Kaiser Steel Plant Site

One of the largest steel plants in the world once stood at this site in Fontana. The plant was originally built here in World War Two, to supply steel for Kaiser's wartime shipyards, which produced hundreds of ships on the west coast in just a few years. The plant, built inland from the coast to stay out of the range of enemy fire from the sea, was upgraded and modernized after the war, with a new 23 story high, $287 million plant built as recently as the 1980's. After three years of use, this most modern plant was bought by the Chinese at bargain basement rates. A team of 300 Chinese workers came to Fontana in 1993 to disassemble it, and ship it to China, where it was reassembled. Kaiser is no longer in the steel business. Part of the site was turned into a major racetrack called the California Speedway, and part of the steel plant is still processing steel, operated by California Steel Industries. With just a few hundred workers (a fraction of the thousands that worked at Kaiser Steel during the war), this is still one of the largest steel operations on the West Coast. As one of the few remaining heavy industry sites near Los Angeles, the site is a common filming location. It was used as a location for the film Black Rain, and for the Schwarzenegger showdown with the cyborg in Terminator II. The film Pearl Harbor was refused permission to film at the site because the current operator of the plant, California Steel, is partially owned by Kawasaki Steel, a Japanese company.