Structure Type: built works - industrial buildings - factories

Designers: Curlett and Beelman, Architects (firm); Claud W. Beelman (architect); Alexander Edward Curlett (architect)

Dates: constructed 1927-1928

2 stories, total floor area: 963,682 sq. ft.

2525 Firestone Boulevard
South Gate, CA 90280-2631

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Building History

Firestone Tire and Rubber Company's founder, Harvey S. Firestone (1868-1938), officially opened this factory in late 1928, although construction was actually completed on 06/15/1928; Firestone was headquartered in Akron, OH, but operated the South Gate plant to produce tires between 3.5-18 inches in diameter; (tires larger than 18 inches were produced in Akron.) In addition to these manufacturing plants, Firestone also had facilities in Liberia and Singapore to produce raw rubber for export. In 1936, General Motors built one of its automobile assembly plants here, providing the City of South Gate with a sizable tax base.

Writing in Los Angeles Magazine, historian Chris Nichols said of the Firestone Factory: "The tiny community southeast of Downtown was mostly agriculture at the time and Firestone found 40 acres of beanfield to house his new manufacturing plant. Architects Curlett and Beelman created a spectacular four-story Italianate complex, with its own power plant and gorgeous polychrome murals by Gladding McBean depicting the tire and rubber-making process. A year after the plant opened in 1928 it doubled in size. By 1954, when they added the Corporal guided missile to their offerings, the plant was nearly a million square feet. The town grew around Firestone, they named the main boulevard through town after Harvey, and Los Angeles became the number one tire market in the country." (See Chris Nichols, Los Angeles Magazine.com, "DispL.A. Case #52: L.A.’s First Firestone Tire," published 03/01/2013, accessed 10/01/2018.)

Building Notes

The South Gate Firestone complex occupied 40 acres, including the factory, administration building and a power plant.

Alteration

Three large additions were made to the factory during the 1920s-1940s, giving the plant 963,682 square feet by World War II.

PCAD id: 14133