MotorCities National Heritage Area

June 2, 2020

DETROIT – While many are still staying at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, MotorCities has presented a series of FREE virtual programs via Zoom featuring members of our Speakers Bureau discussing interesting automotive history topics. Each of the three programs presented so far have proven to be very popular.

The series continues this Friday at 12 p.m. EDT with “R.E. Olds & the First Auto City" with author and filmmaker Michael Rodriguez. His documentary tells the story of Ransom Eli Olds, known as R.E. Olds, and the city where automobiles were first mass-produced. A pioneer of the American automotive industry, both Oldsmobile and REO were named after R.E. Olds. Although folklore claims it was Henry Ford who created the auto manufacturing industry in Detroit, this documentary shows that R.E. Olds, in fact, did it first in Lansing. Using historical photographs and film, interviews, and live footage, the story unfolds of a visionary thinker who created the basic concept for the modern assembly line and a skilled labor force that transformed modern transportation.

Rodriguez is a collections librarian for Michigan State University, where he is the subject librarian for American History, film studies and performing arts, and English and American history. His book about Lansing and R.E. Olds (R.E. Olds and Industrial Lansing, Arcadia, 2004) tells the story how the city grew and was shaped by one of its most important residents.

To register for this Friday's event, click To get more information about the entire series of "MotorCities At Home" presentations and view past presentations, click