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Old 09-14-2010, 08:27 AM   #1
Jive-Bomber
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Default Ford Rotunda: From Deco Dream to Flaming Fiasco



Ford Motor Company originally built the Albert Kahn-designed Rotunda for the 1933/ 34 Chicago World's Fair under the supervision of a young Edsel Ford. The fair was better known as the 'Century of Progress Exposition', and more than 40 milli...

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Old 09-14-2010, 09:03 AM   #2
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Default Re: Ford Rotunda: From Deco Dream to Flaming Fiasco

Interesting story. I didn't know about the Rotunda burning down.
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:05 AM   #3
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Default Re: Ford Rotunda: From Deco Dream to Flaming Fiasco

Boy does this dig through the cobwebs in my skull! I faintly remember visiting the xmas displays as a child. I remember the trees being so big and all the puppets and figures, a real child's fantasy land for xmas. I also remember Mom crying when it burned. It was a regular thing for her, visiting the Rotunda for the holidays. Thanks for posting it. Kool piece of history.
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:10 AM   #4
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Default Re: Ford Rotunda: From Deco Dream to Flaming Fiasco

What a shame. Kahn was definitely a treasure for Detroit designing quite a few prominent buildings that made up the skyline of the time. He did the Packard Build early on...



Also he designed well as many others like the Detroit Police headquarters. The Rotunda was definitely a case in point of his German Heritage as far as design goes. Industry was his his design principle's primary drive and that building showcased the strength and place of Ford Motor company during that time.



Funny if it were here today and looked like the Packard building it also would show the current state of Ford hahahaha!!!!
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:11 AM   #5
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Default Re: Ford Rotunda: From Deco Dream to Flaming Fiasco

Wow...
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:13 AM   #6
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Default Re: Ford Rotunda: From Deco Dream to Flaming Fiasco

Great history lesson. Thanks.
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:14 AM   #7
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Default Re: Ford Rotunda: From Deco Dream to Flaming Fiasco

Awesome pic!
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:17 AM   #8
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Default Re: Ford Rotunda: From Deco Dream to Flaming Fiasco

Such a loss. San Diego has a "Rotunda" style building in Balboa park. The Ford building, built in 1935 for the Cal. exposition. It sat vacant for decades and was slated for possible demolition, however a group opened it into what is now a fantastic air and space museum. Located next to the San Diego auto museum, both are worth a tour if you're ever in town.
Drew Ford, a local family owned dealership since 1927, built a Rotunda style inspired showroom in 1967. IIRC, there were a couple of other Rotunda styled buildings elsewhere in the country (New York, Texas?) so the style lives on.
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:50 AM   #9
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Default Re: Ford Rotunda: From Deco Dream to Flaming Fiasco

I came across these photos on ebay some time ago...





















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Old 09-14-2010, 10:00 AM   #10
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Default Re: Ford Rotunda: From Deco Dream to Flaming Fiasco

Rikster coming through once again!
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:19 AM   #11
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Default Re: Ford Rotunda: From Deco Dream to Flaming Fiasco

Thanks guys. I never knew a thing about it. This place is better then school. Aloha
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:53 AM   #12
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Default Re: Ford Rotunda: From Deco Dream to Flaming Fiasco

What a great historic lesson, I was not aware of this awesome structure that hit my mid-century modern fetish like a sledgehammer. What a tragic ending, special thanx to The Rickster for coming thru with the super pix. I hope others on the forum appreciate these history lessons like I do. Thanx dudes, you rock as always. ~Sololobo~
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:55 AM   #13
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Default Re: Ford Rotunda: From Deco Dream to Flaming Fiasco

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rikster View Post
I came across these photos on ebay some time ago...





















Man, does that bring back memories. I remember going there in the mid '50s when I was a kid to see the christmas display. That staircase is where they had Santa and you lined up on the stairs to see him sitting at the top.
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Old 09-14-2010, 11:07 AM   #14
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Default Re: Ford Rotunda: From Deco Dream to Flaming Fiasco

I also remember the Christmas displays, especially the model trains and the huge minature circus. My Grandfather worked for Ford and watched it burn from his office building. I remember hearing the reports of the fire on the radio, sad day indeed.
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Old 09-14-2010, 11:22 AM   #15
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Default Re: Ford Rotunda: From Deco Dream to Flaming Fiasco

I always wondered what a rotunda was. I had a Ford oil filter with "Rotunda" on it.

I learn something new every day here. some of it I even remember.
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Old 09-14-2010, 11:30 AM   #16
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Default Re: Ford Rotunda: From Deco Dream to Flaming Fiasco

Rikster those are incredible. In the 4th pic down where the Rouge plant is in the background...I believe it was some time in the 70s, one of those towers burned down as well. I was surprised that it was burning and Dad told me it was made of wood. WOOD! Wow, good ol Henry. We lived in near by Allen Park and could see the glow of the fire that night. Dad was good sport. He took me and my brother for a ride to see it closer.
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Old 09-14-2010, 11:36 AM   #17
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Default Re: Ford Rotunda: From Deco Dream to Flaming Fiasco

I've seen pictures of the Rotunda in the past, but I didn't realize that the building dated back to the 1930s. It's pretty incredible that a building designed in the '30s still looked up to date at the time of its demise in the 1960s. I wonder what became of the sign out front of it. I sure hope someone out there has it and is treasuring it for what it is.
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:02 PM   #18
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Default Re: Ford Rotunda: From Deco Dream to Flaming Fiasco

Few more













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Old 09-14-2010, 12:04 PM   #19
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Default Re: Ford Rotunda: From Deco Dream to Flaming Fiasco

Custom Cars at the Rotunda... R&C article
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Old 09-14-2010, 12:25 PM   #20
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Default Re: Ford Rotunda: From Deco Dream to Flaming Fiasco

Quote:
Originally Posted by Model A John View Post
Interesting story. I didn't know about the Rotunda burning down.
Ditto!
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