Lockheed Factory Burbank 1942

Illustration for article titled Lockheed Factory Burbank 1942

Just ran across this photo in my archives. it’s a picture taken during shift change at the original Lockheed Aircraft facility in Burbank. The location is near, but not on, the current Burbank (BUR) Airport property. The aircraft production line was in a set of buildings (they famously had camo “fake farms” on the roof during most of WWII to conceal the nature of the factory) at the intersection of Empire, San Fernando Road and the main Southern Pacific (now UP) line that ran from DTLA up to the Newhall Pass. The Metrolink AV line still runs up this alignment.

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I find the photo interesting because (this was decades before I-5 got built) most of the road landmarks like SF Road and Empire are still there meeting at the RR crossing... yet the nature of the site itself is completely different. Even the park and Burbank High School are still there in those locations. However, Lockheed is long gone and the factory site re-developed into “retail”. From where the camera sits, there is now an Outback Steakhouse and Olive Garden, with a nice REI Store sitting just behind where the photographer would have been. Strange to think that P-38s flowed out of the factory then, but largely the aircraft manufacturing has long since flown the coop from LA to Palmdale and Texas.

So, it’s weird to see this spot of LA just as the war was ramping up, LA was booming with men and women riveting Army Air Corp planes together by the thousands. A moment captured in time.

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BTW, this was known to the locals as “Turkey Crossing” for decades, due to a road accident at the tracks many years ago-- involving farmers hauling turkeys to market.  LA was a different place back then.

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