One of the most interesting Burbank stories of WWII is the complete covering of the Lockheed Aircraft Factory.
Imagine the entire Empire shopping center covered in chicken wire with painted feathers to look like alfalfa fields. But The Empire center was only a part of the total factory that was covered.
To add to the illusion were Cardboard houses, roads and laundry lines that Lockheed employees had to climb up and change the clothes each day to keep up the illusion!
Huge poles were embedded in the ground to support the mesh and the covering had to be maintained on a regular basis especially if it got wet. On occasion when big rain storms came to town the feathers would come loose and fall to the areas below the mesh.
Many a Lockheed employee came to their car after their shift only to find it covered In wet painted chicken feathers.
It is a great tribute to the creative individuals who designed and created such a convincing camouflage that from the altitude of an airplane you could not tell that there was a factory below.
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Slowly fading with the city’s ever-changing landscape, the places and people of Burbank’s past tell a vibrant story. Before the arrival of Warner Bros. and Walt Disney, First National Pictures built its original studio lot on Olive Ave in 1926. For over sixty years, Lockheed Aircraft Company produced some of the nation’s best airplanes where the massive Empire Shopping Center now stands. Heavyweight champion James Jeffries turned his Burbank ranch home and barn into a beloved landmark and boxing venue. Inventor Joseph Wesley Fawkes’s scheme to build a monorail to Los Angeles became a local laughingstock. Diehard Burbankers Wes Clark and Michael Mc Daniel collect these and many more forgotten local stories where they can finally be found.