By Roger Mason
October 7, 1929 marked the date
when Glenn L. Martin opened his brand new aircraft manufacturing facility in the
small suburb of Middle River, Maryland, just
outside Baltimore. Designed by Philip Small of Cleveland, "A" Building was considered
to be the most modern aircraft plant in the country at that time. During the
one-year construction period, Martin employees worked on the XT5M-1 prototype at a
leased brown sugar warehouse in Canton. By 1942, Martin added three additions to
the plant, three more separate facilities, an airport with terminal building and
six hangars. Employment had reached a colossal 53,000 working around the
clock churning out B-26 Marauders and PBM Mariners. Seventy-five years later,
Lockheed Martin celebrated its long history and
bright future in the Baltimore community by
holding a weeklong list of events and activities,
held on October 4-8, 2004, for its 600 current employees.
On Monday, a special movie presentation was made and the
main auditorium (where the Speaker Series is conducted) was transformed into a
movie theater, complete with floor lighting,
curtains, old style movie posters and popcorn
popped in authentic machines. The movies consisted of old Martin archival footage and
newly generated material.
Tuesday's activity was highlighted by
the visit of two distinguished speakers, Drs. Jack Breihan, history professor at Loyola and
Tom Jones, famed shuttle astronaut. Both men gave informative and colorful talks: Jack spoke
about the Martin move to Baltimore, the migration
of workers, housing, as well as the architecture of the plant; Tom spoke about his
childhood memories of Martin, his drive to become
an Air Force pilot and finally, shuttle mission specialist. During Jones' presentation,
real astronaut ice cream was given out to the spectators.
An intramural softball game
between Lockheed Martin and MRAS was held on Wednesday. There was plenty of fun on
hand with a visit by the Oriole Bird and ex-Oriole
Curt Motton, as well as free hotdogs and soda to
all who attended. During the national anthem, two A-10s took off, banking sharply overhead.
A highlight was a check presentation ceremony to the Martin Museum in the amount of
$7500. On behalf of the Museum, Gil Pascal was present to thankfully accept the check from
Larry Hetzel, Director of Launching Systems at LM.
Thursday, the actual anniversary date
of Martin's new Baltimore plant opening, was remarkably enjoyable. A special catered
luncheon was offered to all 600 employees, 50 VIPs and 75 retirees. The VIPs consisted of
state and local officials and Lockheed Martin corporate guests. In addition, two essay
winners were invited to read their work to all invitees,
which brought some to tears. A special
booklet depicting the Middle River history was
also given out. During the entire week, a Museum exhibit was set up and enlightened all
who visited. There was even an old desk with a smiling Glenn L. sitting and enjoying Big
Band music, ready to greet the visitors.
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