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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SUMMER IN ITALY, 1951

B-25: 1942

B-25: 1942

October 1942. "A new B-25 bomber is brought for a test hop to the flight line at the Kansas City, Kansas, plant of North American Aviation." 4x5 Kodachrome transparency by Alfred Palmer, Office of War Information. View full size.

 

Ahh, Kodachrome

I'm always so jealous when I see you've posted something from Kodachrome. That transparency probably looks as good as the day it was processed. What I'd give to be able to get some of the stuff for my 4x5. I'll just have to use up the two rolls of 25 speed I have before the end of next year.

Aircraft Tug

With all due respect to the B-25s, the real hero of this image is the innocuous little yellow aircraft tug. To this day, tugs like this are a fixture on civilian and military airfields, as well as on aircraft carriers. Its basic design has hardly changed for over 70 years and counting.

For the record ...

I did some more reading and the Darby facilities were apparently in the West Bottoms industrial district "south" of the Fairfax plant, where the Kaw River (Kansas River) joins the Missouri River, and not to the west of Fairfax.

One of the Fairfax B-25s returned to KC a couple of weeks ago for an airshow at the Downtown Airport, across the river from Fairfax. One of the WASP ferry pilots showed up for a ride.

http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/story/1398087.html

Kansas, not California?

The photo was more likely taken at the North American/Army aviation plant in Kansas City, KS (Fairfax) - not Long Beach as the caption says. The white horizontal strip in the background is a graveled levee along the Missouri River.

The photo is probably taken near the old B-25 plant (NW of Fairfax Airport) with the plant to your left and looking north at the levee.

The Fairfax B-25 plant was demolished years ago and the Fairfax airport closed and re-developed into a GM auto plant. Parts of this concrete apron are still there though.

Darby Steel was busy building most of the LCTs to be used in WW2 just to the west of the Fairfax B-25 plant. KCK was a busy place in 1942.

[Original LOC caption for this photo: "A fast, hard-hitting new A-20 attack bomber is brought for a test hop to the flight line at the Long Beach, Calif., plant of Douglas Aircraft Company." Evidently someone got their planes (and factories) confused. - Dave]

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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