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The Hands That Built Airstream

Last week, Dale discussed his feelings upon returning to Jackson Center, home of Airstream, for Alumapalooza 2015. See last week’s article here. I remember leaving the Main Street factory in 1955 on the first Eastern Canadian Caravan. Traveling Route 66, and then rerouting to Ohio, opened my eyes. Jackson Center was a city center composed of decade-old wooden structures. After a tour of duty in the US Army, I went to work at Airstream in California. In 1965, I established the first personnel department at the factory. Ohio and California were working on an employee classification system with defined work

Return to the Mothership

Arriving in Jackson Center for Alumapalooza, fond memories reappear from the past. For me, visiting Airstream is a pilgrimage which reminds me of the many times I’ve been fortunate to visit not only the factory but the charming and wonderful Jackson Center village. Today’s Airstream factory has been enlarged to meet the domestic and international markets that continue to grow. Growing up, I visited Wally many times at his home in Los Angeles. I took for granted his garage: looking back, that garage is a shrine, his home a brain trust, for it is on those grounds that Wally designed


Was Airstream an Accident?

Wally Byam, not unlike a mighty oak growing from an acorn, groomed and cultivated himself over the course of his lifetime. Frequently, the question comes up: why did Wally have the vision to create an Airstream, the legendary and iconic recreational vehicle whose lifetime stretches from one century to the next? Wallace Merle Byam came from pioneer stock. His paternal and maternal grandparents came overland on the Oregon Trail to settle down in Eastern Oregon. As an adolescent, he tended to his grandfather’s sheep on the rolling hills of eastern Oregon. This fostered his deep-seated love for camping. His sailing


Airstream’s Enduring Promise

“To keep alive and make real an enduring promise of high adventure and faraway lands…of rediscovering old places and new interests.” Stories of Airstream’s history take you to exotic, far away places as well as unvisited destinations just over the horizon, closer to home. The old times will tell stories of visiting pygmies in the old Belgian Congo, or parking beneath the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. Even more amazing is landing in Singapore and traveling overland to Land’s End in Portugal. Andy Charles reported the Around the World Caravan was on the road for 403 days and 31,000 winding

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