ARSENALB-29[1]Your group can now visit the one-time world’s largest war factory located near Chicago’s Midway Airport. There is nothing like it anywhere. Five engines for every one of the over 18,000 four-engine B-29s that ever flew were made from scratch in this war plant. Exclusive access to the re-purposed multi-million square foot original building, now Ford City. Visible and available for viewing inside and out will be the mammoth assembly building,  numerous out-buildings, connecting underground tunnels, original artifacts, even the re-purposed but fully intact B-29 engine test stacks. See the same wartime housing built for many of the 35,000 employees. Chicago-area organizations can include a pre-lecture by Mr. O’Connor, featuring rare original wartime images from inside the plant.  Learn how Chicago and America’s manufacturing abilities made possible the World War 2 victory. For more information use the contact form. Please furnish full details including date, group size and type, contact information, and transportation needs.

About Jerome O'Connor

Jerome M. O’Connor, a Chicago area journalist, historian and educator, produces and lectures about the little-known, overlooked, or under-reported people, places and great events of modern history. To qualify, all locations must exist and can be entered. Deeply researched and dynamically presented programs result in numerous return invitations. New in 2015 are personally conducted tours to view and enter facilities depicted in his most recent Chicago Tribune features, ARSENAL OF DEMOCRACY and MOTOR ROW MEMORIES. Also new in 2015 is the photographic result of a return visit to Bletchley Park in England, where 12,000 code-breakers revealed the 'secret of the century,' the breaking of the Nazi Enigma cypher machine. O'Connor was the first journalist to reveal its existence in a widely viewed 1997 cover feature in Naval History magazine and in British Heritage magazine in 1998.


  1. Hello:

    My aunt worked at the Ford City plant, then called Dodge Chicago Plant, grinding small gears for the B-29 engines. She will be 96 this August and I was wondering if these plants are toured via carts as she is slightly limited in her walking. Considers herself one of the Rose the Riveters.

    1. Hello Ed:
      The tours are by request only and carts are not available. Previously arranged groups only from 4 to approximately 25. I conduct many of the tours. Concerning your “Rosie the Riveter” aunt, I will soon begin research for a book to observe the 75th anniversary in 2020 of the end of World War Two. If she is interested, memories and comments from your aunt will be considered for inclusion in the chapter about America’s arsenal of democracy. For example, where did she live and how did she travel to the plant. How did she learn of the job opening? Describe a typical day. For how long was she at Dodge-Chicago? How was she paid (cash or check) and what amount was she paid? Where did she eat or take breaks. Describe job training and location (likely on-site) for operation of the machinery. Was she promoted? Days and hours worked? Other details, even if small, will be welcome. I can be contacted using the form on this site. Jerome M. O’Connor.

  2. Hi Jerry, George Miller here, I emailed you a bit ago concerning how to tour the Ford City former b29 site. I have a friend of mine who is an army vet who worked at Intl. Harvester in Melrose Park who may want to join me. Let me know the times and cost and how one goes to see it

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