World War II Glider and Military Museum

Location: Iron Mountain, Michigan

Webpage: Museum

General Description: As the iron mining industry was winding down in the 1920s, Henry Ford brought new life to the region with the purchase of 313,000 acres of timberland for logging.  His goal was to create a self-sufficient automobile manufacturing plant in the new town of Rockford, Michigan.  Along with a massive automobile plant producing the Woody Wagon, Ford constructed a massive sawmill complex and hydroelectric plant to provide the framework, floorboards, panels, and wheels for the Woody.  A sideline of the sawmill was the development of charcoal briquets from the sawdust that led to the formation of Kingsford Charcoal.  Like many industries, the Ford Motor Plant and sawmill retooled for war production during World War II.  Instead of building cars, the plant produced Model CG-4A gliders.  By the end of the war they had produced 4,190 gliders, which was more than all the other manufacturers combined and at much lower cost.  The primary use of the gliders during the war was to provide a silent delivery of men and materials behind enemy lines at night.  Consequently they were a single use aircraft and often salvaged for parts once landed.  The gliders were used in most of the theaters of war including Italy, China, Normandy, Southern France, Germany, and the Philippines.

Brochure

Impressions:

1) The main attraction of the museum is a restored Model CG-4A glider, one of seven that have been restored.  The exhibits include displays of building material and construction techniques.  You can also look inside the glider to get a real sense of the spartan conditions on the inside.

2) In addition to the glider, the museum also a restored World War II vintage Jeep, a 1930’s Model AA Ford dump truck and a Model A Ford Tudor sedan.

Woody