'Rosie the Riveter' Plant Saved

Group just about raises the $8M needed to buy 150K square feet of it

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted May 1, 2014 10:27 AM CDT

(Newser) – 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 has been saved from the wrecking ball, organizers of a campaign to build a museum on the site announced today. The site's manager had given the Save the Willow Run Bomber Plant campaign a deadline of today to raise the $8 million needed to buy a 150,000-square-foot portion of the larger property. As recently as Tuesday morning, the group was about $1 million short of its goal, but later in the day "closed on a big one," fundraising consultant Michael Montgomery said.

That allowed Montgomery and his partners to get "within spitting distance of the full eight (million)" and enough to go forward with a purchase agreement, which he expects to be finalized in seven to 10 days. Meanwhile, those behind the effort will go back to raising the additional dollars needed to make the new Yankee Air Museum a reality. Its exhibits will focus on the history of the plant and vintage aircraft, but Rosie will be a star as well, just as she was seven decades ago. Click for more on the history of the plant and Rose Will Monroe, who caught the eye of Hollywood producers casting a "riveter" for a government film about the war effort at home.

A June 25, 1999, file photo shows an enlargement of the U.S. Postal Service's stamp depicting Rosie the Riveter.
A June 25, 1999, file photo shows an enlargement of the U.S. Postal Service's stamp depicting Rosie the Riveter.   (JOAN SEIDEL)
In this July 17, 2013, file photo, part of the former Willow Run Bomber Plant stands in Ypsilanti Township, Mich.
In this July 17, 2013, file photo, part of the former Willow Run Bomber Plant stands in Ypsilanti Township, Mich.   (Paul Sancya)
In this April 15, 2014 file image from video, Ray Hunter, chairman of the Yankee Air Museum, shakes hands with Loraine Osborne, a former “Rosie the Riveter.”
In this April 15, 2014 file image from video, Ray Hunter, chairman of the Yankee Air Museum, shakes hands with Loraine Osborne, a former “Rosie the Riveter.”   (Mike Householder)
In this March 3, 1943, file photo workers assemble B-24 Liberator bombers at Ford's Willow Run plant in Ypsilanti Township, Mich.
In this March 3, 1943, file photo workers assemble B-24 Liberator bombers at Ford's Willow Run plant in Ypsilanti Township, Mich.   (Uncredited)
In this April 15, 2014, image from video, Loraine Osborne, a former “Rosie the Riveter” who worked at the Willow Run bomber plant, holds up her old Ford Motor Co. identification card.
In this April 15, 2014, image from video, Loraine Osborne, a former “Rosie the Riveter” who worked at the Willow Run bomber plant, holds up her old Ford Motor Co. identification card.   (Mike Householder)
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