Saturday, February 20, 2016

Ford's Chicago Torrence Avenue Assembly Plant

(Satellite images are below)

Glen Miller posted
Glen's comment:
Chicago Torrence Avenue Assembly is Ford Motor Company's oldest continually-operated automobile manufacturing plant. It is located at E. 130th Street and Torrence Avenue in the Hegewisch community area of Chicago. The Ford Taurus, Lincoln MKS, and Ford Explorer, all of which share the same platform are assembled in this plant. Here is the plant in 1924 where Model T's were being built shortly after it opened. [Actually, it opened ten years earlier, 1914.]
Lynn Gamperl Antonaglia I work here! We build 600-650 cars per shift every day.

Every once and a while I'll read an article about Ford investing more money in the plant to keep it viable. I believe one of the changes was "flex manufacturing" that allowed them to more easily change the ratio of Taurus, Lincolns, and Explorers that are made based on market demand.

One of the reasons for creating grade separations for 130th Street and Torrence Avenue, was to increase the efficiency of moving cars off the assembly line to the shipping facility further south on Torrence Avenue.

I found remnants of industrial spurs along the assembly plant indicating that they used to receive auto parts via rail. But it looks like they now use rail, NS/NKP, just for shipping the final product.

Bird's Eye View
Tony Margis posted

Rod Sellers posted
Where am I?
Rod Sellers commented on his post
Answer: Aerial of Ford Plant, view SE, toward intersection of 130th and Torrence Avenue (top right) 1940. Avalon Trails grid pattern but only a few homes. Test track for Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) built by Ford during WWII. Attached photo is aerial view in 1950.
Julie Dausey Oziemkowski Rod Sellers In 1938 plant was there, but parking lot different and no track. Subdivision was even emptier grid.

Rod Sellers commented on Julie's comment
I also checked the 1938 aerials and saw that there was no track. It is my understanding that the test track was for WWII production so maybe the 1940 date is too early, but only by a couple of years. I found a Ford photo (attached) showing construction on the former test track dated 1956 so it wasn't there for too many years. I love a good "history mystery"
Julie Dausey Oziemkowski Rod Sellers this article says military production started in 1942. Also refers to test track as "rough road" track.
Ron Kopanski The track I remember was east of Torrence about 133rd by U.S. Steel Supply. We went back there all the time in the late 60s early 70s. Two different tracks. I remember being told it was military personel carrier test track.
Gary Siatka There was also a track on the east side of Torrence where the newer car carrier lot is.
Rod Sellers That was a tank test track used by Pressed Steel.

Michael Mora posted
“Aerial View of Ford Motor Company Branch in Chicago, Illinois, 1948” at 126th and Torrence Ave. “Ford Motor Company opened its Chicago Assembly Plant in 1924. Located on Torrence Avenue in the city's Hegewisch neighborhood, it replaced a smaller facility that had opened on Wabash Avenue ten years earlier. Over the years, employees at Chicago Assembly have built a variety of Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln vehicles.”
From The Henry Ford Collections. You can view high resolution version, enlarge, and zoom in at

(new window) I wonder what is so small and valuable that they have to lift their jackets for inspection when leaving.

Ford is going to quit making cars (sedans). This plant will be converted to make SUVs.

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