COLUMBUS, Ohio — Several state and local historical groups have teamed to organize two special public events, one free and one ticketed, to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Port Columbus on Saturday, July 13, 2019, in the very buildings dedicated in 1929 to serve as the city’s first commercial airport terminal and aircraft hangar.
The Columbus Historical Society, Columbus Landmarks, Ohio Air & Space Hall of Fame and Museum, Ohio History Connection, and Preserve Original Columbus Air Terminal have collaborated with the support of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority in planning the milestone celebration.
The public is invited for free tours of the original Port Columbus terminal at 4920 E. Fifth Avenue from noon to 4 p.m. The art deco style structure was dedicated on July 8, 1929, built on a site personally selected by Charles Lindbergh, and served as Columbus’ main airport terminal until 1958.
Though the terminal is currently vacant and awaiting renovation, volunteer docents and displays will be available inside to share the history of Port Columbus with the public.
The terminal was the eastern-most air “port” for Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT), often referred to as “The Lindbergh Line,” which offered passengers a time-saving combination of travel by rail and plane from New York to Glendale, California, taking just 48 hours. The terminal is listed on the register of historic landmarks.
The public is also invited to purchase tickets in advance to the Hangar One Celebration to recognize the 90th anniversary. The celebration takes place later that same day in nearby Hangar One from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The 24,000-square-foot Hangar One was also built in 1929 to service the Ford and Fokker Tri-Motors of TAT.
Admission to the Hangar One Celebration is $80 per person by advance reservation only, and includes two drink tickets, light hors d’oeuvres, and a commemorative copy of the Transcontinental Air Transport “Plane Talk” booklet.
The Hangar One Celebration will feature displays of artifacts, photos, and information about the airport’s history, as well as the upcoming 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and Ohio native Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon, July 20, 1969.
Presenters include pilot and historian, Robert Kirk, author of both the TAT history, “Flying the Lindbergh Line: Then and Now,” and the just released “The Building of an Airport: Port Columbus,” and Ron Kaplan, founding director and chairman of the newly established Ohio Air & Space Hall of Fame and Museum.
Several vintage autos and aircraft, including a 1940 Waco UPF-7 biplane built in Troy, Ohio, will also be displayed outside Hangar One, and limited tours of the original terminal will be offered until 7:30 p.m.
Thanks to the efforts of Preserve Original Columbus Airport Terminal (POCAT), a volunteer group organized to save the aging terminal and tower, in 2016 funds were raised to remove mold, remove interior debris, and install a new roof.
The non-profit Ohio Air & Space Hall of Fame and Museum (OASHOF) intends to renovate the terminal and property as its permanent home. The state of Ohio awarded the OASHOF a grant of $550,000 in 2018 to aid the nearly $2 million renovation effort.
Hangar One is currently being used by the Columbus Regional Airport Authority for John Glenn International Airport operations activities, but has been made available for this milestone event.
Hangar One Celebration tickets can be ordered at ColumbusHistory.org. Any proceeds will benefit the Columbus Historical Society, Columbus Landmarks, and the Ohio Air & Space Hall of Fame and Museum.