March 30

Bell Bomber Plant

March 30, 1942 - Marietta

The Bell Bomber plant transformed Marietta—and helped the Allies win World War II. On this day in 1942, construction began on the Bell Aircraft Corporation plant that built more than 600 B-29s during the war.

The Roosevelt administration wanted to build aircraft away from the coast, and Atlanta was a prime location. Cobb County boosters lobbied heavily for Marietta, and they had help from General Lucius Clay, the son of former U.S. Senator Alexander Stephens Clay from Marietta. He was overseeing the construction of hundreds of airfields nationwide, including Rickenbacker Field in Marietta.

The federal government pumped $73 million into the plant that employed more than 28,000 locals at its peak and covered 4.2 million square feet, the largest such facility ever built in the Deep South. Rickenbacker Field became Dobbins Air Force Base in 1950, and a year later Bell Bomber became the home of Lockheed-Georgia.

Construction began on the plant that symbolized the industrial modern South on March 30, 1942, Today in Georgia History.