Packard Home Page
1944 Packard Annual Report
The Packard Motor Car
Company in World War Two / WWII
Photos of the Packard Plant on East Grand Boulevard
Below are photos and artists'
renditions of the huge Packard Complex in Detroit over the years.
Of all the former great and classic automobile plants, this grand dame
of a by gone era still stands as a memory of a past and forgotten age.
An undated photo of the Packard Parking Lot
with the classic factory buildings in the background. Check out
the person that parked in the corner and can't leave until one of the
two cars blocking him in does. There is something about this photo
that just seems to capture the essence of an earlier age.
An idyllic scene with apparently East Grand
Boulevard being a gravel street. This would be looking west on
East Grand Boulevard. Note wide area between the sidewalk and the
street. Note in my contemporary photo below how the wide areas are
still there. It is the last photo on this page.
This picture shows the construction of the
building that is complete in the 1912 painting below.
This circa 1912 watercolor shows the Packard
complex looking east. Note that the city of Detroit to the north
east is totally undeveloped at this time.
A circa 1925 water color. Not how the plant
complex has grown down East Grand Boulevard to the west.
This building located on the north east
corner of the complex was added during WWII for final assembly of the
Rolls-Royce Merlin engine.
The Plant at its apex and also the end.
The Packard plant still stands today,
dilapidated, defiled, ignored and crumbling with the passing of time,
but not yet ready to succumb to the ravages that old age bring.
She refuses to yield, standing in a distressed neighborhood, which is in
a distressed city, standing as a symbol of the greatness of a former
company, a former industry and its home city.
She may be old, abused and forgotten by for
most for what she did, but she remembers. She remembers the
desperate war years when within her 33,000 men and women worked around
the clock to save their country from her enemies.
She proudly produced the marine engine that
powered the US Navy's little PT boats, which were made of plywood and
virtually defenseless against enemy fire. Only the power and speed
produced by her three Packard built engines kept the PT boats and their
brave crews from harms' way as they darted in and out of combat.
She remembers the devastation of American
bomber planes by enemy fighters over Europe due to the lack of long
range escort fighters to protect them. In the midst of this she
remembers the frantic activity to tool up and produce the Rolls-Royce
Merlin engine for the new long range P-51 Mustang fighter, which
aviation historians later claimed was a game changer and saved the US
Army Air Forces strategic bombing campaign from disaster. But
those historians forget that it was all of the Packard employees working
24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide the engine that made the
P-51 the high performance fighter she was.
But she remembers. Yes, she remembers.
I took this photo from the same place the
100 year old idyllic picture from above was taken from. The wide
space between the sidewalk and road is unchanged. Due to the
fact it costs a lot of money to tear the plant down, which seems to be
in short supply in Detroit, there is a chance someone will stand at this
location in another 100 years and another person will be able to take
this same photo. Time will also tell when we are all long gone
whether she will still be standing and has outlasted the civilization
that built her.
This derelict factory is probably the most photographed of the old
factories still standing in the United States. Please visit my
"Links" page for more photos of this building.