PBS to air documentary about Ypsilanti’s legendary Willow Run B-24 bomber factory

“The Story of Willow Run” was a black and white documentary produced by the Ford Motor Company in 1945. The documentary describes the history of the bomber plant during the World War II period.

According to the Michigan Aerospace Foundation, the documentary recounts the building of the massive assembly plant, and the production process of more than 8,000 B-24 heavy bombers. The bombers were built at the plant from 1942 to 1945.

The plant was built by Henry Ford in 1941 and employed more than 42,000. The factory produced one B-24 aircraft every 59 minutes, according to the Yankee Air Museum. The museum was established in 1981.

Below, see a preview of the documentary from the Michigan Aerospace Foundation:

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Willow Run History

1939-1941: Willow Run Boys Camp
1941-1942: Willow Run bomber plant under construction
1942-1945: Willow Run bomber plant is operational
Oct. 1, 1942: First completed B-24 at Willow Run
1943: Willow Run Village opens for residents
Apr. 16, 1944: Plant reaches goal of one bomber per hour
Jun. 28, 1945: Last bomber completed at Willow Run
May 12, 1946: Ford Motor formally ends contract with government
1946: Kaiser-Frazer purchases the plant facility
1947: University of Michigan purchases the plant facility
1947-1953: Kaiser-Frazer operates plant facility at Willow Run
1948: Willow Run opens to public and commercial flights
1953: General Motors purchases plant from Kaiser-Frazer
Mar.31, 1966: Last public flight out of airport
1977: University of Michigan sells airport to Wayne County
1981: Yankee Air Force and Yankee Air Museum established
Oct. 9, 2004: Fire destroys hanger at Yankee Air Museum