While visiting in the South Bay recently, several family members were surprised at how much the area has grown in recent years. This started a conversation about what caused the South Bay to explode with people, businesses, homes, malls and employment centers. Most of us forget that Aerospace and Aircraft Manufacturing is what made the South Bay communities boom from the 1940s all the way up to the 1970s and 1980s. Companies like North American Aircraft, Lockheed, Northrup, Grumann, Douglas Aircraft, North American Aviation, Rocketdyne, Air Research all came here and hired thousands upon thousands of loyal, educated employees who then bought South Bay homes, cars, built the schools, and raised their families in the South Bay.
When the Aerospace era began in the late 50s, companies like Aerospace Corp., TRW, Xerox Corp., Hughes Corp., Teledyne and many others took their place along side of the older Aircraft Manufacturing plants of World War II and together they lead the nation and the world into into a whole new frontier called outer space and started by heeding the challenge of a young president and put the first man on the moon.
Cities like Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Hermosa Beach and others were all rural and desolated areas with few homes, trees, streets and businesses. Soon new schools were being built, new shopping centers, medical facilities, hospitals, colleges, churches, restaurants, theatres, beach facilities and all the nice amenities and conveniences that we take for granted today. I don’t think that there is one family still living in the South Bay today, that doesn’t have a relative, or know somebody who worked in the Aircraft and Aerospace Industry in Hawthorne, Manhattan Beach, El Segundo, Redondo Beach, the L.A. strip, between the 1940s and the 1980s. Talk about great memories! Aircraft Manufacturing and Aerospace certainly changed the lives of thousands of people and the way they lived.