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  • File Signs on the final truck to roll off the line at the International Harvester truck plant read "Sorry Ft Wayne!" and "Last Panel That's All Folks."

  • File Workers gather to look out the windows of the International Harvester truck plant on July 15, 1983.

  • File A calendar at the International Harvester truck plant crosses off the final day of work on July 15, 1983.

  • File "Harvester plant closes" was the headline on July 16, 1983 – the day after the final truck rolled off the line at the local truck plant. 

  • File Workers exit the International Harvester truck plant on July 15, 1983.

  • File Truck repairman Bill R. Roehm looks out a window at the International Harvester truck plant on July 15, 1983.

  • File Workers exit the International Harvester truck plant on July 15, 1983.

  • File Workers exit the International Harvester truck plant on July 15, 1983.

  • File The 1,527,299th truck was the last to roll off the line at the International Harvester truck plant on July 15, 1983.

  • File The International Harvester truck plant closed on July 15, 1983. 

  • File Workers exit the International Harvester truck plant on July 15, 1983.

  • File Inside the International Harvester truck plant on July 15, 1983.

  • File Men peer out the window of the International Harvester truck plant on July 15, 1983.

Thursday, June 29, 2017 1:00 am

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: July 15, 1983 – Last truck rolls off line at Harvester plant

On a Friday afternoon in mid-July 1983, a green Model 4200 International Harvester truck rolled off the assembly line at the Fort Wayne International Harvester plant. It was the 1,527,299th truck built since the plant opened in 1923 – and its last.

“I thought this thing would never have an ending to it,” worker Albert Watson Jr. told The Journal Gazette that afternoon.

Workers spent the afternoon bidding farewells as 1,700 finished their final shifts. About 500 others would return the following week to clear inventory and get machinery ready for shipment to other Harvester plants.

Harvester had employed as many as 10,600 workers in Fort Wayne a few years earlier. At the time of the truck plant's closing, only 3,300 were left, with 2,200 in the truck plant. Others remained in parts distribution and engineering departments.

International Harvester became Navistar International Co. in 1986. In 2010, the company announced its headquarters would be moving to Illinois and its final local operation ceased in 2015 with the closing of the Fort Wayne test track.

– Corey McMaken, The Journal Gazette 

Throwback Thursday appears the last week of the month. To see more archive photos throughout the month, follow @JGFeatures on Twitter. To suggest a date or event to be featured, email cmcmaken@jg.net.