Saturday, February 16, 2008

Historical marker application for Ford Motor Co. Lamp Factory approved

We are pleased to report that our State Historical Marker application for the Ford Motor Co. Lamp Factory in Flat Rock was recently approved. The marker should be fabricated and delivered for installation in the next three months. The marker text follows...


This complex was part of Henry Ford’s “village industries” plan to decentralize production by building plants in rural areas. Designed by Detroit architect Albert Kahn, the early-1920s complex comprised a factory with hydroelectric generators, a dam, and a water filtration plant that supplied water to the village. A 1926 newspaper announcement predicted: “Flat Rock Will Grow Like a Forest Fire.” The availability of hydroelectric power and factory jobs did spur the growth of Flat Rock and sustained it during the Depression. Between 1923 and 1938, 52 million lamp assemblies were made here. The factory produced a variety of lamps and lighting systems for automobiles, and World War II vehicles, before ceasing operations in 1950.

Michigan Historical Commission ~ Michigan Historical Center
Registered Local Site No. XXXX
This Marker is the Property of the State of Michigan, 2007
Text authored by Ted Grevstad-Nordbrock and Laura Ashlee

Thursday, February 7, 2008

the GLUE holding Pittsburgh and Detroit together

Formation of GLUE - the Great Lakes Urban Exchange network is a happy new news item. Founders Abby Wilson and Sarah Szurpicki are of Pittsburgh and Detroit respectively. The purpose of this organization is to foster and support online networking and help to build regional identity and share information among young urban leaders in the Great Lakes region.

A temporary blog page is available here while the full site is under development:

Pittsburgh and Detroit have always had some unique connections going back historically. The French and British contended for and occupied each location at varying points in history. Industrialization drew the two metropoli together - with a heavy exchange of ideas. Pittsburgh industrialist J.B. Ford, for example, formed a chemcical manufacturing corporation in Wyandotte, Michigan, a community 14 miles south of Detroit and located on the Detroit River.

For the past several decades Pittsburgh has pulled ahead of Detroit in many crucial respects. One is better coordination of urban redevelopment and revitalization activities in Pittsburgh versus Detroit. This may be thanked to its relatively smaller size. A higher level of cooperation of civic, business, and philanthropic leaders in Pittsburgh has led to positive effects. Detroit is just starting to benefit from such a level of coordination.

Another other claim to fame Pittsburgh has is the presence of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. This group has been a leader advoacting for historic preservation efforts. With a sizable staff and annual budget of over a million dollars, this group has grown in stature and influence, serving all of Allegheny County and reaching into other major metropolitan areas such as Cleveland.

We greet GLUE with great hope and optimism, and offer wishes of prosperity and success. The great cities of Pittsburgh and Detroit deserve an organization of this nature. And, we hope as Robert Browning put so eloquently, "the best is yet to be"!