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View Full Version : Willow Run Airport (Will it run)



benny rutledge
08-11-04, 11:02 AM
May 14,1942 began actual production of Bombers.Designed by Albert Kahn,the 70 acre structure was at the time said to be the "Most enormous room in the history of man".The building was designed illogically in an "L" shape to prevent the Plant from extending out of Washtenaw county into Wayne county (Wayne county levyed heavier taxes and was sympathetic to FDR)The Stream after which the site was named , was housed in a concrete conduit in it's original wandering course at Henry Fords insistance.The stream flowed on beneath the buildings and across the site.Charles Lindbergh called Willow Run "The Grand Canyon of the Mechanized world"The Christian Science Monitor said of the Plant,"It is horizontally,what the Empire State building is Vertically,to American Industry,a promise of American greatness".Albert Kahn,had designed and built both the Highland Park and Rouge facilities for Henry Ford.Willow Run was to be his last project for Ford as he died not long after it opened for production.Ford had a tough time keeping his workers happy as it was a 2 Hour drive to the plant from Detroit and it used up precious gas rationing stamps to make the daily drive.By the end of 42'only 56 Aircraft had been produced.It took untill 1944 for the plant to make it's one an hour quota.By this time Henry Ford had two strokes and Edsel had died of Stomach cancer.Willow Run today is the site of General Motors "Hydramatic" transmission plant in Ypsilanti.All the Runways are intact and still in use for Private aviation, as all the Major Airlines left for Wayne county Metro airport in the 60's.The "Yankee Air Museum" is housed at the East end of the field and annualy hosts one of the largest Airshows in North America every August.:bunny: