Public Grand Opening of the John D. Dingell Transit Center

The widely heralded high-speed rail project got some great acclaim as residents of Dearborn streamed into the brand new John D. Dingell Transit Center on Michigan Avenue just west of Evergreen. Designed to increase tourism and develop business in West Dearborn as well as spur growth for both the University of Michigan – Dearborn and Henry Ford College, the transit center is a welcome addition to this community. An added bonus is the literal connection the train station has to Greenfield Village as commuters and tourists alike can exit the train and walk into the attraction from the same location.

Of historical significance is that as you disembark your train and walk over to Greenfield Village, look over to your right and spy the Ford Motor Company “Triple E” and one of the two remaining ponds. These ponds were once pits from which clay was extracted to be made into bricks and this building – before being purchased and renovated by Henry Ford – used to part of the Wagner Brick Factory .  Two ponds along Oakwood Boulevard were referred to as the “Twin Ponds” and were a popular place to find Dearborn-ites ice skating in the winter. One of the Twin Ponds was filled in to be converted into a parking lot. The building later became the home of Fordson Tractors where the farm implement and other accessories were assembled. In 1917 Henry Ford built a grain elevator complex which was razed in 1957. After the manufacture of the tractors was moved to the Cork, Ireland, factory, the structure became home to the Ford Motor Company “Engine and Electrical Engineering” design complex. An old historical film clip shows Henry and Edsel Ford walking through the building as both had offices there. When I took a tour of the building nearly 15 years ago, I was shown a pillar where Henry would mark a young Edsel’s height as he grew.


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Posted in Detroit History.