Apr 302011
 

The former Bell Aerospace building in Niagara Falls, NY, still wears the name. Now faded, it shows what must have once been a proud facade.

 Posted by at 5:51 am
  • Huron

    If you’re in the area: http://www.buffalonavalpark.org/

  • Deep Beam

    My father worked there for 25 years starting in the late 60s. When he started he used to lie awake at night listening to them testing the ascent engine for the LM from 20 miles away. Later I saw the Bell air cushion vehicles demo’d there, and then many many air shows at the airport. Just missed the Blue Angels crash by 1 day. This was a place with a lot of history that had sadly been passed by, which is the legacy of Western New York.

  • Our tour guide said they built 12,000 fighters in that plant during WWII, averaging one per hour.

    Off the picture to the left is the cross-shaped pit where a B-29 would roll over the X-planes to load up and ferry them to California.

    The pit, now filled in and overgrown with weeds: http://www.flickr.com/photos/beamjockey/250209445/in/photostream/

    Side of the building, as seen from the pit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/beamjockey/250209452/in/photostream/

    Map:
    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=longitude+-78.93481443694952,+latitude+43.10255655907328,0&aq=&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=45.063105,83.935547&ie=UTF8&ll=43.102518,-78.934826&spn=0.001275,0.002562&t=h&z=19

    If you have Google Earth, dial back the clock “Show historical imagery” slider to April 19, 2006, which offers the clearest view of the pit.

  • Ken R

    Well, that’s a better fate than the North American plant in Downey where the Apollo CSMs were made… its a movie studio now. One of my assistants is a 75 year old guy who worked for North American ( later Rockwell ) on the Navaho, Hound Dog, Apollo, and GPS projects. ( among others ). He was a test and inspection technician.

    We had a job in the area and took a side trip once… drove around the facility and he pointed out what used to be in the buildings. That was interesting.

    The little episode where the fellows pulling an oxygen tank out of a service module bumped it a bit? Damaged the insulation just a tad? Became a major concern in April 1970? He was there when it happened.

  • Seb

    Wow, I had no idea that these buildings still stood today. Have they been abandoned since or is there something going on in there?

    • Anonymous

      They are still owned and maintained, and as can be seen by the presence of cars, there’s still something going on in ’em. Not, however, much.

      • Seb

        Could it be the warehouse for the Niagara Falls Aerospace Museum? As a Bell employee and aficionado, I must say that this intrigues me.

        • Anonymous

          > Could it be the warehouse for the Niagara Falls Aerospace Museum?

          Yes. A year ago at least part of the museum’s stuff was stored there… somewhere. I’m out of the loop on what’s happened since then.

          • Ben

            Quite a few businesses still operate out of that space. The company I work for leased a good chunk of it from 1996 – 2010. We designed and built automated plating lines there until we moved into another location nearby. Last time I was in the building (late 2015), much of the space was used warehousing plastic molded kayaks. I mean literally tens of thousands. Other businesses include machine shops, I think a heat exchanger manufacturer moved in after we left, and there is still an aerospace company that operates out of the building – Lockheed Martin has a modest machine shop on the back side.
            That said, a good 1/3 of the total space is dilapidated. Most of the old manufacturing and hanger space has active businesses. But the engineering, administration, living spaces, medical clinic, laboratories, etc. are all in total disrepair.

  • Www Mountainclimber38

    just started working here in a fab shop. old militay planes and helicopters r stored here and some r being restored. there r about 10 buisness that operate out of here. i took a self tour and found lots of old office stalls and even a blueprint of a wing for an airplane. it looks like there is alot of asbestos in the buildng. it still is a very impressive building onsiering the hisory of thi great building

  • Mert

    Worked here 1958 to 1964. Bell was fading, so I went to CA and worked at JPL for 31 years. A good move!

  • ftmrcknrll

    my dad also worked there. started in the early 60’s. retired from there in the early 90’s. we lived right down the boulevard from there. he loved that place. loved working in the white room.