Time Line

Chronology of Events in Planning the Home Front

Defense    
May 1940 President Roosevelt requests 50,000 new military aircraft.  
October 14, 1940 Lanham Act is adopted, funding public housing for defense workers.  
February 21, 1941 Army Air Corps issues letters of intent to Ford Motor Company for B-24 production.  
March 1, 1941 Senate Special Committee Investigating the National Defense Program (Truman Committee) is formed.  
March 28, 1941 Title VI is added to the National Housing Act, creating a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) program that insures mortgages in defense areas.  
April 18, 1941 Ford Motor Company breaks ground for the Willow Run Bomber Plant.  
June 28, 1941 Lanham Act is amended to include funds for community public works.  
October 1941 Truman Committee investigates the Currier contract for Lanham Act housing in Michigan.  
November 12, 1941 President Roosevelt approves a “survey of possibilities” for the UAW’s Defense City.  
War    
December 7, 1941 The Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor.  
January 21, 1942 Lanham Act amendments allow public war housing to be built to temporary standards.  
February 18, 1942 Frederic Delano, chair of the National Resources Planning Board, visits Detroit to coordinate federal plans for Willow Run.  
February 24, 1942 Formation of the National Housing Agency (NHA).  
February 28, 1942 Sojourner Truth Housing riots in Detroit.  
April 9, 1942 War Production Board (WPB) prohibits all nonessential construction.  
May 5, 1942 NHA announces plans for Bomber City, a 6,000-unit permanent community for Willow Run workers.  
May 26, 1942 Title VI amendments focus the FHA’s programs on housing for war workers.  
June 1942 22,435 workers are employed at Willow Run Bomber Plant.  
July 22, 1942 Truman Committee holds hearings on Bomber City.  
August 27, 1942 Michigan State Police evict bomber plant workers camped out near the plant because of the crowded, unsanitary conditions.  
August 29, 1942 WPB approves Bomber City after reducing it to 2,500 units.  
September 10, 1942 Willow Run Bomber Plant produces its first B-24.  
September 12, 1942 Willow Run access roads are dedicated.  
October 6, 1942 Bomber City is converted to temporary housing at the UAW’s request.
December 11, 1942 WPB and NHA codify a joint housing policy, restricting public war housing to temporary construction.
December 1942 Aircraft Production Board adopts production targets under Schedule 8-L.
February 1943 Willow Lodge dormitories open, the first public housing for bomber plant workers.
  Employment at Willow Run climbs to 37,133 workers.
  Truman Committee begins an investigation into Willow Run’s production problems.
April 5, 1943 Ford agrees to move B-24 production processes away from Willow Run and subcontract with other manufacturers.
April 7, 1943 President Roosevelt issues an executive order creating the Committee for Congested Production Areas.
May 26, 1943 Edsel Ford dies.
June 20, 1943 Detroit race riots.
June 1943 Willow Run employment peaks at 42,506 workers.
August 11, 1943 Army Air Forces confronts Ford on the bomber plant’s repeated failure to meet production schedules.
August 1943 The first temporary family apartments at Willow Village open.
December 3, 1943 Detroit–Willow Run Congested Production Area is designated.
December 1943 Willow Village war population peaks at 1,728 families.
March 1944 Production peaks at Willow Run; one B-24 completed every 63 minutes.
June 1944 Employment at Willow Run falls to 28,411 workers.
July 1944 Willow Village accepts its first African American tenants.
March 9, 1945 Ribbon-cutting ceremony is held for the Willow Run to Detroit expressway.
April 1945 War Department awards the Army-Navy “E” award for production excellence to the Willow Run Bomber Plant.
June 28, 1945 Bomber production ceases at Willow Run with B-24 number 8,685.