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Historic Florida Ford factory to be demolished despite pleas for preservation

The only factory Ford ever built in Florida is being torn down, 90 years after it stopped building cars.

The Jacksonville Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant was a small satellite assembly plant that opened in 1924 to manufacture the Ford Model T at the rate of 200 cars per day.

The reinforced concrete structure was designed by Albert Kahn Associates, which was also responsible for Ford’s revolutionary Rouge River Assembly plant in Michigan, according to Hemmings.

Located on the St. Johns River next to Jacksonville’s Mathews Bridge, it ended car production in 1932, but was used by Ford as a part distribution hub until 1968 and by several other companies over the following decades.

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It was designated a local landmark in 2003, but has fallen so far into disrepair that its current owner requested permission to tear it down to redevelop the waterfront site, which the city council voted in favor of last week.

“It was fairly clear that this was not a salvageable facility,” City Council member Michael Boylan said, The Florida Times-Union reported.

“It was the right thing to do.”

The Jacksonville Historical Society disagrees, but its proposal to preserve at least part of the building was denied.

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

The city government said it would fully document the building with photography before demolition begins.

Plans for the property include the construction of a ship repair facility.

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