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Old 08-29-2012, 11:45 PM   #1
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California Airstream factory location?

Hi, where was the California Airstream factory located? I believe that some say it was in Los Angeles and others say it was in Cerritos. My gardener said that he worked at the Airstream factory in Cerritos. I believe that I even heard that Airstream was located in Santa Fe Springs. I saw an Airstream tag that said 12804 E. Firestone Blvd. Norwalk, Ca. This now seems to be an El Monte RV rental storage lot. Did Airstream in California move around to several places or did some of the city limits change?
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Old 08-30-2012, 01:43 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, where was the California Airstream factory located? I believe that some say it was in Los Angeles and others say it was in Cerritos. My gardener said that he worked at the Airstream factory in Cerritos. I believe that I even heard that Airstream was located in Santa Fe Springs. I saw an Airstream tag that said 12804 E. Firestone Blvd. Norwalk, Ca. This now seems to be an El Monte RV rental storage lot. Did Airstream in California move around to several places or did some of the city limits change?
Hi Robert,

I've seen some model plates that list both Cerritos and Santa Fe Springs. It seems that I had an address at one point for the Cerritos factory. I'll see if I can find it. As I recall the Cerritos factors was located near the San Gabriel River (East Side) and just south of I-5 and the building has since been replaced by a modern concrete tilt-up industrial type building.

Cheers,
Rion
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:27 AM   #3
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:20 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, where was the California Airstream factory located? I believe that some say it was in Los Angeles and others say it was in Cerritos. My gardener said that he worked at the Airstream factory in Cerritos. I believe that I even heard that Airstream was located in Santa Fe Springs. I saw an Airstream tag that said 12804 E. Firestone Blvd. Norwalk, Ca. This now seems to be an El Monte RV rental storage lot. Did Airstream in California move around to several places or did some of the city limits change?
All depends on what year your asking about.

The last location was Cerritos. Prior to that it was Santa Fe Springs. They made that move in mid 1968.

Before that, was before my time, so I don't know.

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Old 08-30-2012, 07:24 AM   #5
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The answer to your question is both moved and city limits moved.

There were originally two or three locations in Los Angeles (one on Main St) before the move to the Firestone Blvd address (which is now under I5 after an expansion).

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Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, where was the California Airstream factory located? I believe that some say it was in Los Angeles and others say it was in Cerritos. My gardener said that he worked at the Airstream factory in Cerritos. I believe that I even heard that Airstream was located in Santa Fe Springs. I saw an Airstream tag that said 12804 E. Firestone Blvd. Norwalk, Ca. This now seems to be an El Monte RV rental storage lot. Did Airstream in California move around to several places or did some of the city limits change?
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:34 AM   #6
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I did a little research in the Los Angeles City Directories and came up with the following:

1956 Directory

Airstream Trailers/ Byam, Wally
1755 North Main Street
Los Angeles, California
Telephone: CA5-4193


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Old 08-30-2012, 08:43 AM   #7
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CA Airstream Factory Geography Lesson...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, where was the California Airstream factory located? I believe that some say it was in Los Angeles and others say it was in Cerritos. My gardener said that he worked at the Airstream factory in Cerritos. I believe that I even heard that Airstream was located in Santa Fe Springs. I saw an Airstream tag that said 12804 E. Firestone Blvd. Norwalk, Ca. This now seems to be an El Monte RV rental storage lot. Did Airstream in California move around to several places or did some of the city limits change?
My husband Rob (b. '55), his mother (b.'30), & grandmother (b. '00) were all born & raised in Downey and recall seeing the Airstream factory and all the shiny trailers lined up in the lot. Cerritos, Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs and Downey are all suburbs of LA....they are known as the four corners.

They all come together within a couple of blocks, so theoretically Wally could have had a warehouse on one side of the street in Santa Fe Springs and on the other side of the street could have been Norwalk or Cerritos. The area where Wally's factories were in the early days is now gone...the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) now disects that area....it's criss-crossed with RR tracks, on/off ramps, frontage roads & the freeway.

Downey - incorporated in '56
Santa Fe Springs - incorporated in '57
Norwalk - incorporated in '57
Cerritos - incorporated in '59

Prior to the late fifties, this was all county so the lines were even fuzzier.

The address on our original AS Manual is:
12804 E. Firestone Blvd
Santa Fe Springs, CA

Although this address does not exist today, this is where it would be:



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Old 08-30-2012, 10:32 AM   #8
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The 'tag' on our '66 says Santa Fe Springs.

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Old 08-30-2012, 11:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
I did a little research in the Los Angeles City Directories and came up with the following:

1956 Directory

Airstream Trailers/ Byam, Wally
1755 North Main Street
Los Angeles, California
Telephone: CA5-4193


Brian
Interesting, I worked just across the L.A. River at 1630 N Main St. for many years. It was in the 80's and I never saw any Airstreams running around.

Cheers, Dan
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags View Post

1956 Directory

Airstream Trailers/ Byam, Wally
1755 North Main Street
Los Angeles, California
Telephone: CA5-4193
Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideOut View Post
The address on our original 1964 AS Manual is:
12804 E. Firestone Blvd
Santa Fe Springs, CA
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smartstream View Post
Interesting, I worked just across the L.A. River at 1630 N Main St. for many years. It was in the 80's and I never saw any Airstreams running around.

