black and white photo taken in 1998 of the aviation hangar located in the center of the test track at the Packard Proving Grounds Historic Site

I told my academic advisor at Eastern Michigan University about the PPG and showed him the Gate Lodge drawings by Albert Kahn.  I hoped he might have some ideas on what I could do to bring attention to the plight of the PPG.  He agreed that this was an important historic site but that there wasn’t much I could do to get it restored unless its owner, Ford Motor Company, was interested in doing so.  He didn’t think that was likely.  But he suggested that I use the preservation potential of the PPG as a final project for my master’s degree in historic preservation.

I felt like I had hit a wall, until….

Sometime in the late 1990s, I got wind of some changes at Ford Motor Company.  Due to economic pressures, the company was restructuring and downsizing operations and holdings.  The PPG property had been transferred to the Land Development division of Ford, which gave me a sense of foreboding.  I knew it was only a matter of time before the property would be divided up and sold.  Then I learned that the United States Postal Service was looking to purchase vacant property on 23 Mile Road to build a postal distribution center.  The property under consideration was the north end of the PPG test track that contained the airplane hangar.

This land purchase consideration was to become the first domino to fall, which then set the whole intricate network of dominoes to fall.

To be continued.