While visiting the birthplace of the Model T, you can also tour the local area and see some other fascinating and historically significant auto heritage sites and attractions - all within a few miles of the Ford plant. Maps and tour guide information for all of the sites are available at the T-Plex gift shop. Following are just a few of the sites you can see, along with our recommended list of restaurants and hotels.
Clara and Henry Ford home, 140 Edison Avenue, 1908: Italian Renaissance revival style, with elaborate gardens. Henry and Clara Ford lived here from 1908 to 1915, when they moved to Fair Lane in Dearborn. There was a machine shop above the garage for Edsel. The residence is located in the Boston-Edison Historic District, one of Detroit's earliest subdivisions, where many of the early 20th Century entrepreneurs lived. The home is currently a private residence and not open to the public.
John F. Dodge residence, 33 East Boston Blvd, 1906: John and his brother Horace had quickly amassed a fortune as major stockholders of Ford Motor Company and the principal supplier of components for Ford cars. As a result, both brothers enjoyed considerable wealth. John hired one of the premier architectural firms in Detroit (Field, Hinchman & Smith) to design this sprawling mansion. It would be 1914 before the Dodge brothers began motorcar production under their own name. Today, the house is the residence for the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Hitsville USA, 2648 West Grand Blvd., 1959: After working as a trimmer at a Ford Motor Company assembly plant, Barry Gordy purchased the house and launches the forerunner to Motown Record Corp. He would apply the quality control management concepts he learned on the assembly line. The house continues today as the Motown Historical Museum.
Lumber magnate Nels Michelson house, 918 W. Boston Blvd.; four-story Venetian Renaissance-style, c. 1917. Barry Gordy bought the house in 1967 after his success with Motown Records. Currently, the house is being restored. Motown music is so closely linked to Detroit and its automotive heritage that this site is considered an important part of any tour.
Fisher Building, 3011 West Grand Blvd., 1928: The "Cathedral of Commerce" was commissioned by the seven Fisher brothers. The Albert Kahn masterpiece was intended to anchor a second business district from downtown. It is historically significant as a local landmark and for its long association with the Fisher family, and the development of the American automobile industry. The Fisher Building continues today as a location for professional offices, entrepreneurial businesses, galleries, restaurants and boutiques. It is also the home of the world-renowned Fisher Theater. The Fisher Building has been designated a National Historic Landmark.
Cadillac Place, 3044 West Grand Blvd., 1923: Cadillac Place was previously known as the General Motors Building and originally designated the Durant Building, after the GM founder and then-president, William C. Durant. It was renamed the General Motors Building after Durant was fired in 1920 - for the second time. General Motors remained there until 1996. Today, the building is called Cadillac Place and is home to State of Michigan offices. It is designated a National Historic Landmark.
Walter Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs, 5401 Cass Avenue, Detroit: One of the largest and finest labor archives in the world. The Walter Reuther Library collects, preserves and provides access to the heritage of the American labor movement in the 20th Century.
Detroit Historical Museum, 5401 Woodward Avenue, Detroit: One of the main exhibits is the Motor City Exhibition containing the actual body drop of an assembly line from the Cadillac Clark Street plant.
Hecker House, 5510 Woodward Avenue at Ferry Street: Built in 1891 with another car fortune - rail cars. This was the sumptuous home of Col. Frank. J. Hecker. He was a Colonel in the Union Army and then manufactured rail cars. The French Renaissance Chateau style house is a reminder of the magnificent homes that once lined the avenue. A law office now occupies the lavish 49-room mansion.
Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry frescos at the Detroit Institute of Arts, 5200 Woodward, Detroit: Rivera was commissioned by Edsel Ford in 1933 to create a series of frescos that depicted Detroit's history and the development of industry. They are based on scenes Rivera witnessed during his visits to the Ford Rouge Plant.
Recommended Hotels and Restaurants
Inn On Ferry Street: Consisting of four restored Victorian homes and two carriage houses, the Inn provides a strong sense of history while setting the standard for elegant guest quarters and dedicated service. One of the homes originally belonged to William Pungs, a founder of the Anderson Carriage Company. The original Anderson factory is another site on this tour. 84 East Ferry Street, Detroit. 313 871 6000.
Atlas Global Bistro: Tall windows allow people watching from both sides of the glass as exceptional servers bring inventive "global" dishes to the table. Charming ambiance in a beautifully restored building. BR Sat.-Sun 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; L Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; D Mon.-Wed. 4-10 p.m., Thu. 4-11 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 4 p.m.-midnight. 3111 Woodward Avenue. 313 831 2241.
Cuisine: This is some of the best and most creative food in metro Detroit. Cuisine was selected by readers of the Detroit News as Michigan's best French restaurant. Tue.-Sun., dinner from 4 p.m. Reservations. 670 Lothrop. 313 872 5110.
Java Exchange in TechTown: The new cafe features coffee drinks, hot and cold sandwiches, veggie wraps, free wireless internet and three desktop workstations. 440 Burroughs at Cass, inside the Tech One building in TechTown
Majestic Cafe: Traditional American cuisine and Mediterranean specialties are the focus of this eclectic and surprising menu. Seafood Supreme and Michigan Celebration Salad aren't to be missed. Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-12 a.m., Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. 4120 Woodward. 313 833 9700
Mr. Mike's: American and soul food right on the corner of Piquette and Woodward. Mon.-Wed. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Thu.-Fri 11 a.m.-12 p.m., closed weekends. 6064 Woodward Ave. 313 871 6722.
Z's Villa historic house bar and grill, built in 1892: Casual dining with steaks, seafood, burgers and salads. Located just up the street from the Model T plant. Don't forget tp try the "Model T burger." Will deliver. Mon.-Thu 11 a.m.-12 midnight, Fri-Sat. 11 a.m.-1 a.m. 42 Piquette Avenue. 313 874 2680
Traffic Jam & Snug: Established in 1965, it is truly one of Detroit's hidden treasures. Known throughout Midtown for its in-house bakery, microbrewery, and dairy, its curiously intimate multi-level dining rooms, and an eclectic menu of made-from-scratch dishes. Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-12 a.m., Sat. 12 p.m.-12 a.m., Sun. 12-8 p.m. 511 W. Canfield, on the corner of canfield and Second Ave. 313 831 9470.
The Whitney: This 1894, Romanesque style residence was built for the largest lumber baron in the Midwest, David Whitney. The 21,000 sq. ft. David Whitney House has 52 rooms, 10 bathrooms, 218 windows and 25 fireplaces. Capital from these "sawdust millionaires" was a primary source of start-up funding for the auto industry. Whitney died in 1900, but his family continued to live there until 1920. In 1986, the Whitney Mansion became The Whitney, a fine dining restaurant. It has been described as an "American restaurant in an American palace." L Tue.-Fri. 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; D Mon.-Tue. 6-9 p.m., Wed.-Thu. 5-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 5-10 p.m., Sun. BR 11 a.m.-2 p.m., D 5-8 p.m. 4421 Woodward Avenue, Detroit. 313 832 5700.
Union Street Station: A funky and never-dull restaurant-bar that once served as an Italian social club. Union Street has been a Midtown institution for three decades. The comfortable original art-deco atmosphere lends to a casual experience without sacrificing quality service. L & D Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-2 a.m., Sat. 11:30 a.m.- 2 a.m., Sun 10 a.m.-10 p.m. 4421 Woodward Avenue. 313 832 5700.