Ford Long Beach Assembly Plant Site Selection

Commencing their search in 1923 Byron Graves as District Manager had seen a good number of sites when he talked to his old college friend, Lynn Ballard in March, 1924. Ballard had been Secretary of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, but in 1924 he was out of the Chamber and in business in Long Beach. Nonetheless, he listened as Graves reported to him that prices for land in Long Beach were too high, so Ballard turned the matter over to the industrial site committee of the Chamber. The committee chairman, Roy Myers, called Graves suggesting sites, but Graves had seen most of them and found them unsuitable. Myers then asked Graves about the Union Pacific sites, and Graves told him to go ahead and see what he could do. At this Myers got in touch with the City Manager, C.H. Windham and President Carl Gray of Union Pacific. These officials met Graves at his office, and there they began negotiations that would last over two years.

In fact, when the final land purchase papers were signed nearly all the original committee men had retired leaving successors in office. Roy Myers was still there, and he observed that Union Pacific was selling an industrial site to Ford below market value and in doing so was doing Long Beach a great favor. The site selected was the third one investigated among the Union Pacific harbor terminal lands. The first Ford looked at was located on the ocean side of the channel, the second to the west of the present site. The one chosen lay east of Badger Avenue with all the waterfront right on the Long Beach Harbor.