Meeting Ford's Requirements for a Plant Site

Aside from the then unknown subsidence factor, the Long Beach site offered Ford just about all it could ask for in locating a branch plant. As for water, Long Beach had plenty. Between water brought south from the Owens River Valley, east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and that scheduled to be brought over to southern California after constructing dams on the Colorado River, the water supply appeared to be unending. In 1928 the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California was formally organized and ultimately joined by cities such as Long Beach. The District plans were so well laid that even as of 1991 the huge megalopolis of the south still functions well on that supply. Incoming power was also plentiful. An Edison Power Plant lay just across Terminal Island from the selected site. Further, as Ford must have known in 1926 when it bought the land, power generated at the Colorado Hoover Dam would soon be available, and it in fact came through to Long Beach in October 1936.

As for construction materials, we have only partial documentation on their sources, but Long Beach had its own brick yards. Limestone deposits are common in California, and a major natural deposit was early developed in Orange County just to the south of Long Beach. There would be no need for Ford to ship this from the east. Two steel makers dominated the California market in 1923: Bethlehem and Columbia. In 1926 the Pacific Steel Company announced that it would establish a plant at Long Beach. Bethlehem bought out Columbia and its facilities at Torrance in 1929. Steel, too, was available. Local labor and construction workers from the state at large could be called on. The constant flow of population into California provided labor not only for jobs such as factory construction but for greater projects such as Shasta Dam and Boulder (Hoover) Dam on the Colorado River. The construction labor pool in those years was mobile and plentiful.