Ford Motor Company assembly  plant

Jacksonville, Florida was honored for nearly a hundred years to be home to one of industrial architect Albert Kahn’s “automotive cathedrals” before it was demolished in June 2023 by its owner, Amkin Hill Street, LLC, just one year before the building would have reached its century mark in 2024.

The Jacksonville Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant, on the bank of the St. Johns River just north of the Mathews Bridge, was constructed over a three-year period from January 1924 to November 1926, faithful to Kahn’s trademark “daylight factory” design that uses hundreds of window openings from the roof to the floor to provide the assembly plant workers with natural light.

“Kahn was a true innovator in process design,” notes William Bishop, principal at Akel Logan Shafer PA Architects & Planners, and chair of the Jacksonville History Center’s historic buildings committee. “His buildings revolutionized manufacturing by providing for huge increases in efficiency through open floor plates free from obstructions, other than columns, which really could not be avoided.”  

Ford produced Model Ts, Model As, and trucks until 1932, when the Great Depression slowed down production. Ford continued to use the property for a parts distribution center until 1968. In the early 1970s, Borum Boats moved its production line from 129 E. 21st Street to the Ford plant and manufactured high performance boats there for a decade. Marcis Borum, grandson of company founder Otis C. Borum, recalled spending time in the plant as a young boy while his parents worked in the family business. 

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Author: Arbus

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