(12) 801 Willow Run Airport Rd. – Willow Run Airport

Images: From the Collection of The Henry Ford. 1) P.833.82126 and 2) P.833.801822

Images: From the Collection of The Henry Ford. 1) P.833.82126 and 2) P.833.801822

 

Willow Run Airport, just east of Ypsilanti, was originally farmland purchased by Henry Ford to build a plant to support the building of the B-24-E during WWII.  The ground was broken for the project in April of 1941.

Willow Run was the first manufacturing site to employ women on the assembly line.  At one point Willow Run employed 15, 412 women, making up 39% of their work force.[1] These women worked every job that they were physically capable of doing, along with equal pay to men.  The women generally worked nine-hour days, with a 30-minute lunch and a few 15-minute breaks. [2]

The famous B-24-E contains 300,000 rivets. These women could produce a B-24-E in 59 minutes, the fastest of any plant in the nation.[3] By the end of the war the Willow Run Plant had produced over 8,500 B-24-E Bombers. [4]

* Special thanks to Yankee Air Museum Staff and Library for access to oral histories and collections. 


[1] O’Callaghan, Timothy. Ford: In the Service of America. (Jefferson: McFarland and Company Inc., 2009). 39.

[2] Rose, Kaupp. Interviewed by Laura Edge. Yankee Air Museum. September 29, 2012.

[3] Summary of the Willow Run Bomber Plant.   The Archives of Labor History and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University.

[4] Mann, James. “ A Brief History”. Heritage Newspapers/Western Region. llNovember 19, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s