Foundation Fights to Save Historic Bomber Plant

Efforts are under way to save a portion of Michigan’s historic Willow Run Plant, which manufactured B-24 bombers during World War II, before the plant’s scheduled demolition later this year. The Michigan Aerospace Foundation, along with volunteers, is leading a campaign to raise the funds by Aug. 1 to acquire roughly 175,000 square feet of the former plant for conversion to the new home of the Yankee Air Museum, which maintains flyable historic aircraft. Willow Run, located just east of Ypsilanti, produced nearly 9,000 B-24s—and employed more than 40,000 people—during the war, according to the campaign’s website. Among those whom the plant employed were large numbers of minorities and women, the latter of whom were later immortalized as the pop cultural icon “Rosie the Riveter,” states the website. “This plant was an arsenal of democracy,” said Ray Hunter, Yankee Air Museum chairman, in a July 9 report from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. “It’s the right thing to do,” he said of saving it.