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When you think of impactful industries in Michigan, your mind probably automatically goes straight to automobiles. But think back to World War II, when a factory employed 42,000 workers, a third of those women (Rosie the Riveter ring a bell?), to build B-24 bombers. According to Save the Bomber Plant, The Willow Run Bomber plant produced new bombers at a rate of one airplane every hour at its peak. Some even refer to the plant as the “birthplace of modern manufacturing” because of the way it improved upon manufacturing to take things beyond the assembly line.

Willow Run Bomber plant, Rosie the Riveter

A “Rosie the Riveter” working in the Willow Run Bomber Plant. Image via Save the Bomber Plant.

The Willow Run Bomber Plant is clearly an important chapter in American History; one that Michigan can be proud of. It brought on social change, had a big hand in our ability to win the war, and sparked growth in the southeastern Michigan region that continues on even today. However, despite its impactful history, the Willow Run Bomber plant is not likely to find a buyer to keep it intact.

Because of this, the “Save the Bomber Plant” campaign was created to use the majority of the plant as a museum to tell the story of what Willow Run accomplished and to create a permanent location for the Yankee Air museum. In addition, a smaller critical portion of the plant will be preserved and maintained.

In order to accomplish the $8 million campaign goal, the Michigan Aerospace Foundation must raise $5 million in additional funding. If you’re interested in helping to preserve a piece of history, specifically the eastern end of the plant, donate on the Save the Bomber Plant website.