It's been a crazy couple of months at Woodward Throwbacks. We opened our new, and much improved showroom and workshop in Hamtramck this October. And we have been going non-stop trying to get the showroom full of furnishings and lumber. As well as getting all the holiday orders out to our vendors. So when we got the opportunity to salvage this church we had to scramble to get it on our schedule. But we are so glad we did, we saved a bunch of great materials from the landfill. And it was a great change of pace for our staff. But in true Michigan style we got our first real snow of the year to further complicate a rush job lol.
The job started with a call from Nancy, the executive director of the Ford Piquette Plant, which sits across the street from the church. She explained to me that the organization had bought the church a few years back. But unfortunately the structure was not in their budget to repair, so it will be demolished to make way for an expansion to the Piquette Plant.
The Piquette Plant is a National Historic Landmark because it was the birthplace of the Model T, and the building where Ford really became the Ford that we know today. The first 12,000 Model T's were assembled and shipped from this purpose-built factory. The popularity of the Model T lead Ford to relocated to a much larger factory in Highland Park in 1910. And after they moved, the Piquette Plant was sold to Studebaker, where they manufactured cars until 1933. Now the building is used as a museum, and is open to the public Friday - Sunday. We'll post their admission cost and directions below.
Since the building was being torn down. We pretty much had the opportunity to grab whatever we could in one day. The main focus was the really cool church pews that were left in the building. There was three different styles and multiple different lengths within the styles. But the best part is that they are solid oak throughout. The church dates back to the late 1800's. And I think some of the pews were original to the church. I'm not an antique appraiser by any means. But judging by the primitive design and solid construction I could see some of these being of that era. Regardless though, they are cool. We refinished a couple of them and painted them black for a party we hosted last week. And they look great, perfect for a mud room, dining table, or a restaurant.
The other things that I was really excited to grab was a few of the stained glass windows. We couldn't figure out what these were used for as they were literally mounted to a cement wall. And there was no openings to be seen to suggest that the windows had been covered. I'm thinking that since this block was once a bustling commerce center, that there was probably buildings on each side of the church at one time. So the stained glass we found was purely decorative. What we liked most about them too was that they are just interesting. No two of them are alike. It literally looks like someone had a bunch of scrap pieces of glass and they used them to make these pieces. The maker was definitely an artist in their own right. The pieces have a folk art feel to them, and to me that is Detroit in a nutshell. Making do with what you have. Using your inner creativity and resourcefulness to make something out of nothing. - Kyle
All items in photos are available at our Hamtramck Showroom.
461 Piquette Street
Detroit, MI 48202
Seniors 65 and over....$10
Students with ID........$5
Children under 12.....Free
(10 minimum)...........$8 each
Photos By Ali Lapetina
Words By Kyle Dubay