original columbus airport stabilization project

help protect a columbus icon of aviation

Opened in 1929 on a site chosen by aviator Charles Lindbergh, the Original Columbus Airport Terminal was the eastern origin for the first trans-continental air/rail route and home of America’s first commercial airline, TAT, later TWA.  In 2013, a group of dedicated volunteers started working to save the historic terminal, which has fallen into disrepair; a leaky roof and other deficiencies contributed to its rapid deterioration.  You can join in this effort and help protect this icon of aviation by making a tax-deductible donation to the Columbus Foundation’s Columbus Airport Terminal Stabilization Fund.  For more information, please call Steven Moore at the Foundation: (614) 251-4000

“The building clearly will need a lot of work,” said Doug Kridler, CEO and president of the Columbus Foundation, which recently announced a challenge grant of $50,000 toward the stabilization effort.  “The combination of history and location and distinctiveness, we believe, makes it worth giving this project an opportunity,” Kridler told The Columbus Dispatch in announcing the grant in December.

From its grand opening in the presence of Amelia Earhart, Harvey Firestone and Henry and Edsel Ford, for almost 30 years, the brick terminal building at 4920 E. Fifth Avenue served as a hub of innovation and connectedness, earning it a designation on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Columbus terminal was one of only 10 airports nationwide picked by Charles Lindbergh for the TAT line, which allowed people to go from coast-to-coast by rail and train in just 48 hours.  After serving as a terminal, the Columbus building was later used for offices and eventually fell into disrepair.

The Plan

  • Stabilization – Goal: June, 2015: Total cost of $300,000 to include roof replacement, drainage, mold removal and abatement, HVAC, and temporary lighting.

  • Restoration – Goal: End of Q4, 2015: Estimated cost of $1.5 to $2.1 million to include donations, in-kind goods and services, and federal and state tax credits.

  • Economic Development – Goal: June, 2015: Identify a developer to restore the terminal (and possibly the adjacent hangar, known as Hangar One)

  • Campaign Milestones

  • 12/12/2014: Creation of the Columbus Airport Stabilization Fund with The Columbus Foundation through an anonymous donation of $10,000

  • 12/14/2014: Announcement of the Columbus Foundation’s challenge grant of $50,000 toward the project

  • 12/18/2014: Creation of the Preserving Original Columbus Terminal LLC through the Columbus Historical Society, acting as fiscal agent

  • 3/23/15: Local volunteers met with representatives of Walt Disney Imagineering, owners of the Grand Central Airport Terminal in Glendale, California, about the company’s restoration of the western “bookend” of the TAT air line, in the hopes of tying the two projects together.

  • As of April, 2014: Some 15 generous central Ohio residents have donated or committed over $65,000 to CATSF, in addition to in-kind and pro-bono support from internationally recognized and local accounting, legal and architectural firms.

For more information or questions on how to make a gift to the Columbus Airport Terminal Stabilization Fund, please contact Sally Crane Cox at cranecox@gmail.com; Thomas Kromer at Trkromer@gmail.com; George O’Donnel at (614) 314-1053, godonnel@arshot.com; or Michael Peppe at PeppeK@aol.com.