Cheers, Dan
It's my understanding, the last LA plant closed in late '79 or the early 80's...right after the Beatrice years.

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Old 08-30-2012, 11:45 AM   #11
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It's my understanding, the LA plant closed in late '79 or the early 80's...right after the Beatrice years.

Shari
I started there in January 1980 so I must have just missed it. The Winery just down the street was and is still there.

Cheers, Dan
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Old 08-30-2012, 01:41 PM   #12
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Looks like the area is still big into RV's.

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Old 08-30-2012, 02:06 PM   #13
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Airstream was located on Studebaker rd. in Cerritos, near the Artesia Blvd cross street. I lived nearby, and my 1981 Excella II (I used to own) was manufactured there in 1980. Studebaker Rd from South street to Artesia Bvd is now Auto dealer row, opposite the 605 freeway from the Los Cerritos Mall.
ROBERTSUNRUS, you must live not too far away.
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:26 PM   #14
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Airstream was located on Studebaker rd. in Cerritos, near the Artesia Blvd cross street. I lived nearby, and my 1981 Excella II (I used to own) was manufactured there in 1980. Studebaker Rd from South street to Artesia Bvd is now Auto dealer row, opposite the 605 freeway from the Los Cerritos Mall.
ROBERTSUNRUS, you must live not too far away.
Hi, I live very close to this area. I retired from Cerritos Ford about five years ago. The car dealers stop at Studebaker and 183rd street. [between South street and 183rd on Studebaker Rd.] My drive to work was 2 miles.
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Old 08-31-2012, 12:01 AM   #15
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Hi, after more investigating, I found an article stating that the Cerritos factory was at 15939 Piuma Ave. Cerritos, Ca. This is very close to the 605 FWY and Alondra.
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Old 08-31-2012, 11:27 PM   #16
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Cerritos Airstream Factory.

Hi, today, like any good little Airstream owner, I went to 15959 Piuma Ave. Cerritos, Ca. It is now a liftgate factory. [Eagle Lifts] I talked to a manager/ boss/ owner? and he knew a little bit about this story. He confirmed that this building was quite old. He also stated that there were ten of these buildings and they all belonged to the Airstream factory. The one he is in now is the only one left. I asked, but he told me that there were no painted over signs or remnants of any kind left behind to show that Airstream was once there.
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Old 09-02-2012, 08:01 AM   #17
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According to the article "1959 Airstream Trailers" in the Fall 2012 issue of Airstream Life:
Quote:
Just before 1959 the name of Airstream newer California factory changed. This factory opened in 1950 at 12804 E. Firestone Boulevard in an unincorporated area near Norwalk, Calif., and it was known as the Norwalk factory. But during 1958 a new post office opened that used the name of nearby Santa Fe Springs. So even though it never moved from 12804 E. Firestone Boulevard, the factory was renamed using its new mailing address. The unincorporated area was formally annexed by the City of Santa Fe Springs in 1965 making the name change permanent.
I believe there may have been one or two California factory locations prior to Norwalk, first starting at the L.A. airport in 1947, but I do not have the details handy. Cerritos must have come after Santa Fe Springs, but again I do not have the details.

And Shari is correct, the last California factory was closed in 1979 or 1980. Not sure if this was done be Beatrice or Thor. I have not researched it, but have always assumed it was done by Thor as a cost cutting move right after purchasing Airstream. Supposedly Thor made money on Airstream the first year they owned it while Beatrice could not. Closing excess manufacturing capacity is a definite way to help the bottom line. Checking my records, though, I now see that Thor bought Airstream from Beatrice on August 29, 1980, perhaps making it more likely that Beatrice closed the California factory, possibly to make Airstream more attractive to potential purchasers.
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Old 09-02-2012, 08:58 AM   #18
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Airstream California factories

Here is a very brief listing. All dates are approximate:

1. May 1947 to December 1947, Los Angeles Metropolitan Airport.
2. January 1948 moved to 1755 No. Main Street, Los Angeles.
3. 1950 - opened 2nd factory at 12804 E. Firestone Blvd in unincorporated Los Angeles that used a Norwalk post office address.
4. 1755 No. Main Street factory closed at unknown time.
5. 1958 - name of post office city for 12804 E. Firestone Blvd. changed to Santa Fe Springs. Factory did not move.
6. 1968 moved from Santa Fe Springs to Cerritos, CA.
7. 1979 Cerritos factory closed.
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:59 PM   #19
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Hi, I live very close to this area. I retired from Cerritos Ford about five years ago. The car dealers stop at Studebaker and 183rd street. [between South street and 183rd on Studebaker Rd.] My drive to work was 2 miles.
Interesting! I lived near the intersection of Artesia Blvd and Gridley Rd in the city of Artesia. My real estate business was on South Street behind Cocoas resturant. I moved from the area in 1980.
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Old 10-11-2012, 12:00 PM   #20
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Just took a virtual trot down N. Main in LA, and found the Airstream factory from that time period. It has a fresh coat of brick red paint on all sides, but Dale Schwamborn confirmed that part of the faded Airstream sign was in plain view up until the last couple years...

Recreating that sign on exposed brick would sure make a phenomenal backdrop to an Airstream museum. Just park Wally's Gold trailer, Old Grandad, the Bowlus and other rarities - maybe with a period tow vehicle in front of each - and charge folks to pose for photos.
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