Anyone who lives or drives through the Highland Park neigborhood in St. Paul has likely seen the sad, but spectacular, ruins of Ford's former Twin Cities Assembly plant, an economic engine until its closing in late 2011. The oldest part of the plant, which dates back to 1925, have yet to be demolished.

Now, a group called the Save Our Ford Heritage Committee, which consists of retired autoworkers, local history supporters, United Auto Workers officials, car collectors, and others, will hold an open house featuring Ford memorabilia from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19.

The event will be held at the Hillcrest Recreation Center, 1978 Ford Parkway in St. Paul. The event is free and open to the public.

The group hopes to preserve the history of the plant by displaying artifacts and memorabilia including workers' badges, samples of glass that was manufactured on site, historic photographs, postcards and drawings.Several historic Ford books and postcards will be given away as door prizes for those who attend the event.

The group is also hoping to display historic Ford vehicles at the open house (outside, of course).

According to a news release, the purpose of the event "is to draw attention to the fact that we are in the final hours before the demolition of the historic buildings is completed, and that as of yet, there is no plan for preserving any part of the historic structure.

"It is hoped that this event will generate broader interest leading to the creation of a more-formal committee structure to work for a preservation solution," the group noted. (The city hopes the site will be redeveloped into a mixed-use development.)

The group is, at the very least, pressing to create a permanent display on site to note the plant's formidable history. "Ideally, this would be set up in a portion of the original, historic building, or perhaps in a new location on the site."

Janet Moore covers commercial real estate for the Star Tribune.

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