We’re Almost There!

Your contribution is still critical, and it’s not too late to “Do Your Part,” and receive your official Preservation Certificate… proof that YOU helped Save the Willow Run Bomber Plant! You can dedicate your donation in honor of your own personal hero or heroine.

July, 2014:  We have recently cleared an important hurdle in the quest to “Save Willow Run!” But, your support is still needed…

On June 23, 2014, the Yankee Air Museum signed a purchase agreement to buy 144,000 square feet of the former B-24 Liberator Bomber Plant at Willow Run from the RACER Trust…But that is just a first step in the purchase process. We are now in a Pre-closing Inspection Period. During this time, we are trying to identify and address any issues that could complicate making a new home for the Yankee Air Museum in the Bomber Plant. Inspection is a standard part of all real estate deals, and must be concluded successfully before a deal can go forward.

Fundraising is more critical than ever in order to ensure that we will be able to convert “our” part of the Bomber Plant into a fully-independent, fully-functional building, and begin to build the interior facilities and exhibits of the exciting new museum that we have planned!

Assuming no problems are found during pre-closing inspection that we cannot resolve, we expect to close on our purchase towards the end of Summer 2014. At that time, we hope to be able to announce, and celebrate with our supporters, the successful conclusion of the first phase of the Save the Bomber Plant Campaign! Your donations are still critical to ensuring our success. To date, more than $7.5 million in cash and non-cash resources have been mobilized for this project, from overwhelming support across the country and around the world!

You, too, can still be a part of this great effort that has drawn nationwide support and media attention… just click here to join thousands who have contributed already. America has spoken… it’s important save Rosie the Riveter’s WWII Factory. It’s important to Save Willow Run!

 

Why is the Willow Run Bomber Plant so Important?

At the peak of its production during World War II, the Willow Run Plant employed 42,000 workers, as much as one third of whom were pioneering women industrial workers, collectively nicknamed “Rosie the Riveter.” Willow Run produced more aircraft every month on its mile-long assembly line than Japan did in a year, earning it, and the area surrounding southeast Michigan, worldwide fame as “The Arsenal of Democracy.” The nationwide American “Production Miracle,” of which Willow Run was the finest and most ambitious example, was a critical factor in ending the deadliest conflict in history.

Before Willow Run, it was deemed impossible to build aircraft on an assembly line. It took Consolidated Aircraft in California one month to build a B-24 Liberator 4-engine heavy bomber from the ground up. Henry Ford, his engineers and builders, and the dedicated workers that flowed into Michigan from every state and territory, proved that not only could bombers be built on a line, they could be produced at the astonishing rate of one per hour.

Willow Run was at the front and center of an unprecedented era of expanded opportunity. WWII was a time when everybody, from the Tuskegee Airmen to Rosie the Riveter, was asked to “Do Their Part,” and in the process, proved that “We Can Do It!” Willow Run, as the as largest factory under one roof in the world, with equal pay for equal work, firmly laid the groundwork for sweeping social change.

World War II was a time when all Americans pulled together to join with their Allies and literally “save the world.” Everybody from the President, to our great industrialists, to the working men and women determined to “Keep ‘em Flying,” supported a common goal. From housewives casting aside their aprons to take up welding torches in the California shipyards or rivet guns at Willow Run, to kids collecting scrap metal to be melted down for tanks… From glamorous Hollywood A-listers serving coffee and dancing with servicemen at the Hollywood Canteen, to Little People fresh off the “Wizard of Oz” movie set working in the tight center wing section of Willow Run’s bombers… From everybody buying as many War Bonds as they could afford, to enduring rationing of everything from butter to tires to nylons “for the duration”… This was truly our finest hour as Americans, and a story to inspire future generations. What better place to tell it than a preserved portion of Willow Run?

Is our goal impossible? Not at all! It will cost an estimated of $8 million to save part of the plant as the new, improved home of the Yankee Air Museum and its flyable WWII-era aircraft, including the majestic Yankee Lady B-17. The vast majority of the funds needed are for “separation” costs to make the remaining portion of the building viable after the rest of the plant goes, taking one wall and all utilities with it. The purchase price of the building is generously low, but we must show that we have the support… and the funds… to make our dream a reality.

Redevelopment of the Willow Run property as a connected vehicle research center  is currently underway. Our vision of the Yankee Air Museum housed in a preserved portion of the Plant would complete the picture of a revitalizing cluster of community assets at Willow Run, with the history and future of American transportation technology showcased side by side.

Amazingly, over $7 million has been raised in a little over  a year, and support for the campaign has been overwhelming! We got close enough to our original $8 Million goal to allow us to begin working on a purchase agreement with the building’s owners, which we hope to have finalized soon. Continued donations are still critical at this point and ensure that we can secure “our” part of the plant and save it from demolition. It’s not too late to help “Save The Bomber Plant!” with a limited edition Preservation Certificate to prove it.

Join people from all over America, and even the World, in this great effort to preserve an important piece of history.
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 the big, red “Donate” button, and give generously…. and please tweet, post and share to spread the word!

We thank you, our donors and friends, for all you have done to bring us to this point. The outpouring of community and nationwide support has been awesome and inspiring.

Thank you!
The Michigan Aerospace Foundation
The Yankee Air Museum
Campaign Co-chairmen Astronaut Jack Lousma and former GM Executive Bob Lutz