Every day travelers along the National Road pass the former Ford Indianapolis assembly branch at 1315 East Washington Street. To meet America’s insatiable demand and to reduce shipping costs for finished Model T’s, the company built more than 24 assembly plants at key locations around the country.
Ford Motor Company opened its four-story assembly branch (known as Plant 215) in the fall of 1914. Production of Ford cars and trucks continued unabated for nearly two decades, except for a period during World War I and model changeovers.
In May 1924, the new Car Delivery Unit was erected at the rear of the site fronting on Southeastern Avenue. The plant layout was expanded twice in the mid-1920’s to allow more space for assembly operations. These expansions increased the plant’s capacity to 300 assembled cars per day. With this capacity, the Indianapolis assembly branch had the highest output of any Indiana auto manufacturing site in its era.
Ford body assembly and finishing operations commenced at this plant in 1929. The Great Depression, however, also took its toll on Ford. As a result, Ford discontinued production operations in December 1932. Limited operations resumed at the site as a Ford parts service and automotive sales branch in July 1934. The plant operated on this basis into the 1940’s.
The Ford Indianapolis assembly branch operated during Indianapolis’ heyday of automotive manufacturing in the first part of the Twentieth Century. The next time you drive by this location, you’ll know the rest of the story.
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