Order the new book, Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences

Packard Motor Car Company

When it opened in 1903, Packard's Detroit plant was the most advanced auto factory in the world. Designed by renowned architect Albert Kahn, the plant was located on a staggering 35 acres of land and boasted over 3.5 million square feet of space. It also was the first industrial site in Detroit to use reinforced concrete in its construction. The Packard Motor Car Company built an excellent reputation not only for innovation (introducing the modern steering wheel and 12 cylinder engine) but for luxury, attracting some of the wealthiest auto buyers across the world. During WWII, the Packard plant produced engines for P-51 Mustang fighter planes, but afterward their legacy as a status symbol was slowly diluted by their introduction of cars aimed more at the middle class. Losing their upper class market and not finding footing as a middle class manufacturer because of heavy competition from the Big Three, their last car model, simply titled the 'Packard', was produced in 1958 though the Detroit plant ceased manufacturing in 1957. Several attempts were made to resurrect the brand, but to no avail. The labyrinthine plant in Detroit still stands vacant, now a status symbol of a different sort.

If you'd like to learn more about this location, it is a featured chapter in the new Abandoned America book Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences is available on Amazon and many other online booksellers across the globe.

Photographs and unattributed text by Matthew Christopher. For more images click the thumbnails below.
to be considered portfolio Photos taken: September 2009
Camera: Olympus Evolt 510
Last updated: May 2012
Packard Historical Photos portfolio