The Ford Motor Company assembly plant in Richmond, CA, was one of that city's important sites of production in support of America's war effort during World War II. The assembly plant building stands today much as it did when Ford opened the plant in 1931, when Ford converted it to war-time production in 1942, when Ford reconverted it to production of civilian autos and trucks in 1945, and when Ford closed it in 1955. The building therefore holds considerable potential for interpreting the stories of American workers on the homefront during World War II. For that reason, the building will be one of the focal points in the National Park Service's new Rosie the Riveter World War II Homefront NHP being developed in Richmond.
The Ford Assembly Plant converted from automobile to tank production during the war, processing over 60,000 tanks plus a variety of other military vehicles. The World War II Home Front in Richmond was representative of other industrial centers that emerged specifically to support America's war effort. Many of those who worked in Richmond's industries are part of the community today.
rehabilitation/adaptive reuse plan for
the The Ford Assembly Building (FAB) & Visitor/Education
Center and the Oil House is in final negotiations.
During World War II, this building was
converted from an automobile to a tank
production plant that processed 60,000
tanks plus other combat vehicles including
Army trucks, half-tracks tank destroyers,
personnel carriers, scout cars, amphibious
tanks, lift trucks, snow plows, and bomb
The FAB is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Richmond has contracted with Orton Development, Inc. for rehabilitation of the building primarily for work/live adaptive re-use. The City has transferred title of the building to Orton. Based on compliance with the State Historic Preservation Officer,
will retain and stabilize the historic
facades, roof line, craneway, the boiler
room, and other distinguishing historic
features. Orton is willing to improve and
provide space for a 7,000–9,000 sq.
ft. World War II Home Front visitor/education
center in the craneway facing on San Francisco
The FAB is 561,000 sq. ft. and a quarter-mile long. The visitor/education center and exhibits would provide all-weather, multi-media orientation and education programs on the World War II Home Front themes in Richmond, the Bay Area and nationwide.
The craneway, if properly designed for adaptive reuse, affords a prime indoor public space for events, celebrations and residents and visitors on a scale that the City does not presently have.
For a more detailed description of the Ford Assembly Plant, please see the following Acrobat .PDFs (A historical report
prepared for National Park Service Rosie the Riveter World War II Homefront National Historical Park):
Chapter 1 || Chapter 2 || Chapter 3 || Chapter 4A || Chapter 4B || Chapter 5 || Chapter 6 || Bibliography