Rohr Aircraft Memories -- Riverside
a website for Rohr Retirees and Former Employees
Welcome to the Rohr Aircraft Memories website. This website was a project, that came about from an interest in reconnecting former Rohr employees with each other, 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 (Goodrich Corporation), and then subsequently UTC and Collins Aerospace.
Riverside was "predominately a retirement and agricultural area, and surrounding the city were some of the finest citrus groves in the state (Austin, 1969, p. 59).
Rohr Riverside opened in 1952 and was located at 8200 Arlington Avenue in Riverside, California, on the west side of Arlington Avenue. This second Rohr plant placed greater emphasis on design and engineering, research, and diversity of products. New customers were also added (Austin. 1958. “18 - and Still Growing: New Orders and Expanded Facilities Send Year’s Sales to Record Total”).
Rohr purchased 80 acres of land that had previously been part of a 20,000 acre property owned by Willits J. Hole which was originally the Rancho La Sierra Sepulveda. Specifically it was the "D" Ranch where beans, alfalfa, figs, oats and barley were raised. Rohr's office and warehouse building was originally a temporary wooden building of Camp Anza's army training camp during World War II at that location also. (Pruett, 1973; Austin, 1969).
Rohr broke ground on their new building in July of 1952. City, county and chamber of commerce officials were invited. A luncheon at the Mission Inn was held where Rohr executives shared with Riverside residents information about their moderate sized plant. Rafter-high tumbleweeds had to be removed, and the wheat crop had to be harvested bringing in the first income of $90. Six months later "the first Riverside made power packages" were shipped to Boeing in Seattle (Austin, 1969; Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, September 1982).
In January of 1955 the union called a strike which lasted 6 weeks (Austin, 1969).
The July-August, 1958 issue of Rohr Magazine stated that Rohr Riverside "specializes in adhesive bonding of aluminum and magnesium" and employed 4,400 on 82 acres. Metal bonding facilities increased due to increasing demand for stainless steel honeycomb. New facilities included "two three-tier autoclaves" "equipped with automatic recording and programming controls and services by an automatic loader," and a "separate building for bonding operations" (Austin. 1958. “18 - and Still Growing: New Orders and Expanded Facilities Send Year’s Sales to Record Total”).
Rohr Riverside "established a reputation for leadership in the field of adhesive bonding of metals" (Austin. 1960. “Out of the Celery Fields: A New Concept Creates an Industry”). Aluminum honeycomb was produced in large volume at the Riverside plant for the Boeing 707, KC-135 and B-52 (Barron's, 1960, p. 35).
The Arlanza area was annexed to Riverside in 1961 (Patterson, 1964).
The Hall of Giants building, home of the Space Products Division, was completed in 1964. The building is 7 stories in height with a single floor. The tall building accommodates large machines and products that are built there (Houser, Summer 1965, p. 17).
In 1966, Rohr Riveside added a modern cafeteria, plant security offices, and a 12,000 square foot addition to the metal bonding facility. By the end of the fiscal year, employment was at the 2,669 mark (Rohr Corporation 1967 Annual Report, p. 22).
In 1967, Rohr Riverside added 79,000 square feet to allow enlargement of the adhesive bonding facilities needed for the aircraft programs (Rohr Corporation 1967 Annual Report, p. 20).
Due to the success of the Antenna Division, Rohr Riverside designs, builds and puts into operation "a numerically controlled filament winding machine" to manufacture "fuel containers and rocket engine case for space vehicles" among other fiberglass products (Austin, 1969, p. 90).
The Space Products Division was established at Rohr Riverside. It was equipped with autoclaves, large hydroclaves, curing ovens, and giant turning machines to produce rocket nozzles. This division was housed in the Hall of Giants, a 7 story one floor building which was completed in 1964 (Austin, 1969, p. 91).
In the 1970s the hardware for the Grumman F-14 Tomcat fighter was assembled at Rohr Riverside (Goodrich, 2004).
"Throughout 1975, production of rocket motor components for the Titan III continued at both" Chula Vista and Riverside plants (Rohr, 1975, p. 6).
In 1981 Rohr Riverside began a $12 million modernization program, upgrading existing buildings and constucting new facilities, including rebuilding 5 autoclaves, a 60,000 square foot tooling building, a high-bay facility, a new receiving building, a new 36,000 square foot shipping building, a new inspection area, and refurbishing buildings 2 and 5 (Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, September 1982).
Rohr Riverside occupied "1,182,000 square feet of manufacturing space on 76 acres adjacent to the Riverside Municipal Airport" and included offices, warehouses and research and testing (International Power Technology, 2010; Rohr, p. 51).
Do you have a story 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. Email Sue at email@example.com.
Do you have photographs of people or events from Rohr? We would love to include them in our website. Please email them (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please 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 photo was taken, where it was taken, what the people were doing, what was going on in the picture, and more.
Austin, Edward T., ed. 1958. “18 - and Still Growing: New Orders and Expanded Facilities Send Year’s Sales to Record Total.” Rohr Magazine 8, no. 11: 3–6.
Austin, Edward T., ed. 1960. “Out of the Celery Fields: A New Concept Creates an Industry.” Rohr Magazine 10, no. 6: 3–9.
Houser, S. B. Summer 1965. “25 Years of Growth: Meeting Industry Demands Is Constant Challenge.” Rohr Magazine 15, no. 2: 16–19.
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Last updated: 01-07-2022
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