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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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What’s Wrong with Willow Run?

What’s Wrong with Willow Run?

(p.147) Chapter Five What’s Wrong with Willow Run?
Planning the Home Front

Sarah Jo Peterson

University of Chicago Press

As tensions intensified between government agencies and local leaders concerning the fate of Bomber City (formerly the Defense City proposed by the United Auto Workers), another crisis was looming on the horizon. The production of bombers was scheduled to accelerate, but there was little new infrastructure—other than the access roads—to help the thousands living in makeshift conditions to make it through the coming winter. During Willow Run’s second winter, the number of workers rose to 40,000 while new housing lagged. This chapter examines the housing and other problems that beset the Willow Run Bomber Plant near Ypsilanti Township. It describes how plant workers lived in trailer camps, focusing on the experience of the family of Jane Castle, and the emergence of a trailer camp community at Willow Run. It also looks at the Truman Committee’s investigation of the Ford Motor Company’s production methods at the plant and discusses the controversial plan to house women workers in the Michigan State Normal School dormitories.

Keywords:   housing, Bomber City, Willow Run Bomber Plant, Ypsilanti Township, trailer camps, Jane Castle, Truman Committee, workers, dormitories, Ford Motor Company

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