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Planning the Home FrontBuilding Bombers and Communities at Willow Run$
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Sarah Jo Peterson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226025421

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226025568.001.0001

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The Local Response to Sudden Industrialization

The Local Response to Sudden Industrialization

(p.42) CHAPTER TWO The Local Response to Sudden Industrialization
Planning the Home Front

Sarah Jo Peterson

University of Chicago Press

For years, the Ford Motor Company brought dramatic changes around Detroit dating back to its expansion to Highland Park in 1910 and then to Dearborn in the 1920s. Hence, local residents could see the Willow Run Bomber Plant as just another move by the company to expand west along the Michigan Central Railroad. The only physical manifestations of large-scale industrialization were the conversion of fields and orchards into steel and concrete. Ford’s relocation to Highland Park’s “Crystal Palace” and Dearborn’s River Rouge plant sparked social upheaval and economic disruption. In 1941, residents of Ypsilanti Township became anxious that the manic changes observed at Highland Park and Dearborn would soon be coming to their place. Meanwhile, local leaders saw Willow Run as the most recent manifestation of industrial suburbanization that characterized Detroit’s metropolitan area in the motor age.

Keywords:   suburbanization, Ford Motor Company, Detroit, Highland Park, Dearborn, Willow Run Bomber Plant, industrialization, Crystal Palace, River Rouge plant, Ypsilanti Township

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