Firestone Tire and Rubber Plant
Constructed between 1928-1955, the Firestone Tire and Rubber Plant was the company's first production facility outside Akron, Ohio.
Until recently Firestone Plant Building 2 was planned for demolition. While no longer under consideration, no plan for its preservation and reuse is in place.
Beginning in 2009, the Los Angeles Community College District systematically demolished the former Firestone Tire and Rubber Plant through a series of Environmental Review projects. Building 2, the main surviving building of the the plant, is no longer proposed for demolition. While we await a future plan and reuse for this iconic and vacant South Gate historic building, we are very pleased to hear this news by the Angeles Community College District (LACCD).
In August 2020, the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) released its Notice of Preparation for the proposed demolition of the last building associated with the historic Firestone Tire and Rubber Plant, South Gate Facility. The Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the South Gate Educational Center (SGEC) Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is the third environmental review project for the campus in ten years. With each EIR, LACCD has demolished a new set of historic buildings that cleared the way for five new surface parking lots and one classroom building.
During the LACCD’s first EIR in 2009, SWCA Environmental Consultants determined the Firestone plant eligible as the South Gate Historic District for listing in the California Register of Historical Resources. At that time, four buildings comprised the South Gate Historic District. Buildings 1, 2, and 3 were identified as individually eligible for listing in the California Register and Building 4 was determined to be a district contributor.
“Building 2” is the last remaining structure connected to this important industrial facility, targeted by the LACCD for demolition, thereby erasing Firestone Tire’s significant legacy in South Gate.
Given the two previous EIRs, LACCD has either shown their lack of understanding of the California Envionmental Quality Act (CEQA) for planning the SGEC campus or is consciously dismantling the eligible historic district through a piecemeal process.
We believe there is more than enough space on the campus to provide LACCD’s desired greenspace without needlessly demolishing this historic building. With more than 3/4 of the campus set to be used for parking, LACCD can reimagine their plans for parking as a means to incorporate the desired greenspace.
About This Place
In 1927, construction began on Firestone Tire’s first manufacturing facility outside of Akron, Ohio. The property, known as the Firestone Tire and Rubber Plant, South Gate Facility, was designed by architects Alec Curlett & Claud Beelman in the Italianate Mediterranean Revival style.
As Los Angeles’s automobile and aerospace industries grew, so did the plant. Additions to the facility were constructed in 1929, 1942, 1951, and 1955. It’s unknown if the original architects were retained for these additions. The Firestone Plant contributed greatly to the local economy by creating thousands of jobs. Along with BF Goodrich and Goodyear, Los Angeles became the country’s second-largest rubber manufacturer after Akron, OH by the mid-twentieth century.
When the military-industrial complex in Southern California grew, Firestone expanded production to include a Guided Missile Division for manufacturing the Corporal guided missile and related ground handling equipment.
In the 1970s, the company was sold to an offshore corporation, and soon after the South Gate facility closed in 1980.
In 2009, SWCA Environmental Consultants identified the facility as a California Register of Historical Resources eligible historic district. When identified the historic district encompassed four buildings, three of which were eligible for individual listing.
Currently, the property is occupied by the South Gate Educational Center, only “Building 2” still stands at the corner of Firestone Boulevard and Santa Fe Avenue.
We believe that the Los Angeles Community College District previously failed to adequately adhere to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and plan for their students needs during two previous environmental impact reports over a period of 10 years.
The Conservancy looks forward to working collaboratively with the Los Angeles Community College District to develop a long-term adaptive reuse for Building 2 that compliments the educational functions and preserves this significant historic building.
How You Can Help
Reach out to the Los Angeles Community College District (LACC) and their Board of Trustees, asking for a clear commitment and plan that preserves Building 2.