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Ohio art deco aviation landmark gets another chance

Photo of the Port Columbus Air Terminal in 2018 courtesy of Ohio Air & Space. The nonprofit has entered a long-term lease for the facility with the Columbus Regional Airport Authority and received a $550,000 grant from the state to renovate the terminal. The group needs to raise $550,000 more to match the state grant for the state funds to be released. So far, about $20,000 in private donations have been raised.

The art deco-style terminal is more than 12,000 square feet with three levels and a control tower. An additional 1.7 acres is also part of the lease, and the group plans to turn the terminal and land into “a civic showpiece” in the state known as the birthplace of aviation.

Historical photo of the 1929 Port Columbus Air Terminal courtesy of Ohio Air & Space.

Charles Lindbergh selected the site of the terminal in 1928 as part of his role as technical committee chairman for Transcontinental Air Transport, “one of America’s first commercial airlines and the first to offer coast-to-coast service” that later merged into what became known as Trans World Airlines, the group said. The terminal served as the eastern terminus for Transcontinental Air Transport. The terminal opened in 1929, but a modern terminal was built in 1958 at what is now John Glenn Columbus International Airport. The original terminal was converted into office space in the 1980s and then left unoccupied in the 1990s. Efforts renewed in 2014 to renovate the terminal, leading to the formation of the Ohio Air and Space Hall of Fame and Museum nonprofit.

The terminal will serve as the home of the Ohio Air and Space Hall of Fame and Museum and “offer free-to-the-public exhibits honoring Ohio’s air and space pioneers, house research archives and a STEAM education center,” and include areas to rent for meetings and events, the group said, adding that it hoped to open the facility in late 2021.

Rendering of the planned restored Port Columbus Air Terminal courtesy of Ohio Air & Space.

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