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Museum group saves Mich. factory where Rosie the Riveter worked

Yankee Air Museum chairman Ray Hunter honored women who contributed to the war effort at a ceremony last month.


Yankee Air Museum chairman Ray Hunter honored women who contributed to the war effort at a ceremony last month.

DETROIT — The Detroit-area factory where Rosie the Riveter showed that a woman could do a ‘‘man’s work’’ by building World War II-era bombers has been saved from the wrecking ball, organizers of a campaign to build a museum on the site announced Thursday.

The site’s manager had given the Save the Willow Run Bomber Plant campaign a deadline of Thursday to raise the $8 million needed to buy a 150,000-square-foot portion of the larger property.

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As recently as Tuesday, the group was about $1 million short of its goal, but later in the day it ‘‘closed on a big one,’’ fund-raising consultant Michael Montgomery said.

The Yankee Air Museum will focus on the history of the plant and vintage aircraft, but Rosie will be a star as well, just as she was seven decades ago.

Although women performed what had been male-dominated roles in plants all over the country during the war, it was a Willow Run worker who caught the eye of Hollywood producers casting a ‘‘riveter’’ for a government film about the war effort at home.

Rose Will Monroe starred as herself in the film and became one of the best-known figures of that era. She represented the thousands of Rosies who took factory jobs making munitions, weaponry, and other items while the nation’s men were off fighting in Europe and the Pacific.

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