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This Day in Georgia History

February 19, 1942

Bell Bomber Plant Announced

To view an image of the interior of the plant, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

In Washington D.C., the U.S. War Department announced that a $15 million Bell Bomber plant would be built in Marietta, Ga. A month earlier, Bell Aircraft Corporation counsel William J. O’Connor had announced that Marietta was the company’s preferred location. The Marietta site was adjacent to Rickenbacker Field – an air strip which Cobb County and the Civil Aeronautics Administration had begun building in June 1941. Local politicians named the field in honor of World War I aviator and Eastern Airlines President Eddie Rickenbacker. Marietta seemed to be an ideal site for the bomber plant due to the availability of the air field and proximity to Atlanta. U.S. 41 was then being constructed near the site, and a trolley line from Marietta to Atlanta would help bring in workers. The February 19 announcement added that Atlanta would furnish the plant with water. (On August 8, 1942 the army would complete a 20-inch water main from Atlanta to Marietta for the exclusive use of the Bell Bomber plant.) In time Bell would employ nearly 29,000 workers and produce over 660 B-29 bombers. [Contributed by Dr. Tom Scott, Kennesaw State University]