When aerospace was king

Hard to believe now, but the biggest industry in the Los Angeles area used to be aircraft and rocket manufacturers and the smaller firms that supported them. Places like Santa Monica, Downey, Long Beach and Burbank were dominated by large plants — the photo shows a shift change at Lockheed Vega in Burbank in 1943, with war workers pouring across Hollywood Way. This Friday and Saturday, a conference called "Rocket Science and Region: The Rise, Fall, and Rise of the Aerospace Industry in Southern California" is being held at the Huntington Library. Industry pioneers, including Thomas V. Jones of Northrop Grumman and Allen Puckett of Hughes, will speak and authors D.J. Waldie and M.G. Lord will talk about the long shadow of aerospace in Cold War SoCal. This morning at 11:30, Waldie and Bill Deverell, director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, will guest with Larry Mantle on KPCC (89.3 FM.)

Photo: San Fernando Valley History Digital Library, CSUN

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