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.
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
Martha 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.
Photo courtesy of of the Estate of Joseph J. Gaeta.
Responding 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.
Women 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.