Milwaukee Junction

Milwaukee Junction

Coordinates: 42°22′40″N 83°3′30″W / 42.37778°N 83.05833°W / 42.37778; -83.05833

Milwaukee Junction is an area in Detroit, Michigan with significant history related to the automobile industry. Located near the railroad junction of the Detroit and Milwaukee Railroad, and the Grand Trunk Western Railroad lines, the area encompassed the streets of E Grand Boulevard and Clay St. to the north, St. Aubin St./Hamtramck Drive to the east, Woodward to the west, and the border following I-94 to I-75 to Warren Road to the south.


Milwaukee Junction was constructed in the 1890s to encourage industrial expansion in what was then the far northern section of Detroit.[1] At the same time, the automotive industry in Detroit was developing, and a number of manufacturers moved into the area, including Everitt-Metzger-Flanders (E-M-F), Hupp (the Hupmobile), Anderson Electric Car Company, Brush Motor Car Company, Cadillac, Dodge, Packard, Oakland, Studebaker, and Regal.[2] Most notably, Ford Motor Company built their Piquette Plant in the area.[1] This was the plant where the Model T was first built before being mass-produced in neighboring Highland Park at the Highland Park Ford Plant.[3] Henry Ford also conducted experiments in assembly line production at the Piquette Avenue plant later used in Highland Park. The earlier models of the Ford line were also conceived and produced here including the model A, N, and S.[3] The attraction of this railroad junction continues into even modern times, with Cadillac building the Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly adjacent to the junction in the early 1980s, almost on the site of the original 1908 Cadillac Motor Car Assembly Plant assembly plant,[4] and less than 5 miles away from the "Cadillac Main" Detroit Assembly built in 1920 within the "V" of another railroad junction (at Junction Street) on the same Grand Trunk line.

This area was also a hub of early auto body manufacturing, being first a producer of wooden horse carriages and soon providing steel frames for the fledgling auto manufacturers.[2] Fisher Auto Body, having a significant presence here, with both Plant 21 and Plant 23 on Piquette street alone,[5] originally produced wooden horse carriages and was one of the early companies to supply steel auto bodies. Other auto parts companies opened shop in this area not only because of the many auto company manufacturers in the area but also because of the confluence of the two major railroad lines, making it efficient to ship autos and parts to other parts of the nation.

The dominance of the Milwaukee Junction area in the auto industry lasted until the 1920s.


  1. ^ a b Eric J. Hill, John Gallagher, and the American Institute of Architects Detroit Chapter, AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture, Wayne State University Press, Detroit, 2002, ISBN 0814331203. pp. 168-169.
  2. ^ a b Milwaukee Junction from the Piquette Plant
  3. ^ a b Development of the Model T fromm the Piquette Plant
  4. ^ Cadillac Motor Car Company Assembly Plant
  5. ^ Fisher Body Plant Number 21 from

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