Commonwealth Journal

Local News

August 1, 2013

Group is working to save ‘Rosie the Riveter’ factory

Pulaskian Rose Monroe became WWII icon

Detroit, Mich. —

DETROIT — A group in this Michigan city is trying to save some of a factory where a Pulaski County woman, dubbed Rosie the Riveter, helped build World War II-era bombers and became an icon of American female empowerment.
Rose Will Monroe was one of the 40,000 who toiled at the 332-acre Ford Motor Co. facility that churned out nearly 9,000 B-24 Liberator bombers during the war. 
Monroe, who moved to Michigan from her native Kentucky during the war, starred as herself in Rosie the Riverter, and the Rosie character became one of the best-known figures of the era as well as an enduring symbol of female empowerment.
The Detroit group has been given a two-month extension in which to raise enough money to save some of the Detroit-area factory where Rosie the Riveter and her female counterparts worked.
The trust set up to oversee properties owned by a pre-bankruptcy General Motors announced Wednesday it was extending until Oct. 1 the deadline for fundraisers to bring in the cash needed to preserve a portion of the former Willow Run Bomber Plant.
The Save the Bomber Plant campaign has raised $4.5 million of the $8 million it would cost to separate and preserve 175,000 square feet of the Ypsilanti Township plant and convert it into a new, expanded home for the nearby Yankee Air Museum.
The original deadline to raise the remaining $3.5 million had been Thursday, but the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust tacked on 60 days, saying in a statement the campaign’s “success and momentum” warranted the extension.
Dennis Norton, the Yankee Air Museum’s founder, said he and his fellow fundraisers were excited to be given the chance to finish what they started.
“The RACER Trust has been extremely supportive of Yankee Air Museum and this initiative,” he said. “We’re grateful to be able to continue working toward our goal of preserving a portion of the former bomber plant to tell the Arsenal of Democracy story and how Americans, men and women of all races, came together to not just build aircraft needed to win World War II, but to change the country forever.”

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