The Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant was the largest assembly plant to be built on the West Coast. One of only three tank depots in the entire country, approximately 49,000 jeeps were assembled and 91,000 other military vehicles were processed here. Ford employed thousands of workers at the site during World War II, many of them women who were entering the work force for the first time. "Rosie the Riveter" was a period song representing these women.
In mobilizing the wartime production effort to its full potential, Federal military authorities and private industry began to work closely together on a scale never seen before in American history. This laid the groundwork for what became known as the "military-industrial complex" during the Cold War years.
Noted architect Albert Kahn is credited with the design of the Ford plant in Richmond. After World War II, Ford moved its Northern California factory to Milpitas, where it became known as the San Jose Assembly Plant.
In 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake severely damaged the plant. At the present time, the City of Richmond has repaired and prepared the Ford Assembly building for rehabilitation. A developer has been selected and portions of the building will soon be accessible to the public. Upon completion of the rehabilitation, the Visitor Center for Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park will relocate into this building.