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The building that won WWII to be demolished

In this Dec. 20, 1943 photo from the Boeing Co. archive, B-17G Flying Fortress airplanes are shown being built at Boeing's historic "Plant 2" in Seattle. After giving birth to some of the world's most significant aircraft, the outdated facility is scheduled to be torn down in the fall of 2010. (AP Photo/Courtesy Boeing Co.)

By CHRIS SULLIVAN
@newsguysully
KIRO Radio

Rosie the Riveter was made famous here. Boeing learned how to build airplanes here. This factory cranked-out 12 B-17's a day during the height of World War II.

"It's fair to say that 'Boeing's Plant 2 is the building that won World War II,'" Leonard Garfield told Mynorthwest.com. The executive director of Seattle's Museum of Science and Industry says the amount of history that came out of this plant is amazing.

The B-17, the B-29, the B-52, and the precursor of the 737 were built inside the plant that sits along the Duwamish River and is being torn down this month.

Plant 2 was so important to the war effort that Boeing actually built a fake city on the roof to hide its location.

"They built an entire village on the top of the factory with houses and stores and trees and streets so that from the air you would assume you were flying-over a regular residential neighborhood," Garfield said.

It was this plant that helped turn Seattle's unskilled loggers and fishermen into mechanics and plane engineers.

And let's not forget Rosie. Thousands of women worked this plant when their husbands and fathers were overseas fighting the war, including women like Eva Vassar who started in the Bremerton shipyard before becoming a riveter.

Vassar worked at Plant 2 for thirty-three years. "Did we enjoy working at Boeing?" she said. "I guess we must have enjoyed it we stayed so long."

The 83 year old Vassar was recently profiled in a Rosie the Riveter calendar, and she said she's sad to see the plant that made so much history succumb to the wrecking ball.

"I think we should be trying to preserve things instead of destroying them," Vassar said. "But what can I do about it? Nothing."

Boeing plans to restore a half-mile of the Duwamish River bank and create five acres of wetlands on the site.

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