From Orange Trees to Space- Southern California's Aerospace Legacy
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Downey, home to America's Space Race and early aviation...

"Farmers in the area grew grain, corn, castor beans and fruit, and by 1935 Downey was characterized as an "orange-grove town". Downey was incorporated in 1956, and instituted a charter form of government in 1964. Suburban homes and factories replaced the farms after World War II. The largest employer was what became known as Vultee Aircraft, then North American Aviation, (later North American Rockwell, then Rockwell International which was then bought by the Boeing company) whose facilities were the birthplace of the systems for the Apollo space program as well as the Space Shuttle. For over 70 years, Downey's Rockwell NASA plant produced and tested many of the 20th century's greatest aviation, missile, and space endeavors. By the early 1970s, the facilities encompassed some 1,700,000 square feet (160,000 m2) of enclosed area over more than 200 acres. But, by the post-Cold War 1990s, Downey was brutally hit by cutbacks in the defense budget. Rockwell International, who once had over 30,000 employees, had less than 5,000 in 1992. The seventy year history of airplane and space vehicle manufacturing in Downey came to an end when the Rockwell plant closed in 1999. The former Rockwell plant has been converted to the Downey Landing shopping complex, a Kaiser Permanente hospital, a park, a space museum and Downey Studios." Wikipedia

Above: North American Rockwell's (now Boeing's) original space shuttle mockup as it looked after its debut in 1972. (Boeing/Aaron Harvey)

ALF President Jerry Blackburn (left) at Fox News, Los Angeles, to commentate on the return of the Space Shuttle Endeavour to the Los Angeles area. ALF Director Stan Barauskas (right) in L.A. Times story, click picture.

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Mark these dates....

ALF General Membership Meetings

January 31, 2015*
March 21, 2015
May 16, 2015
Program: "War of the Worlds- A Brief History of the Martian Invasion"
July -- Dark
September 19, 2015
November 21, 2015

All meetings will be held at the CMSC in the downstairs community room from 1:00pm to 3:00pm

ALF Board of Directors Meetings

February 14, 2015
April 18, 2015
June 20, 2015
August 22, 2015
October 17, 2015
December 19, 2015

ALF In The News
The Legacy- The quick version of the Downey NASA Site story.

The Downey Aviator Spring 2014 New Issue

Downey Aviator- March 2013

The Promenade at Downey (Tierra Luna)

The Downey Civic Center Plan and History of that area
(The Downey Arch)

A Visit to The Downey Space Plant
, Birthplace of the Space Shuttle and Apollo
Video interview with Jerry Blackburn giving an overview of the Downey NASA Site's history.

Jerry Blackburn ABC News 7 Los Angeles- Interview video
About the demolition at Downey Studios (former NASA site) and reminiscing about working at the plant.

Wall Street Journal interview with Jerry Blackburn video
( 9/21/2012 12:29:32 AM3:44)
Downey NASA Site (Downey Studios) story with ALF's Jerry Blackburn.

The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston:
Interview with Gerald Blackburn, Aerospace Legacy Foundation

ALF Newsletters- The Downey Aviator

Pioneers In Aviation: The Race To The Moon
- Sponsored by ALF

North American Aviation History

The Early History of Building 290

MOA on NASA Site (Downey Studios/ Boeing)

"Space shuttle Endeavour Remembered"
Former Endeavour engineers reminisce about the legacy of the last space shuttle ever built.

L.A. Times Article with Jerry Blackburn and Stan Barauskas, ALF Directors.
Edmond John Dowd (11/22/21 - 2/24/11)

Enter and Explore  The  Aerospace Legacy Foundation 


Below: Aerial view of Downey facing west from the Rio San Gabriel River (New River). The Downey NASA Industrial Site
(Vultee Aircraft in this picture) is pictured under camouflage on the upper left with runway visible.

Visit our friends and partners below

Downey Historical Society
The Downey History Center 12540 Rives Ave Downey CA 90242
Phone for more info:

Kaiser Permanente
Visit Kaiser- Click Here
Health and Wellness

Visit us on Facebook!

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For current information on the former Downey Studios/ Boeing property
Click the link below to see the PDF about an exciting new development for Downey,
The Promenade At Downey

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