Ford Authority

Ford Chicago Assembly Plant Turned 100 Last Week

As a company that’s been in business for well over a century at this point, Ford has plenty of milestones to celebrate on an annual basis. Many of them pertain to its production facilities, and in that regard, the Ford Chicago Assembly plant just turned 100 years old last week. Since it originally opened a century ago, the Ford Chicago Assembly plant has had a tremendous impact on the local economy, and the automaker continues to invest in it and create jobs there at the same time. In fact, production of both the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator are slated to continue there through at least the spring of 2028, but in the meantime, production of the refreshed versions of those crossovers are scheduled to begin in May – making now the perfect time for the Chicago Sun Times to take a look back at the history of the Ford Chicago Assembly plant.

It all started when Ford was looking for a suitable location to build the Model T, which contained a substantial amount of wood, prompting the automaker to settle on a location on the Calumet River – enabling easy access to the company’s lumber supplies in Northern Michigan. Things have obviously changed a lot since 1924, when the plant opened, but it still resides in precisely the same spot.

Now, 100 years later, the Chicago plant is Ford’s oldest continually operating assembly facility, and when it originally opened, it was the automaker’s second largest of 29 such locations. At that time, it employed 2,500 workers and cranked out 75 cars per hour, and it was even powered by the automaker’s own steam generators.

Through the years, the Ford Chicago Assembly plant has endured its fair share of adversity, ranging from the Great Depression to labor strikes to wars and even tragedy after five workers were killed when a fender baking oven exploded during its first year of operation. Today, following many retooling and renovations, it’s still churning out vehicles, however – just as it has for the last 100 years.

We’ll have more on Ford’s assembly plants from around the world soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 24/7 Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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