2012-03-16 / News

Owens Field: air transportation for 50 years

By Warner M. Montgomery WarnerM@ TheColumbiaStar.com


This B-25C, a relic of World War II, is housed in the Curtis-Wright Hangar. This B-25C, a relic of World War II, is housed in the Curtis-Wright Hangar. In honor of its 50th Anniversary, Historic Columbia Foundation offered an exclusive behind -the-scenes tour of the Curtis Wright Hangar and the Hangar Lofts on March 11. John Sherrer, director of Cultural Resources, and Wendy Spratt, director of Development, led the 30- person tour.

The 1929 Curtiss- Wright Hangar was the first building erected at Owens Field, a historic site that represents the contributions of air transportation to Columbia and South Carolina. First used to house airplanes for passenger and airmail services, this landmark building was used later as space for the civilian flight training program and finally for general aircraft maintenance.

During the 1930s, Owens Field had the distinction of hosting many well-known aviators and personalities, including Amelia Earhart and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.


John Sherrer (l) and Wendy Spratt explain the history of the Curtis-Wright Hangar at Hamilton-Owens Field. John Sherrer (l) and Wendy Spratt explain the history of the Curtis-Wright Hangar at Hamilton-Owens Field. Resting and rusting in the hangar is the B-25C “Mitchell” Medium Bomber similar to those flown by Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle and the Tokyo Raiders against Japan on April 18, 1942. This plane landed and sank in Lake Greenwood in 1944. It was raised in 1983 and moved to Owens Field where renovations were begun.

The tour concluded at the Hangars Lofts, a former warehouse adapted into a unique residential unit by owner Joab Dick.

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