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Packard plant photos 2/16/2012


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The Packard plant has now deteriorated to the point seen in the photos below.









Here someone used a cutting torch to cut a portion of the I beam off for scrap metal. There really isn't much metal left in the place.



This is the tile floor from the main entrance. This is where they cut away the marble doorway that said "Packard" on it, and saved some on the interior woodwork.











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Great (but sad) photos. Thank you for sharing them with us. I drive by here frequently and these photos actually make the the condition of the building look better than it is. Unfortunately many of Detroit's historical and iconic buildings are in a similar state. Years ago, Don Sommer ran his business in this building. It was also used for "dead" storage and was a site for all night rave parties and indoor drag racing (yes, it is big enough to drag race inside). Over the years, different artist groups tried to make studio/loft spaces inside. I assume at some point, if the city had any money, what is left will be demolished-and the homeless squatters that live here will have to find another place to rest. For now, the city is too broke to demolish the remains and the building is too far gone to be saved. Ownership of this building has always been a question but I believe it was abandon by the last group of owners due to lack of potential and lots of unpaid back taxes.

Edited by motoringicons (see edit history)
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And the big question???

Who will be next in the American Auto Industry?:(

Actually in an ironic twist, though not necessarily CCCA related, it would be 2-3 Japanese manufacturers. Mitsubishi, Mazda, and 2 others are struggling to justify their American markets.

I still want to visit the Packard plant but I don't want my car broken into as I wander and I don't want to get stabbed by a squattor or gang member.

It makes sense to me to have organized, safe tours of the plant, pointing out what took place where.

Finally, I would NOT want to use one of those 'skywalks'. They must be unstable.

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Evidently, there are at least 3 guys? from this forum that could get together and tour that place during daylight hours before it is completely gone?

The most fascinating pictures to me were the ones taken of the front entrance before they cut the the Packard lintel out.

It has always bothered me to see large factories idled with the memories of so many workers haunting the factory walls.:(

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow, that has really gone downhill since the last time I was there. Seems like it has become more deteriorated in the last ten years than from 1956 until then. You could still hope someone would buy it and do something with it 10 years ago. Now it is hard to even fantasize about anyone saving it.

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most have probably seen this already but if not here is the latest news on the ol' Packard Plant...

Has the end finally come for the Packard plant? | Hemmings Blog: Classic and collectible cars and parts

Also here is a link to a strangely entertaining story that took place at the plant in 2009:

How Do You Put the Dump Into Dump Truck? Push It Off the Fourth Floor - WSJ.com

Some how doesn't seem right.

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At 3.5 million square feet it's a really large space so there is a chance of seeing others there who are less than receptive to the idea of people taking pictures. Which in general is true all over Detroit. If you do plan to go there and take pictures of essentially the Great American Ruins you would be best not to go it alone. There are people there that are hostile to photographers/urban explorer/gawker or what have you.

Some of the best places to make pictures in nature or otherwise are dangerous, so again common sense would rule the day.

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  • 1 year later...

This structure complex is indeed still standing, and the powers that be have a long way to go before any conclusion is reached.

A few years ago, an entrepreneur from Texas insisted that the old factory complex could be economically revived

for purposes of producing electric vehicles. Personally, I doubt the guy ever actually made a visit to this site.

If he had, he'd have witnessed the beginnings of structural collapse so evident throughout much of the complex.

There are collapsed roof and structure sections, with easy evidence of future collapses to be obvserved.

The entire site is a crumbling trash-heap, indicative of the general economic and apathetic mind-set of the

Detroit population. Almost nobody living in the 'downtown' area of Detroit cares about the city, as they're

mostly far too poor to have any voice. Adding Kilpatrick's criminal reign to the mix, Detroit really hasn't got

a leg to stand on in the face of losing State and Federal infrastructure subsidy, due to their alarmingly-declining

population within the past decade or so. As soon as Detroit officially falls below a 750,000 population base,

which is nearly imminent, the city will die.

I know this, because I used to live near there.

I'll start with a 360-degree planetary taken from a Northern section of the highest rooftop:


And now, a few more...



Yep, it's collapsed.



If this site is any decent indication of Detroit's future, it seems apparent to me that there is NO future.

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I was planning a trip to Detroit to take some photo's of OLD CAR FACTORIES, but a friend who knows the area suggested I not do it.

