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Rohr Winder, Georgia
Major leased facility
Written and compiled by Sue Poole
During 1954 Rohr was awarded a large contract for the Lockheed propjet C-130 Hercules, a military transport. Lockheed though was not interested in shipping its engines from Pratt & Whitney in Connecticut to Rohr in California and then back to the Lockheed factory in Marietta, Georgia. "To reduce shipping costs and provide better service to Lockheed, Rohr set up" it's third plant in Winder, Barrow County, Georgia "to perform final build-up on Rohr products" (Rohr News, July 1972). Winder is 35 miles from Marietta, Georgia where the engines were assembled (International Directory of Company Histories, 1994). Other sources state that the distance is actually around 57 to 73 miles depending on the route taken; the flight distance from Marietta to Winder is 48 miles and the driving distance with current roadways is 55 miles. Rohr began operations in leased buildings in 1954 until late 1962 when a new plant was completed in December (Austin, 1969, p. 71).
The Winder facility, which was adjacent to the Marietta Lockheed plant, was leased to Rohr (Barron's, 1957, p. 36).
A short and festive dedication ceremony was held, in the empty factory, that included Fred Rohr, Senator Russell, Congressman Landrum, and Mayor Rutledge. In anticipation of the dinner and reception, however, the actual formal dedication was overlooked (Austin, 1969, p. 72).
N. M. Zodrow was Manager of Rohr's Winder plant (Austin, 1969, p. 69).
Rohr began operating in Winder in 1955, and then in 1957 moved to a new plant on U.S. Highway 29.
In December 1962, a new plant was completed than included a 72,000 square foot factory for assembly of Lockheeds C-130 and C-141 jet engine pods and other components, as well as 6,000 square feet of office space. (Austin, 1969, p. 71; Rohr Corporation 1962 Annual Report, p. 16).
In 1967, the Rohr Winder plant employment numbers increased from 166 to 212 (Rohr Corporate 1967 Annual Report, p. 20).
By 1969 the Winder plant had grown to 124,538 square feet (Austin, 1969, p. 75).
On June 22, 1972, Rohr was awarded "a $91.6 million contract for production of 300 rapid transit cars," "authorized by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority" (Rohr News, July 1972).
In the mid-1970s the Winder plant was converted from a nacelle factory to a transit vehicle assembly. It engineered and built the Washington Metro Light Rail system. Rohr had the contract to build 300 aluminum rapid transit cars at their 126,000 square foot rail transit assembly building (Goodrich, 2004; Vann, 2009; Rohr Industries, Inc.).
By 1975, the Winder plant was employing more than 200 people. According to the company this facility was one of three specifically established to improve employment opportunities for those with unusual job handicaps" (Rohr, 1975, page 14).
The plant was later renamed Winder Transportation Company.
Rohr, Inc. 1975 Annual Report.
"18 - and Still Growing: New Orders and Expanded Facilities Send Year’s Sales to Record Total.” 1958. Rohr Magazine 8, no. 11: 3–6.
More Rohr Winder Photographs
The webpages below are linked to photographs on the Digital Library of Georgia's website from the Vanishing Georgia collection.
Stell Photo Service. (Photographer). (1955). Photograph of the interior of the Rohr Aircraft Corporation plant, Winder, Barrow County, Georgia, ca. 1955? [Web]. Retrieved from http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/vang/id:brw155
Stell Photo Service. (Photographer). (1970-1979). Photograph of the interior of the Rohr Aircraft Corporation plant, Winder, Barrow County, Georgia, 197-. [Web]. Retrieved from http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/vang/id:brw156
Stell Photo Service. (Photographer). (1955). Photograph of a power package for an airplane, Winder, Barrow County, Georgia, ca. 1955. [Web]. Retrieved from http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/vang/id:brw158
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Last updated: 11-24-2021