Florida Ford plant has a date with the wrecking ball

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A car plant that Henry Ford opened in Florida nearly a century ago is slated to be demolished over the objections of local historical preservationists.

The Jacksonville City Council last week unanimously approved the property owner’s request to tear down the building to allow for new waterfront development, the Florida Times-Union reported. The owner said experts who assessed the building said it was too damaged to repair.

The city arranged to have a photographer document the building’s legacy before it’s torn down.

The plant, which Ford Motor Co. opened in 1924 to build the Model T, was designated a local landmark in 2003. The Jacksonville Historical Society had asked the city to deny a demolition permit.

“Not every old building can be saved and not all of them should be,” Alan Bliss, the historical society’s CEO, told the city’s Land Use and Zoning Committee. “The Jacksonville Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant should be.”

The Jacksonville plant was one of the biggest auto manufacturing sites in the southeastern U.S., building 200 cars a day. But the Great Depression prompted Ford to shut down production there after only eight years.

The automaker then used it as a parts distribution warehouse until 1968. In the decades since then, it housed a variety of other businesses, including a European car importer and a wooden pallet manufacturer.

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