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Rosie the Riveter's Factory at Risk! Group Hoping to Make It a WWII Museum

By Getgoretro

Rosie the Riveter's Factory at Risk! Group Hoping to Make it a  WWII Museum

Rosie the Riveter Poster

For everyone out there who loves the "Rosie the Riveter" poster, or dons the head scarf style that Rosie wore; perhaps you went to your Halloween party as Rosie, why not try and help save the historic Bomber Plant?

Let’s Save The Willow Run Bomber Plant! 

The Detroit-area factory where 'Rosie the Riveter' showed that a woman could do a 'man's work' by building World War II-era bombers, making her an enduring symbol of American female empowerment, will be demolished if money can't be found to save it.

Rosie the Riveter's Factory at Risk! Group Hoping to Make it a  WWII Museum

The real Rose Monroe,
who died in 1997

The Willow Run Bomber Plant, a 332-acre former Ford Motor Company factory west of Detroit that churned out nearly 9,000 B-24 Liberator bombers during World War II, is slated to be torn down unless a group can raise $3.5 million by May 1, 2014; to convert at least some of the structure into a new, expanded home for the nearby Yankee Air Museum. 'The younger generation needs to know what people went through and be able to go and see what they did and how they did it for our country,' Larry Doe, a 70-year-old Ypsilanti Township resident who has given to the cause, said recently before joining other donors for a trip on a B-17.

Although women performed what had been male-dominated roles in plants all over the country during the war, it was a Willow Run worker - one of an untold number of women in its 40,000-person workforce - who caught the eye of Hollywood producers casting a 'riveter' for a government film about the war effort at home.

Rosie the Riveter's Factory at Risk! Group Hoping to Make it a  WWII Museum

Rosie the Riveter Pants
available at Get Go Retro

Although many Rosies were let go once the war was over and the soldiers returned home, they had shown that women were capable of doing jobs that had traditionally been done by only men. An illustrated poster of a determined-looking Rosie the Riveter rolling up her sleeve with the slogan, 'We can do it!,' became an iconic symbol of female empowerment for American women.

The Willow Run factory went back to making automobiles after the war ended, and it did so for more than a half-century under the General Motors name before closing for good in 2010.Now, Doe and other donors are hoping to save at least some of the massive structure to convert it into the new home of the Yankee Air Museum. The museum's original headquarters burned down in 2004, and it is currently housed at Willow Run Airport in Van Buren Township, which is near Ypsilanti Township, where the plant is located.

Yankee Air Museum backers are hoping to tap into some of that patented Rosie resolve in their efforts to transform Willow Run. The hulking facility currently is in the hands of the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust, which took over sites around the country left behind in the bankruptcy of GM.  Much of the plant has fallen into disrepair, including the portion the Yankee Air Museum is eyeing.

'We now have the opportunity to actually take a piece of this plant. It's due to be demolished over the next two or three years,' said Dennis Norton, president of the Michigan Aerospace Foundation. 'There's no further use for it. It's too big. It's too old to be used in modern-day manufacturing.'

Rosie the Riveter's Factory at Risk! Group Hoping to Make it a  WWII Museum

Riveters at work

So do your part… $50 saves 1 sq. ft. of the historic Willow Run Bomber Plant!
If we fail, our part of the plant will share the fate of the rest of the building, and a valuable piece of our history could be lost in its entirety. But…
Just as the Willow Run workers helped win World War II… together, we can do it!
Do your part. Click on  “Donate”  and give generously…. and please tweet, post and share to spread the word! Sources: By ASSOCIATED PRESS

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