Rohr Aircraft Memories - Chula Vista
Rohr Aircraft Memories
a website for Rohr Retirees and Former Employees
Welcome to the "Rohr Aircraft Memories" website. This website project was started in the spring of 2006. The purpose of this website was to collect memories, stories, photographs and history from those that worked at Rohr Aircraft (Rohr Industries, Inc.) in Riverside, California, but it has quickly expanded to include all Rohr plants. Rohr, Inc. was acquired by The BF Goodrich Company in December of 1997. It later merged with UTC and Collins Aerospace. This website project came about from an interest in reconnecting former Rohr employees with each other. The resulting collection of interviews and information are reflections of those who worked at Rohr Chula Vista.
CHULA VISTA HISTORY
With Fred Rohr's experience as a factory manager and developing a punch-and-die "drop hammer" system at Solar Aircraft Company, working as a sheet metal engineer at Boeing, and working at Ryan Aircraft in San Diego, Rohr started his own company, Rohr Aircraft Company, August 6, 1940.
Rohr and two former engineers from Ryan Aircraft started the company out his garage. Their first contract was with Consolidated Aircraft Corporation building Sperry bombsights, and then one for building cowlings for Lockheed. This new business soon had to get new factory space - a 37,500 square foot building.
The Market Street project, a Federal housing project, opened in 1942 to house 500 families, workers at Solar and Rohr. The one story homes were demountable, and made of a pre-fabricated plywood type of material (Consolidator, February 1942).
By the 1950's employment at Rohr had grown faster than recreation in the Chula Vista area so the Company purchased 23 acres of land in Bonita Valley and then leased it to the Rohr Employees Recreational Club. The property included the main club house, a pool, small buildings, and picnic grounds. Employees paid $1 per month for use of these facilities. However in the early 1960's employment at Rohr and club membership had both dropped. The community also now had beach access, new golf clubs, parks and picnic areas that employees took advantage of. The property was sold to the City of Chula Vista but Rohr still operated the Recreational Club providing athletic and picnic equipment, golf, bowling, and fishing activities for their employees. European tours were also arranged including their last which was an air safari to Africa in February of 1969 (Austin, 1969, p. 76-77).
In 1952, Rohr Aircraft purchased and occupied the Eagle's Hall building in Chula Vista. The building's interior space was modified to accommodate small offices and partitions. The west facade was covered with heavy stucco and wrought iron light fixtures were added (McMillan, 2011).
In October of 1957, the Company purchased the buildings south H Street, that they were leasing, for $1,075,000 (Austin, 1969, p. 77).
Rohr's Rail Transit Division included a 137,000 square foot rail transit assembly building in Chula Vista (Rohr Industries, Inc.).
By 1958, Rohr Chula Vista employed "more than 10,000 men and women" and the city of Chula Vista had grown to a population of 35,555 residents (Malloy 1958).
In 2007 the Port of San Diego began the final phase of demolishing the remaining 15 buildings that were once owned by Rohr. The site was being redeveloped for a hotel and convention center (The San Diego Union Review, 2007).
YOUR STORIES & PHOTOS
Do you have a story or photograph to share? Is their someone special that you would like to see included on the website? We are looking for people who worked for Rohr or others who have Rohr stories to share. Tell us about what the life and times were like back then, what you remember from the past. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name, address and phone number in case we have any questions. And please provide any information that you have on the photograph, i.e.: names of people in the photo, approximate date photograph was taken, where it was taken, what the people were doing, what was going on in the picture, and more.
Guard and visitor at Rohr Chula Vista, Sept. 17, 1952 (Click to enlarge and see more detail.)
Click on plant name below to visit that Rohr Memories site:
- Brown Field
- Chula Vista
- Heber Springs
- Los Angeles
- Moreno Valley
- San Marcos
- Credit Union
The Rohr Aircraft Memories website is owned by Sue Poole.
Opinions expressed on these pages are not necessarily those of the site owner.
All content is ©2006-2021 Sue Poole unless otherwise credited or a vintage reprint.
Last updated: 07-09-2021