Port Washington Aviation History

Aircraft Manufacturing

Republic Aviation Corporation Hangar, 1994

arch401

In 1994 the abandoned Republic Aviation Corporation plant was demolished.  It looked nothing like it did below, circa 1953.

Top photo from the collection of Guy LaMotta.

fom044

I feel very bad about it, like the place has been desecrated.  I spent a lot of my lifetime there, and we built all those historic places.  It should have been preserved, part of it anyway.  But there’s nothing we can do about it.

- Josephine Rachiele

I had a lot of friends who worked at that plant.  I wanted to play the taps as they were taking the building down, as a dedication to them.  I been watchin’ it as it came down.

- Theodore Padova

Grumman Corp. WWII Poster

arch297

The name Grumman on a part or plane means the same to the Navy as Sterling on silver means to you

- “Rear Admiral McCain, US Navy”

Photo from the collection of the Grumman Corporate Archives.

Championship Riveters, April 22, 1943

fom103Martha Myskowski, on right, and Betty Relli were members of Port Washington’s championship riveting team.  They hold the crowd spellbound as they bang their way to a new record of 19.2 rivets per minute.  The contest was held at the “Nassau At War” exposition at Adelphi College, April 22, 1943.

Photo from the collection of the Grumman Corporate Archives.

Construction of the American Aeronautical Corp. Plant in Port Washington

arch263Photo from the Estate of Joseph Gaeta.

American Aeronautical Corp. Plant in Port Washington

arch262Photo from the Estate of Joseph Gaeta.

Interior of Grumman Plant in Port Washington, June 11, 1943

arch292Photo from the Grumman Corporate Archives.

Republic Aviation Corp. Hangars, 1950s

arch604Aerial view of Republic Aviation Corporation, located on Manhasset Isle in Port Washington from 1950 to 1958.

Women Outside of Manufacturing Plant

fom107

Aerial View of Tom's Point on Manhasset Isle

aviation32ANote the Republic Aviation Corporation manufacturing hangar, center, and Port’s Town Dock, top center.

Republic Aviation Corporation, Plant No. 2

fom044Responding to a high volume of orders from the US government, the Republic Aviation Corporation opened a plant in Port Washington in 1951 to manufacture wings for its F84F Thunderstreak and RF-84F and F-105 jet fighter bombers.  Employing over 3,000 people, 10% of them were Port Washington residents.

Photo of the northern hangar seen from the west, circa 1953.  From the collection of the Cradle of Aviation Museum.

Grumman Employees Work on a Bomber, 1943

fom104Women work on the fuselage of a Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bomber at Grumman Plant #15, located in Port Washington.  For more information about this aircraft, click here.

From the book Flight of Memory, published by the Port Washington Public Library:

The first avenger was built in 1942.  Five months later, the production line began to tick off hundreds more.  This was unheard-of speed in an industry which formerly needed three years to translate blueprints into planes.  In 45 months of wartime service, Grumman Corporation built 17,000 airplanes.  Many parts were built in Port Washington, where women became key players at Plant #15.  Around Long Island, women comprised more than forty percent of the production force in aviation and mility support industries.

For more information about Flight of Memory, see www.pwpl.org/publications/flight.html.

Photo from the collection of the Grumman History Center.