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Goodyear Aircraft Corporation was where some of the famous dirigibles or “blimps” were manufactured that hovered over the Rose and Orange Bowl football games and the Indianapolis 500. Goodyear played a key role in a Thanksgiving Day tradition in the 1950s. A group of women who worked at Goodyear Aircraft in Arizona manufactured the huge balloons of cartoon characters that hovered above floats at the Macy’s Department Store Parade in New York. They were known as “The Balloon Ladies.”
In 1963, a long history of aerospace and defense programs began in Goodyear when the Goodyear Aerospace Corporation replaced Goodyear Aircraft Corporation. That plant was later sold to Loral Defense Systems and eventually evolved by merger and acquisition into the current Lockheed Martin Corporation.
The Litchfield Naval Air Facility was the training base for the Navy Blue Angels aerial demonstration team until 1968. That year, the Navy sold the airfield to the City of Phoenix which named it the Phoenix-Litchfield Airport. In 1986, it was renamed the Phoenix-Goodyear Airport.
In the 1980s, the 10,000 acres that remained of the original Goodyear Farms was sold to SunCor which developed much of the land into the Palm Valley master-planned, mixed-use community located north of I-10 in Goodyear.
The Three Rivers Historical Society works to preserve the heritage of the cities which grew at the confluence of the Salt, Gila and Agua Fria rivers – Goodyear, Avondale, Litchfield Park and Tolleson.