In 1927, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone took a trip to southern California to select locations for their new factories. Friends say Ford wanted to be near the ocean and picked Long Beach and suggested Firestone go to South Gate. The tiny community southeast of downtown Los Angeles was mostly agricultural at the time and Firestone found 40 acres (16 ha) of beanfield to house his new manufacturing plant. Architects Curlett and Beelman created a spectacular four-story Italianate complex, with its own power plant and gorgeous polychrome murals by Gladding, McBean depicting the tire and rubber-making process. A year after the plant opened in 1928, it doubled in size, and grew to nearly one million square feet (23 acres; 9. 3 ha) by 1954. The town grew around Firestone, its main boulevard was named after Harvey, and Los Angeles became the number one tire market in the country. By the mid-1970s, Ford and GM had massive layoffs as Firestone and other manufacturers opened new plants in non-union locales like Wilson, North Carolina. After considerable downsizing, the end at South Gate came in 1980 when 1,300 workers were laid off and the plant closed. East Los Angeles College has proposed a new satellite campus at the site.