MPR: Henry Ford's influence in Minnesota

By Cathy Wurzer
Minnesota Public Radio

McMahon_Ford coverHenry Ford has a long history in Minnesota.

Back in 1903, he struck a deal with Stephen Tenvoorde of St. Cloud to sell "Fordmobiles" at Tenvoorde's bicycle shop. More than a hundred years later, the Tenvoorde family still operates what is now the oldest Ford dealership in the world.

Ford didn't stop there: The Ford Motor Company went on to open a production plant in Minneapolis by 1912, and then a new, larger facility in St. Paul by 1925.

That assembly plant, located in the Highland Park neighborhood, rolled out everything from the Model T to Ford Ranger pickup trucks by the time it closed in 2011. It has since been demolished, leaving 135-acres ready for development.

A new book, "The Ford Century in Minnesota" by Brian McMahon, tracks the car company's influence across the state. McMahon interviewed more than forty retired auto workers about their time at the St. Paul plant and their memories of the company.

He joined MPR News host Cathy Wurzer to explain why Ford picked St. Paul as the perfect spot in the first place.

Listen here.

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