Historic KCMH Terminal to Be Restored For Learning Center
In 1928, Charles Lindbergh personally selected Port Columbus Airport in Columbus, Ohio, as the eastern terminus of Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT), one of America’s first commercial airlines and the first to offer coast-to-coast service. In July 1929, a beautiful art deco and modern (for the era) terminal was opened to the public at what is today known as John Glenn Columbus International Airport (KCMH) to service TAT passengers.
The core mission of the recently-established 501(c)(3) nonprofit Ohio Air & Space Hall of Fame and Museum (OAS) is to preserve and publicly honor the remarkable legacies of the state’s outstanding air and space pioneers. This roster of honorees will include legendary names like the Wright Brothers, Eddie Rickenbacker, Neil Armstrong, and John Glenn, but also under-heralded but no less significant trailblazers like Jerrie Mock, the first woman to fly solo around the world. OAS plans to leverage such inspirational examples as educational tools, using them as the foundation for fostering future innovation and workforce development through its STEAM education programs.
The State of Ohio has appropriated a $550,000 grant toward OAS’s estimated $2 million cost of renovating the 12,000 square-foot-plus air terminal, with OAS having an initial goal of raising another $550,000 to double the matching funds required by the state to release the grant.
Once the building’s three stories and control tower are renovated, the air terminal and surrounding 1.7 acres will be a “civic showpiece” according to Ron Kaplan, OAS executive director. With its interior configured as the home of the OAS when it opens in late 2021, OAS will offer free-to-the-public exhibits honoring Ohio’s air and space pioneers, house research archives, and their STEAM education center, as well as offer rentable meeting and event spaces.