Ypsilanti in Washtenaw County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Michigan Avenue Industry
Ypsilanti's Automotive Manufacturing
The early automotive industry came to Ypsilanti
just after World War I. In 1919, Apex Motor Corporation built a small factory on River Street just south of Michigan Avenue to manufacture various "Ace" vehicles. But by 1925 three manufacturers — Apex, Saxon Motor, and Commerce Truck — had occupied the building and closed due to financial difficulties.
Automotive parts manufacturing found more success here.
In 1930, a plant was built at 103 S. River Street for Motor State Products to make convertible tops for Ford and other companies, and continued operations until 1971. In 1945, Ypsilanti Industries moved into a vacant auto dealership at 20 Michigan Avenue to make roller-bearings and transmission parts for Ford Motor Company until the 1960s.
You Auto Know
"Ace" vehicles were named for the term, popular after World War I, for outstanding military air pilots.
Erected by Motorcities National Heritage Area, National Park Service.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceRoads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the MotorCities National Heritage Area series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1919.
Location. 42° 14.45′ N, 83° 36.678′ W. Marker is in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in Washtenaw County. Marker is on East Michigan Avenue (State Highway 17) 0.1 miles east of South Huron Street (Business U.S. 12), on the right. The marker is along the Water Street Trail. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Ypsilanti MI 48198, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Power on the River (here, next to this marker); The Amazing Quarter Mile (here, next to this marker); Food and Drink (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Elijah McCoy (approx. 0.2 miles away); First Methodist Episcopal Church (approx. Ό mile away); Michigan's Interurbans (approx. Ό mile away); The Bomber Restaurant (approx. Ό mile away); 220 N. Huron (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ypsilanti.
Also see . . .
1. Apex Motor Corporation. Wikipedia article about Apex Motor Corp. Note: The link takes you to a Google Translated English version of the original German language page. (Submitted on October 14, 2016, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.)
2. Saxon Motor Cars. "This website is dedicated to the history, preservation and, (Submitted on October 14, 2016, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.)
3. Motor State Products An Ypsilanti Industry. Article on page 6 of the Summer/Fall 2014 edition of the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum's Newsletter. (Submitted on October 14, 2016, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.)
4. A Love Story Joe and Catherine Sesi. Internet Archive website entry:
Article, starting on page 4, in the summer 2006 issue of Ypsilanti Gleanings that includes information about Joe Sesi and the founding of Ypsilanti Industries. (Submitted on October 14, 2016, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 17, 2022. It was originally submitted on October 14, 2016, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 283 times since then and 45 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 14, 2016, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.