Factory #37 Heat Treat + Factory Fire Mystery

The factory with the star #05 the enamel plant, is now correct. #37 and #34 are also correct. The long factory #34 is only half as long now. The mystery’s continue but that’s half the fun.

The star #05 shows where I think this explosion and fire may have occurred. Plus look at factory #34, showing one long continuous building. That makes no sense to me. Chrysler said the building that burned was “the only frame building”, but they were all wood framed, (with outside brick walls). Maybe he meant one of the wooden structure’s between #03 and #12, because they were entirely of wood construction. These building’s were torn down, making way for the enamel plant #05. “I have no information on these buildings, or there purpose”. Maybe it was the old “Michigan Motor Casting” factory. Because Chrysler mentions they soon built the new foundry #20, “The largest gray iron foundry in the world”. And that is the sequence of event’s according to history. Another possibility is factory #09 (shown in another posting) south of #03. It dose show possible evidence of an explosion and fire so maybe the building wasn’t a total lose. Were they doing casting in building #05 or #09 then? I highly doubt that. Even though #05 did have a vented roof at that time. In the Chrysler article it state’s “A thick brick wall probably kept the flames from spreading to the drop forge plant”. All these factories mentioned would be near enough to reach the forge plant. Prevailing winds would normally be from the southwest. The building I show with the star is where the enameling plant #05 should be but is not configured right in these pictures.

I think the 1913 date is the correct one.

This is from “The Life And Times Of An Automotive Genius” by Vincent Curcio, published in 2000. This book chronicling Walter Chrysler’s life and also early career at Buick is showing an explosion and fire in 1917. The New York Times article says this happened in 1913.

This view facing north east from the main line of the Pere Marquette you are looking at factory #37 built in 1909, as one of the Buick axle heat treat plants. This factory was directly north of #34 but I have issues with the history on this building. The early drawings of this spot in 1910 show one long continuous building which would include factory #34 directly south. The north end of this building did not look anything like this which tells me something major was done to this structure. Some publications say this was a separate building but was later remodeled for heat treat but that doesn’t explain the 1910 drawings or how you would make the building look totally different, let alone that the structure was all wood except for the outside walls. This building requires much more research. Mystery solved, the old north-end of factory#03 forge was the location of the fire and explosion. It was on January 17, 1913. Link: Aluminum And Brass Foundry Fire And Explosion 1913.


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