I was doing research for my latest film project and I came across something that sparked a walk down memory lane, thus momentarily crossing both my work in film and model railroading.
As a young boy living in Los Angeles, I remember a place that we would pass when my mom would drive us downtown or when we would visit friends on the Westside.
There were quite a few places in Southern California that inspired my interest in model railroading. Major rail yards, rail corridors, major manufacturing, refineries, and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. One of the major locations was the Goodyear Plant, just south of downtown.
If you’re a native LA or have lived in the LA area for a long while and you are over forty, then you probably remember the huge Goodyear plant that was in South Central. It was located on Central Avenue, bordered by Florence Avenue to the south and Gage Avenue to the north.
During my childhood years, I remember the huge, sprawling facility that had a gigantic blimp hanger on the Florence side. Rail service to the plant was from the Gage Avenue side, I do believe.
Construction started in 1919, the plant opened in 1920 and the last building was completed in 1969. Along with Goodyear and three other major rubber companies made LA the second greatest rubber manufacturing center in the United States. By 1941, the Goodyear-California plant was manufacturing 15,000 tires daily and employed between 1500 to 2500 workers.
In February 1979 the Goodyear-California Complex was closed following an extended period of financial difficulty.
The facility was used as a location for a few motion pictures and television shows, including John Badham’s Blue Thunder (1983)
Goodyear-California was eventually torn down in the mid-eighties and a huge business complex, which includes a postal facility, was built on the property.
Link to info about Goodyear Los Angeles https://www.loc.gov/item/ca1293/