On track to open in early 2019
By John Hummer
Car enthusiasts throughout the Jackson area – and there are many – should begin to take note as a new historic car museum is on the fast track to open in 2019.
The future Hackett Auto Museum on Hupp Avenue in Jackson has been approved to receive$50,000 in loan funding for predevelopment expenses and a $15,000 “Intervention” loan from the Michigan Historic Preservation Network to kick-start the restoration process.
Ted O’Dell, project leader and executive director of the museum, believes these funds will go a long way in helping to save the historic Hackett Automobile Company plant located on Hupp Avenue in Jackson.
“The ‘intervention’ funding will allow us to address immediate needs with the roof in order to help stop further deterioration of the building,” he said.
The funds will be an important stop-gap measure in helping to save the historic automotive plant in Jackson. The museum’s mission is to be a permanent home for the preservation of Jackson-made automobiles and will be opening to the public early in 2019.
“This crucial funding will allow us to move the project forward to the next level,” O’Dell said.
The MHPN Predevelopment Loan Fund program provides funding to non-profit organizations focused on rehabilitating historic buildings in Michigan. The funds cover reasonable third-party costs that occur in the early stages of preservation and are often necessary for making projects happen.
Nancy Finegood, executive director of the MHPN said, “This program is designed to assist with up-front costs such as architectural, engineering, environmental assessment, licenses, permits and legal fees associated with preservation efforts.”
The MHPN Intervention Loan program provides funding for repairs to non-profit organizations that focus efforts on saving historic buildings. The primary aim of the program is to stabilize historic properties that are threatened by one or more failures of major building systems, like structural elements and rehabilitation of the building.
Early in the twentieth century, the New England Mill style building served as home to four different car manufacturers, including makers of the Standard Electric automobile, Briscoe, Argo and Hackett Automobiles, considered by some in the collector car community as highly sought after and rare automobiles.
“There is probably a guy in your neighborhood with a Ford Model T in the garage, but you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a Hackett,” said O’Dell. “Production records indicate there were only about 118 Hackett cars ever produced.”
The facility also served as the original home to Lewis Spring & Axle Company from the late 1890’s until about 1907. At one time, Charles Lewis was Jackson’s largest employer.
The museum is also receiving a $3,700 grant from the MotorCities National Heritage Area, an affiliate of the National Park Service.
“Simply put, this place matters!” said O’Dell of the $1.4 million-dollar rehabilitation project. “We are grateful the MHPN recognizes the significance of this important historic resource that was so integral to Jackson’s automotive and industrial past.”