Historic Michigan "Rosie the Riveter" Plant Staves Off Destruction


  • Rosie The Riveter Picture

    Rosie The Riveter Picture

    The race is on to save the factory where Rosie the Riveter built bombers during World War II. | August 01, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • The historic factory where "Rosie the Riveter" built bombers during World War II and GM built its Hydra-matic transmissions after the war has been given a two-month reprieve while a campaign seeks to raise $8 million to save it.
  • Former GM executive Bob Lutz is co-chair of the campaign to save the Willow Run Bomber Plant.
  • The deadline to save the Willow Run Bomber Plant has been extended to October 1.

YPSILANTI TOWNSHIP, Michigan — The historic Michigan factory where "Rosie the Riveter" built bombers during World War II and GM built its Hydra-matic transmissions after the war has been given a two-month reprieve while a campaign seeks to raise $8 million to save it from demolition.

Former GM executive Bob Lutz is co-chair of the campaign to save the Willow Run Bomber Plant.

The deadline to save the Willow Run Bomber Plant has been extended to October 1.

Supporters of the plant want to relocate an air museum to the site. They announced on Wednesday that $4.5 million has been raised to help save the plant — part of Detroit's "Arsenal of Democracy" manufacturing juggernaut during WWII.

"If we fail, our part of the plant will share the fate of the rest of the building and a valuable piece of our history could be lost," supporters said in a statement.

For more information, check out the Willow Run Bomber Plant Web site.

"The historic Willow Run plant dates back to the early 1940s, when it produced war planes during World War II," according to GM historical documents. "In fact, the plant's configuration sloped from west to east, so finished planes could be easily rolled out of the east doors and on to the expansive Willow Run runway. It was converted to a dedicated transmission plant in 1953 after a fire destroyed another transmission facility in Livonia, Michigan."

Rosie the Riveter represented the women who worked in the defense industries in World War II. Her no-nonsense look and "can-do" attitude were used to entice women out of their homes and into the converted auto plants that were building planes, tanks and weapons for the U.S. and its allies.

Ford originally built and operated the Willow Run factory, which later became the Willow Run Aircraft Factory, where thousands of B-24 Liberator bombers were built.

Edmunds says: A former auto executive and marine pilot, with help from supporters, hopes to save a historic WWII aircraft factory from the wrecking ball.

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