Rosie the Riveter was a famous figure during WWII; a strong woman who represented those who went to work while the men were fighting for their country, she was an icon in an era when women were expected to do little more than make a nice home and raise children. Now, the Detroit factory where Rosie was made famous is in danger of being torn down, and only $3.5 million can save it.
Ford Motor Company switched from cars to planes during the war at the Willow Run Bombing Plant, and one of their employees–Rose Will Monroe–caught the eye of Hollywood casting agents when they were looking for someone to star in ads for the company to show women that they, too, could do a man’s work. But now, the building is set to be demolished unless enough money can be raised to redevelop it for use by the Yankee Air Museum.
‘‘The younger generation needs to know what people went through and be able to go and see what they did and how they did it for our country,’’ Larry Doe, who gave to the cause, said.
The Yankee Air Museum has taken on fundraising efforts, in part because they need a new space after a 2004 fire destroyed their hangar, but also because of the history surrounding the factory.
“We have to build a hangar one way or the other,” said Dennis Norton, Yankee Air Museum founder and president of the Michigan Aerospace Foundation. “When people come to the museum, what they really want to see are [the planes] but they can’t see them because they’re over at the airport. When the opportunity came up to save a little piece of the bomber plant, we switched to that because it’s such a part of our history here.”
So far, over $4 million has already been raised for the cause, but it simply isn’t enough to renovate the building and bring it up to code for the museum’s purposes. The rest of the money must be made by Thursday.