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Ford Rotunda: From Deco Dream to Flaming Fiasco

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jive-Bomber, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. 4tford
    Joined: Aug 27, 2005
    Posts: 1,720

    4tford
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I remember going there and they had a test track were you could ride in the new ford models as many times as you wanted. They also had tours from there to visit ford foundry and assembly plant. I was 16 when it when up in flames. A cool place to visit.
     
  2. I too remember the Ford Rotunda. I actually sing there as a kid the year before it burned down. The day it burned I was at Shorty's bar and bowling. I was on the 7th grade bowling league and watched the fire on the tv at the bowling lanes.
    George
     
  3. Troublemaker427
    Joined: Jun 27, 2006
    Posts: 1,838

    Troublemaker427
    Member

    A little off topic but Drew Ford got the last Thunderbolt built, number 100. It is now in a collection with the first one built in Ohio.

     
  4. bobblehead
    Joined: Dec 6, 2006
    Posts: 365

    bobblehead
    Member

    Does anyone know when Ford's speciality tool brand, Rotunda, came about? I assume it has something to do with this...?
     
  5. Cool post Jay.
     
  6. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 19,601

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

    Mid 50's maybe???.....
     
  7. Here's some chinaware from the Ford cafeteria that have the Rotunda pictured on the plate.

    I assume there was a cafeteria in the Rotunda.

    Mick
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 19,601

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

    Those would be worth some $$$ to a collector.. :)
     
  9. irishii
    Joined: Nov 27, 2009
    Posts: 6

    irishii
    Member

    My dad worked at the Ford Rouge Plant in Dearborn and used to take us to the Chrismas parties Ford would have in the Rotunda. I was five years old and remember the 1955 Thunderbird they had spinning around on a pedestal that was in the center of the main hall. It was turquoise (Tbird blue) and I always said I'd have one. I'm sixty now and have two!
    Still miss the Ford Rotunda because the Ford Motor Company always cared and still does.

    Irishii
     
  10. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 19,601

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

  11. Awesome story...I was just at the Henry Ford Museum and it's amazing how the landscape has changed from the pictures posted by Rickster.
     
  12. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 19,601

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

    Here's a couple more pics of the Rotunda building.....
     

    Attached Files:

  13. jms
    Joined: Aug 13, 2006
    Posts: 87

    jms
    Member
    from Chicago IL

    Another interesting fact that hasn't been mentioned yet ...

    The geodesic dome that roofed the Ford Rotunda was designed by the same Buckminster Fuller who designed the teardrop-shaped three-wheeled Dymaxian car!
     
  14. Erik B
    Joined: Sep 4, 2006
    Posts: 1,941

    Erik B
    Member

    He also designed the Dymaxion house that's on display at the Greenfield Village (Ford) museum right now.
     
  15. Natedrag
    Joined: Nov 28, 2007
    Posts: 35

    Natedrag
    Member

    As stated earlier Ford still uses the Rotunda name for its tool/equipment line. I'm a tech at a Ford dealer and we just got the latest Rotunda catalog. I always thought it was an odd name. We are an old dealer (started late 40's) and have Rotunda stuff dating back to at least mid 60's.
     
  16. Thanks for sharing. I never knew how the Rotunda burned down. It's too bad Ford never rebuilt the Rotunda.
     
  17. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 19,601

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

    I sure wish they would!! Right on the same sight... Last time I drove by that area, the drive ways were still in place... I need to stop by there tomorrow and take some pictures....
     
  18. bonez
    Joined: Jul 16, 2007
    Posts: 3,492

    bonez
    Member
    from Slow lane

    Wow, good story, shame it burned to the ground.
    Rik's pictures are beautiful, the ReC article is pretty kool too. I wonder how much the landscape changed since those shots were taken. I bet there isnt a inch of empty space left!
     
  19. Adam F
    Joined: Jun 19, 2001
    Posts: 323

    Adam F
    Member

    Great post.

    Just out of interest I started looking at the shift knobs- the ones I found in my research were all a dark brown with gold metal casting. What's the story with the cream one pictured?

    Adam F
     
  20. No_Respect
    Joined: Jul 27, 2005
    Posts: 1,170

    No_Respect
    Member
    from So-Cal

    I was just talking to my dad about the Rotunda building last month and he started tearing up with memories of it as a child back in the early sixties it was one of the most visited sites in America ahead of the Washington monument!
     
  21. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 19,601

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

    Last edited: Sep 15, 2010
  22. panheadpete
    Joined: Jan 27, 2002
    Posts: 54

    panheadpete
    Member

    In regards to the soybean shifter knob, I remember seeing an artical in a 40's Popular Mechcanics that Henry built a soybean based body and if I remember right it was a 40 sedan.
     
  23. johnod
    Joined: Aug 18, 2009
    Posts: 778

    johnod
    Member

    Rotunda, wasn't that the name of that chick with the long hair?

    According to Peter Wolf.
     
  24. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 4,181

    Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Member

    "Reputa. Reputa the beauta". LOL.
     
  25. johnod
    Joined: Aug 18, 2009
    Posts: 778

    johnod
    Member

    Yep,, good times..
     
  26. nwheels
    Joined: Mar 25, 2008
    Posts: 57

    nwheels
    Member
    from Washington

    Thanks for the history on that, I'm young enough that I never knew about it. Wish the big automakers today still put on a real show like they did back then.
     
  27. Sweepspear
    Joined: May 17, 2010
    Posts: 292

    Sweepspear
    Member

    I didn't know any of that.
    I have over the years seen the word Rotunda associated with Ford, but never knew what it stood for. :confused:
     
  28. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 19,601

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

    That was Repunzel... :D
     
  29. ClearSpot
    Joined: Aug 20, 2009
    Posts: 939

    ClearSpot
    Member
    from Michigan

    Also to add,the building that was sitting across the street from the Rotunda in Riksters birdseye view,was the original Ford HQ.(where Henry's office was)There was no glasshouse yet.That stood empty many years,till demolished(asbestos issues) around 5-6 years ago.Another sad day!
    Another large old building sits empty right behing the HenryFord museum.I believe it's been donated to the museum by FoMoCo.We're still waiting to hear what they'll do with it.It contains another one of Henry's offices that supposedly has been left untouched.
    By the way,the massive train layout is still setup during Christmas in the museum where Santa is for the kids.
     
  30. fordflashback
    Joined: Mar 9, 2008
    Posts: 48

    fordflashback
    Member

    The Rotunda site has been completely redeveloped. Those driveways are actually across the street where the old Ford HQ was.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/48297161@N00/2437141200
     

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