| In March, 1943 men and materials moved onto the property which you see at the left.
Most of these buildings were built by
American Wire Nail Company in 1889.
By July the buildings were finished as you see them, and then a parade of specially designed
forging tools began to move in. The buildings were located at the South West corner of 16th.
The first conference took place as early as December, 1943. The first definite order followed in January,
and because it was found that even Chevrolet's enormous capacity was not large enough to build engines along with all
the other war material it had been asked to make, Chevrolet and Defense Plant Corporation officials arranged to alter the
forging buildings here and create a new factory for machining engine parts as well.
Early in May the machine tools began to arrive, to be installed as fast as they came in. The first
finished cylinder left the plant August 29, 1944, but that was only the beginning.
"Production!" was the cry of the Army Air Force officials. "We have to make more!"
So even as production went on, greater production was planned and put into effect. Other old buildings were repaired and new
machine tools were installed. It wasn't until February, 1945 that the new plant could be considered as finished—until it
looked like it does today. That is why you haven't been invited to visit us before—because we weren't ready to ask
you to come in. But now you are about to start a tour through buildings that were once like the picture on the left but now
look like the one above.
IN THE LIGHT of what you are seeing today, it is rather difficult to remember what sort
of buildings stood on this ground when the first snow fell back there in the winter of 1943. They were pretty old and
dilapidated and hadn't been used for anything but storage for a long time. But even before that first snow fell the United
States Army Air Force officers and the management of Chevrolet were discussing plans which led to great activity here.
In March, 1943 men and materials moved onto the property which you see pictured here. Some of the old
structures were torn down. The usable buildings were repaired. Railroad tracks were torn out and new ones put in. Floors
were torn up and re-laid. By July the buildings were finished as you see them, and then a parade of specially designed
forging tools began to move in. By November the plant was ready for the production of forgings.
Due to the changing fortunes of war, however, the Army decided not to use the forging capacity at
Chevrolet-Anderson. So for several months there was little activity. Then, late in 1943, the Army began to make plans for
D-day in Europe.
The United States Army needed airplanes, thousands of them. And because airplanes meant engines, and
because Chevrolet was famous for its ability to manufacture in large volume, Chevrolet was asked to undertake the manufacture
of Pratt and Whitney 18-cylinder radial engines.