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Detroit Rubber Works: 1908

Detroit Rubber Works: 1908

The Detroit River circa 1908. "Morgan & Wright Rubber Works." The enterprise last glimpsed here. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Shades of Uniroyal

The company moved from Chicago to Detroit in about 1905 to take advantage of the car industry needing tires. From the start, the plant employed 750 people and produced 350 tires each day. Around 1912, Morgan & Wright became a division of the United States Tire Co which later became a division of Uniroyal. The factory closed around 1980 and was demolished in 1985. The still empty property sits at 6600 Jefferson just west of the Belle Isle Bridge.

From Bicycles to Brownfields to "The Bus"

Farsighted Fred Morgan and Rufus Wright recognized at the turn of the century that moving from bicycle tires to auto tires, and Chicago to the Detroit, was the way to go. Thus, around the time of this photo, Morgan & Wright Bicycle Tire Co. of Chicago became Morgan and Wright Rubber Works on East Jefferson Avenue and Meldrum in Detroit. Around 1912, Morgan & Wright became a division of the United States Tire Co., ultimately shortened to Uniroyal in 1961. At some point Michigan Consolidated Gas Co. moved in next door to convert coal to gas.

Like most Detroit factories of its era, this building closed, and was then demolished, in the second half of the 20th Century. The City bought it to control its future. But by that point the site's contaminated soil was an environmental nightmare, scaring away many potential purchasers.

A century after this photo, a new development team led by Detroit native and Pittsburgh Steeler Jerome “The Bus” Bettis obtained development rights to the site. A new commercial or industrial use is still elusive. For more:

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