On the heels of Henry Ford’s 150th birthday, I couldn’t help but cook up an outing to Dearborn to commemorate the auto maker’s legacy. Having visited The Henry Ford museum and Greenfield Village on several occasions, one well-known spot was still foreign territory to me: The Rouge Factory (20900 Oakwood Blvd, Detroit MI). What better way to celebrate Henry Ford than spending a day at one of his namesake auto plants? As I planned for the afternoon outing, I was excited to find out more about Ford’s legacy and the journey he took to lead the “Big Three” contender to where it is today.
The tour started off at The Henry Ford museum, where a bus shuttle transported me and several other sightseers across town to the factory site on the Rouge River (prior to this, I had just assumed that the factory was located somewhere on the grounds near the museum and Greenfield village). Upon reaching the factory, we were ushered inside a visitors’ building for a brief introduction, then to a small theater for a documentary on how the Ford Motor Company flourished throughout the 20th century, surviving hard times such as the stock market crash and World War II. Next, a second theater gave us a look at the start-to-finish process of Ford vehicle manufacturing, complete with multiple screens, special lighting and temperature effects, and movable chairs that rotated 365 degrees for an immersive movie experience. If all of that wasn’t cool enough, the film was set to music performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, further driving the “home-grown” feeling of the Ford plant and its roots in Detroit history.