Built in 1930, the Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant was the largest assembly plant to be built on the West Coast. Measuring nearly 500,000 square feet, the factory was a critical development of Richmond’s inner harbor and port plan and a major stimulant to the local economy. Overnight, Ford became Richmond’s third-largest employer behind Standard Oil and the Santa Fe Railroad.
Designed with multiple operable windows throughout the plant, the factory is an iconic example of 20th-century industrial architecture. It was designed by architect Albert Kahn, who was famous for his ‘daylight factory’ designs.
During WWII, President Roosevelt banned the production of civilian automobiles, and the Ford Assembly Plant pivoted to assembling jeeps, tanks, armored personnel carriers, armored cars, and other military vehicles. With such a high volume of military combat vehicles coming out of the Ford Plant, the factory became known as the ‘Richmond Tank Depot.’
After the war, the Ford Plant continued to assemble cars until the plant closed in 1956. Today, the Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant is part of the National Park Service’s Rosie the Riveter World War II – Home Front National Historical Park and neighbor to the Richmond ferry terminal.