Friday, February 4, 2011

When the Lorain Assembly Plant was New


On the way home from Brownelm Township last Sunday, we were passing the shuttered Lorain Assembly Plant when my wife asked, "Are they tearing down the old Ford plant?"

Looking over at the huge complex, I saw that it looked like a giant had sat down on a small portion of it and squashed it (above). It's a fairly shocking sight to behold for a Lorainite, even after all these years.

It's sad to drive by the old plant, a little more than five years since it closed. None of my family ever worked there, but plenty of neighbors while I was growing up, plus fathers of a few boyhood chums. These loyal families supported their company by exclusively buying their products and thus I spend a lot of time in my friends' various Ford vehicles, including old Mavericks, Pintos and LTDs.

Thinking of the Ford plant reminded me of this October 30, 1958 Ohio Fuel Gas Company ad that I had printed off the microfilm in the library. It's a 'Welcome to Lorain' ad that the gas company ran to honor Ford upon its arrival in town. (Click on it for a closer look.)

(As I've said before, I'm a big fan of these old-time advertising mascots from the 1950's, and I like this guy in the ad. Can anyone figure out what it is he's holding?)

Anyway, the gas company ad is a wistful reminder of the days when Lorain was an industrial powerhouse with a future full of prosperity and promise.

Back then it would have been unthinkable to imagine a day when the Ford plant would be closed. Hopefully Industrial Realty Group and Ohio Realty Advisors will be successful in their efforts to market and repurpose the property.

7 comments:

-Alan D Hopewell said...

The very last Econoline rolled out of the Plant on my 50th birthday, 23 December 2005.

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember at one point in time, you could make the claim that every Econoline in the world had been assembled at the Lorain plant. Is it True that for a time the Lorain Assembly Plant was the only facility assembling Econolines?

Dan Brady said...

It sure looks that way according to some online newpaper articles as well as this wiki entry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_E-Series

They state that the Lorain Assembly Plant began production of the Econline in 1960 (as a 1961 model). Then the Lorain Assembly and Ohio Assembly Plant (the Avon Lake facility) began to jointly produce them in 1974, beginning with the 1975 model year.

Anonymous said...

a dowling rod?

Mike Poptop said...

I would like to talk to someone who worked on the Econolines at the lorain assembly plant, send me an email enonoline1968-74.com

Tom Sawyer said...

I would love to communicate in any fashion with someone who may have worked on the first Comets, (1960). I recently purchased an original, 1 owner with only 32,000 miles. I'm trying to get a little history. Thank you

Tom Sawyer said...

I'm sorry, a little bit of contact info would be helpful... Saw0101@comcast.net..... 978-995-7969
Thanks..... Tom