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Ypsilanti in Washtenaw County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Willow Run

 
 
Willow Run Marker image. Click for full size.
By Al Barrera, December 11, 2008
1. Willow Run Marker
Inscription. [Marker Front]:
Willow Run (1941-1953)
After entering World War II in 1941, America desperately needed military equipment and supplies. The Ford Motor Company had begun building this factory in April 1941. Outstanding industrial architect Albert Kahn designed Willow Run, one of the largest manufacturing plants under one roof in the world. Completed in early 1942, this bulwark of the "Arsenal of Democracy" produced 8685 B-24 Liberator Bombers and had a peak employment of 42,000 men and women. After the war, the newly formed Kaiser-Frazer Corporation -- in an unsuccessful effort to create a large scale automotive empire -- occupied this plant. Here the company manufactured the first of 739,039 passenger cars, as well as military aircraft. In 1953 Kaiser-Frazer transferred its diminishing operations from Willow Run to Toledo, Ohio, and Argentina.

[Marker Reverse]:
Willow Run (1953-Present)
"Willow Run" initially referred to the small stream running through this area. The name then identified the bomber factory, airport, and community which sprung up around this wartime industry. Now this Willow Run plant is the General Motors Hydra-matic Division, makers of automatic transmissions. First based in Detroit, this Division moved to Livonia where fire destroyed its facilities
Willow Run Marker image. Click for full size.
By Al Barrera, December 11, 2008
2. Willow Run Marker
on August 12, 1953. That September General Motors transferred the Hydra-matic operations to Willow Run. Twelve weeks after the fire, transmissions again rolled of the totally retooled and rearranged assembly line -- an amazing feat of industrial efficiency. This factory has known both war and peace. Continuing to make transmissions, the plant also manufactured military hardware during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. Willow Run reflects the versatility of the auto industry.
 
Erected 1978 by State of Michigan. (Marker Number S0509.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Michigan Historical Commission marker series.
 
Location. 42° 14.48′ N, 83° 33.453′ W. Marker is in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in Washtenaw County. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2930 Ecorse road, Ypsilanti MI 48198, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Old Rawsonville Village (approx. 2 miles away); The Bomber Restaurant (approx. 2.5 miles away); Michigan's Interurbans (approx. 2.5 miles away); Hudsons & Friends (approx. 2.6 miles away); Ypsilanti (approx.
Willow Run Facility Entrance image. Click for full size.
By Al Barrera, December 16, 2008
3. Willow Run Facility Entrance
2.6 miles away); The Last Hudson Dealership (approx. 2.7 miles away); Michigan Central Freighthouse (approx. 2.7 miles away); The Amazing Quarter Mile (approx. 2.8 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Ypsilanti.
 
Categories. 20th CenturyGovernmentIndustry & CommerceLabor UnionsMilitaryNotable BuildingsNotable EventsNotable PlacesWar, World II
 
Willow Run Plant image. Click for full size.
By Al Barrera, December 16, 2008
4. Willow Run Plant
Willow Run Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dave Wilcox, September 11, 2015
5. Willow Run Marker
This marker is currently located inside of the Yankee Air Museum, at the Willow Run Airport, Ypsilanti, Michigan. It is against a wall in the north-east corner of the museum. There is an admission charge.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Al Barrera of Brownstown, Michigan. This page has been viewed 2,308 times since then and 136 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Al Barrera of Brownstown, Michigan.   2. submitted on , by Al Barrera of Brownstown, Michigan.   3, 4. submitted on , by Al Barrera of Brownstown, Michigan.   5. submitted on , by Dave Wilcox of Grass Lake, Michigan. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Wide area picture of the marker and its surroundings. • Can you help?
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