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$5 campaign tries to restore original Model T plant

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A new campaign is underway to try and save the original Model T plant in Highland Park. The Woodward Avenue Action Association launched an online fundraising drive asking supporters to pledge five dollars to turn the old assembly line into a museum and visitor's center.

Five dollars was the daily wage Henry Ford paid his workers so they could afford to buy the car they made.

Deborah Schutt with the Woodward Avenue Action Association says the Model T factory is an important piece of Michigan history. Schutt wants to use National Archives footage of the plant in action to remind visitors of the state's automotive heritage.

"This is where Henry Ford instituted the five dollars a day wage," she said. "What that allowed them to do is actually purchase what it is that they produced, which had a profound effect and really launched the middle class in America."

Oct. 7 is the 100th anniversary of the assembly line at the Model T complex. In addition to automobiles, the plant made tractors, trucks and tanks during World Wars I and II.

She said the organization has high tech plans too -- like what she called "three dimensionalizing" footage of the plant.

"When you get there, maybe there's a hologram of Henry Ford that says, 'Welcome to Ford Highland Park. This is where we instituted the assembly line. Let me show you how it worked,'" she said.

The WA3 has pledged a total of $550,000, which includes grant money from the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Michigan Economic Development Center. They hope to raise $125,000 online.

-Sarah Kerson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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