The Boeing Company announced July 25, 1966, that it would build the 747, a jetliner capable of carrying nearly twice as many passengers as previous models. To build the giant jet, Boeing had to construct a facility large enough to handle the world's largest commercial jetliner.
Boeing chose Everett, Wash., 30 miles north of Seattle, as the location of the factory. Work on the massive building began in August 1966 and by the time the first employees arrived in early 1967, so did the visitors. Customers, suppliers and the Seattle-area population were interested in seeing the jumbo jet and where it was going to be built.
Unofficial tours began in mid-1967, and by year's end 13,000 visitors had toured the emerging 747 production facility. In response to the continuing demand, a Boeing Tour Center was established in 1968 and began a tradition of offering free tours of the Everett factory complex.
During the first year, 39,401 visitors came to see where and how Boeing was building the 747 -- in the world's largest building. Even during the economic downturn of the 1970s, the Boeing Tour Center continued to be a popular tourist destination. Between 1972 and 1980, the number of annual visitors increased to 62,191 from 25,178.
In the early 1980s, it became apparent that the temporary building was too small to handle the growing number of visitors to the Everett factory. A permanent tour center building opened in 1984. The 5,500-square-foot center, featuring a 100-seat theater and a lobby with Boeing historical displays, was used until 2005 when a new tour center was completed.
The Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour opened in December 2005. The Boeing Company, Future of Flight Foundation, Snohomish County Public Facilities District and the Snohomish County Airport (Paine Field) joined forces to create an interpretive center where visitors could view the future of commercial aviation as well as tour the Everett factory. By incorporating and expanding the existing Boeing Tour, the Future of Flight offers a remarkable opportunity to see both commercial jet production today and the direction aviation is headed in the future.
In August 1998, the Boeing Tour Center hosted its two-millionth visitor and nearly ten years later, on Nov. 14, 2007, welcomed its three-millionth visitor.
Site Expansions at a Glance
|Completion Date ||Factory Volume ||Factory Footprint
(original 747 factory)
|205,600,000 cu ft (5,826,013 cu m)
(1.9 million sq ft)
(176,514 sq m)
(factory expanded for 767 production)
|298,220,043 cu ft
(8,450,554 cu m)
(2.8 million sq ft)
(260,126 sq m)
(factory expanded for 777 production)
|472,370,319 cu ft
(13,385,378 cu m)
(4.3 million sq ft)
(399,480 sq m)