Remembering Norwood's GM Plant 30 Years Later

Aug 25, 2017

Thirty years ago Saturday, the General Motors plant in Norwood closed for good. Drew Money and his dad Alex are determined never to let people forget.

The two are filming a documentary called "Norwood: Where Legends Were Born."

Alex and Drew hope to finish the film next year. They organized a Saturday car show which will showcase the first Camaro ever made, VIN #00001, which came off the line in Norwood in 1966.

This Camaro was the first one ever built. The 1967 Camaro came off the Norwood line in 1966.
Credit provided

The car show is open to the public and will be in the parking lot of the old Quality Inn from 11:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Saturday.

From left: Filmmaker Drew Money, former GM Norwood employee Dan Wall, and Alex Money look at an aerial view of the plant.
Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU

Dan Wall will be there. He worked for General Motors as the head of payroll and says it was so sad when the plant shut down. "I owe my life to General Motors."

Looking back at the plant that once employed 5,000, he says, "Norwood had the reputation of being able to do anything. Norwood had a third shift and that was never heard of."

At this weekend's reunion, Wall looks forward to reconnecting with people who he used to work with.

Wall holds (at right) an aerial shot of the former site which has a timetable on the back. He says when GM was built in 1923, it occupied what used to be the Norwood Circus Grounds. Between 1942 and 1945, the plant built army trucks. Camaro production began in 1966. By the time GM Norwood shut down, it had built 8 million units.

It was Alex Money's memories of his Camaro that drew him into the project. "One of the reasons that Drew and I wanted to embark on this is to capture this history before it's all gone. It's kind of like the World War II survivors. They're just getting fewer and fewer to people who had the personal experience are getting harder to find everyday."

Wall and documentary makers Drew and Alex Money are impressed with the way Norwood has turned its economy around. Only one GM structure remains, a parking garage, and the city has built the former site into a professional and medical office complex.