He claims crime is so bad with gangs that ones safety is an issue. He claims you get out of your car to take some shots, and next thing you know your car is gone, or you are approached and robbed.

Sad things happening in Detroit, but some good too. So I have been told.

Dale in Indy

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I was planning a trip to Detroit to take some photo's of OLD CAR FACTORIES, but a friend who knows the area suggested I not do it.

He claims crime is so bad with gangs that ones safety is an issue. He claims you get out of your car to take some shots, and next thing you know your car is gone, or you are approached and robbed.

Sad things happening in Detroit, but some good too. So I have been told.

Dale in Indy


Crime can be very bad in Detroit, but I'm just a whitebread boy, and I've visited the old Packard plant four times.

Here are my recommendations:

Arrange to be with a group.

It really doesn't seem to matter if you're one of three or one of fifty, but attending with numbers is always a safe bet.

My first time at the Packard plant, we almost literally waltzed in with cameras atop tripods, slung across our shoulders.

We actually approached from Mt. Elliott, after exiting from I-94. Park on Bellevue Street, just inside the perimiter

of the old complex, in the southeastern portion. Just before you get to the rubble collapse, park your vehicle.

There's a right-angle street going off to the northeast, which is where you can park.

My and my friends' cars were never bothered while parked there, although an alarm may have helped us.

Old-beater cars probably just get stripped, while current vehicles with alarms and other security measures

seem to keep locals away. Between us all, in 2009, there was a 2000 Venture, a 2008 Ford F-150,

a 2002 Pontiac, a 2003 Taurus, and a 2002 Silverado. Nothing was damaged or tampered with.

Upon trying to enter the complex through the collapsed area of the former skywalk or whatever, from Bellevue,

we were challenged by a burly fellow who seemed concerned that we were there to start fires.

After talking with him and showing him our photography gear, he backed down.

We then entered the complex and were not bothered until we left, over 5 hours later.

All in all, you should organize a group, meet at a designated place, keep together, and just explore.

I never felt any immediate threat to myself or my companions during my excursions, other than

wondering what the machine-shop sounds were all about that we couldn't pinpoint, but I never

felt threatened or in danger. The old facility is far too immense and barren for anyone to really

LIVE in the place, being so far removed from sources of any substantial food, etc...

However, please keep in mind that this area of Detroit is in a decidedly sketchy area of the city,

and that there can be all sorts of 'unsavories' holed-up in the former Packard plant.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Don't even go near the Packard Plant. What a person outside Detroit like myself seldom understands is that this part of Detroit is an entirely different world from where we come from. We are highly vulnerable, much more so then locals. And as to the concept of "groups", I would be coming into Detroit by myself and so would most of us fascinated by the ruins of Detroit. We are entirely sure of where to join a group to explore. We are going to have to leave the Packard Plant to the high resolution photographers and experience it vicariously through their photos. Like many of you, I have wanted to visit the Packard Plant, even pre-façade removal. But I have always been discouraged. I thought, well I'll take my hunting knife and be careful. But that's fantasy. Reality is I would probably be stabbed, robbed and left for dead. There are movies about cities and landscapes that fall into disrepair, mostly "science fiction". like I am Legend with Will Smith and "Escape from New York" - unlike those movies, the Packard Plant is the reality. While other ruins of Detroit are much smaller and defined, and more out in the open, the Packard Plant is the size of some small Midwestern towns and somewhat isolated and self contained, thus allowing the kind of elements which we see in these futuristic movies about blighted urban landscapes. I have scanned hundreds of plant photos taken by urban warriors and I am always amazed. The Packard Plant has a vast underground network of concrete lined halls and rooms, many of which in the past have held rave parties and encampments for homeless. There are likely several dead people unaccounted for on the plant grounds presently. One brave urbanite said at some point he stopped going underground. And if you don't get out of the inner most part of the plant at dusk, you can get lost and the permanent residents can smell blood. Urban legend, myth or reality.

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  • 9 months later...

Ramp in between floors.


This is one of the corridors that runs the length of the place. It must be a quarter mile long.



There were many of these large metal sliding doors. Some had been removed by scrappers.


Much of the place had tongue & groove hardwood flooring. We're talking hundreds of thousands of square feet of it. Imagine the time it took to lay, sand, and finish it.


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Just substitute Packard for Ozymandias. . . .

I met a traveler from an antique land

Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.

And on the pedestal these words appear --

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.'

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