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It's been five years since General Motors ended decades of production at its hulking assembly plant in Janesville. In a two-day series, The Gazette takes an in-depth look at the economy and facilities left behind and how they're positioned for the future.

In the first day of a two-day series, The Gazette looks at the many issues that arose following the GM plant closing including how the local economy has stood up since the closure, how Janesville was portrayed and how successful the community development efforts were.

The second day will look at what the possible plans and potential uses are for the GM plant site and whether or not any contamination could derail those plans.

Below you will find a timeline documenting GM's time in Janesville, from the startup of the Janesville Machine Company in 1882 up to the closing of the plant on December 23, 2008.

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1882

Janesville Machine Co. starts making farm machinery.

Submitted by J.P. Cullen

1918

General Motors pays $1 million to buy Janesville Machine Co., renames the operation Samson Tractor Co., purchases 54.4 acres of land in Janesville and builds an assembly plant and foundry.

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1919

Production of the Model M Samson tractors begins, and the first implement comes off the line on May 1.

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1920

Production of the famed "Iron Horse" increases to nearly 150 units a day, followed soon by the production launch of the smaller Model D tractor.

Submitted by J.P. Cullen

1922

GM decides to build Chevrolet vehicles at the Janesville plant.

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1923

Chevy production begins, and the local workforce is 660. Pictured above is Janesville's Max Feingold, who purchased the first Chevy truck produced in Janesville's General Motors plant that year.

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1924

GM builds an addition to the plant. Others are completed in 1926, 1927 and 1936.

1932

The plant suspends production as a result of the Great Depression.

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1934

Chevrolet production resumes in Janesville. A year later, Janesville workers assemble Chevrolet's 11 millionth vehicle.

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1937

As part of sit-down strikes that lasted more than five weeks, 2,700 assembly workers in Janesville shut down the assembly line. The United Auto Workers union gains recognition. UAW Local 95 and Local 121 form to represent local workers. Local 95 represents Fisher Body employees and Local 121 represents Chevrolet workers. Pictured above, autoworkers whoop and holler as they leave the plant on Jan. 5, 1937, victorious in their attempt to shut down the plant.

1942

Chevrolet production is discontinued as the Fisher Body side of the plant begins a six-month conversion to produce various sizes of artillery shells for the war. The Fisher Body plant was taken over by the Oldsmobile Division of GM in March, and most of the former Chevrolet and Fisher Body employees stayed with Oldsmobile for the duration of the war, making more than 16 million artillery shells. The plant resumes production of vehicles in 1945.

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1954

An immense expansion program begins. Other additions are completed in 1956, 1959 and the mid 1960s.

Submitted by J.P. Cullen

1959

Chevrolet's 4 millionth Janesville-produced vehicle is built. Pictured above, a 1959 Chevy nears the end of the line at the plant. As vehicles transformed from round fenders to tail fins, the plant and workers changed with the models.

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1966

Production of the Chevrolet Caprice and Impala begins. Pictured above, a two-door Chevy Caprice was the 7 millionth vehicle produced at the GM plant in Janesville. It rolled off the line Feb. 3, 1971.

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1973

The plant completes a 224,000-square-foot addition.

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1978

Employment at the Janesville plant reaches a peak of 7,100.

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1981

Chevrolet production ends for cars and station wagons. It ends an era of full-size auto production that started in 1923. The plant closes for four months to switch over to production of front-wheel drive cars. A 440,000-square-foot addition includes the installation of robot-controlled welding equipment.

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1982

Production of Chevrolet Cavaliers and Cadillac Cimarrons begins on first shift.

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1984

GM announces pickup production--and 1,800 jobs--will move from Janesville to Fort Wayne, Ind. More than 1,200 local workers accept transfers. Janesville is assigned to the Buick-Oldsmobile-Cadillac Group in a major corporate restructuring.

1988

The first Buick "J" cars are produced in Janesville. Buick Skyhawk production comes to Janesville for the 1989 model year as a result of the idling of the Leeds, Mo. plant. Line speed increases from 52 to 55 jobs-per-hour. This includes 45 Chevrolet Cavaliers and 10 Buick Skyhawks. The state provides a $5.4 million training grant for production of medium-duty trucks.

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1989

Start of medium-duty production on the truck side of the plant with about 1,200 jobs.

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1990

Compact car assembly ends in Janesville as the plant is transferred from BOC Group to GM Truck & Bus Group in preparation for building full-size sport utility vehicles on both product lines. Production starts on the GMT455 assembly line in the tire warehouse. The state provides an $8.25 million training grant for production of sport utility vehicles and crew cab pickup trucks. Employment stands at about 5,500. In the above photo, from January 1990, workers install a new sign showing production and corporate group changes at the Janesville GM plant.

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1999

Janesville begins production of GMT800 full-size SUVs: Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, GMC Yukon XL and Yukon. Pictured above is the 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe LS.

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2003

The Janesville plant celebrates its 80th anniversary of production. Plant officials unveil the Heritage Hall history exhibit.

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2005

Workers build the 50,000th Isuzu/GM gas low-cab forward medium-duty truck while preparations are under way for the new GMT900 line of products. The Janesville plant produces its 16 millionth vehicle. In the picture above, GM workers roll out the 50,000 Isuzu/GM Gas Low Cab Foward commercial truck at a press conference at GM on April 13, 2005.

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2007

Thousands of UAW workers walk off the job at GM plants around the country, including Janesville, in the first nationwide strike during contract negotiations since 1976. The strike was settled two days later. Pictured above, GM strikers walk the picket line along Delavan Drive on Sept. 24, 2007.

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2008

Presidential candidate Barack Obama spoke at Janesville's General Motors plant on Feb. 13, 2008.

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2008

GM cuts one shift of production at the plant and then announces the end of SUV production in Janesville sometime before the end of 2010. The automaker later says the production will end in December 2008. UAW Local 95 ratifies a local contract that officials hope will give the plant a future.

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December 23, 2008

The last Janesville-built Tahoe rolls off the line, although production on the Isuzu medium-duty truck line continued through May 2009. Pictured above, a group of General Motors employees poses for a final photo with the last SUV manufactured at the plant. After nearly 90 years, GM has closed the facility and possibly the era of vehicle production in the city.