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Plan to Restore Historic Terminal Moving Forward

Brent Warren Brent Warren Plan to Restore Historic Terminal Moving ForwardA photo of the building taken in 2013. By Walker Evans.
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A new nonprofit organization – the Ohio Air & Space Hall of Fame and Museum (OAS) – announced this week that it has signed a long term lease for the original Port Columbus Air Terminal building.

After many years of fundraising and several stalled efforts to renovate and restore the historic building, the lease-signing is the best indication yet that the OAS plan is moving forward.

Organizers hope that renovation work on the building can start soon, with the goal of opening the museum by late 2021. Also planned for the building is a collection of archival materials for research, a STEAM education center, and rentable meeting and event space.

The building, located at 4920 E. Fifth Ave, boasts a long and interesting history. It was used as the main terminal for the airport from 1929 to 1958, hosted early aviation pioneers like Charles Lindberg and Amelia Earhart, and served as the initial transfer point in the nation’s first transcontinental air service.

After years of vacancy, a restoration effort in the 1980s turned the building into offices, although it fell into disrepair again in the late 1990s. A fundraising campaign led by a group called Preserve Original Columbus Air Terminal allowed for the roof of the building to be repaired and for it to be stabilized in 2016.

Although Dayton is home to the National Aviation Hall of Fame, Ohio is one of about only twelve states without a state aviation hall of fame, and the team behind OAS believes there are plenty of interesting and educational stories for the new museum to tell.

Fundraising efforts for the $2 million project are ongoing, but have been bolstered by a $550,000 state grant, as well as a $20,000 grant from the Hillsdale Fund, a private foundation based in North Carolina.

For more information, see ohioairandspace.org.

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