Packard Automotive Plant

Detroit, Michigan, USA

Closed 1958, partially demolished 2019

The Disappointed Tourist: Packard Automotive Plant, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

Requested by Gary W. & Max W.

The Packard Automotive Plant is a former automobile-manufacturing factory located on Detroit’s east side where luxury cars were made by the Packard Motor Car Company and later by the Studebaker-Packard Corporation. It was designed by Albert Kahn Associated and when it opened in 1903, it was considered to be one of the modern in the world. At its peak, the complex employed 40,000 people. The plant turned out automobiles from 1903 to 1956, except during World War II, when production was shifted to war material. The complex closed in 1958, though other businesses operated on the premises or used it for storage until the late 1990s when it was used to host famous raves and underground parties. In 2019, the bridge over Grand Boulevard and a section of the building was demolished. The painting is based on a 1954 photograph by John Lloyd.