge from Division st. to factory #94 then down the ramp located in the middle of #94. There was also another ramp that led from the second floor of #94 that exited just to the north of #17. Why he did not take that one is anybody's guess but I always figured he did not know this other ramp existed because of inexperience. Maybe he was just too frightened by the trip up and over the bridge because that in itself would be enough to frighten the devil. That old bridge must have been really making some horrible noises as he crossed it, which incidentally was condemned shortly after that. You had to be careful just going over it with a regular forklift let alone a monster like the El Par. This truck was so huge it had two stations for the operator to stand at and control the tillers like a bulldozer or tank. It was so wide you had to walk from side to side in order to check your clearance. Hence the two sets of controls. Now I only drove this truck a few times, in the training sessions or if it was in my way so I don't remember the exact weight but this thing was like driving a small house. I considered myself a pretty good driver but even I drove it like a drunken sailor. So to end this story, he was backing down the ramp and was crushed by the steel beam that held up the second floor of #94 because there was not enough clearance, hardly enough for a regular forklift to pass let alone the El Par. The driver knew enough to back that monster down the ramp but if he had went forward he may have survived. It's just one of the many crazy deaths at Buick.

Factory #05 Enamel Plant Factory #12 Body Shop 

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