The aircraft hangar at Hangar 25, in Big Spring, Texas, has a fascinating history. It was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It was, unsurprisingly, called a hangar. But its purpose was unclear.
The hangar was torn down in 1950, with most of the materials used to construct an airfield outside Big Spring. The airfield was never used, and the hangar was eventually torn down and replaced by a larger one. Until the late 1980s, the hangar sat empty, rusting away.
In 1989, a group of Big Spring citizens took an interest in the hangar and lobbied the local city council to turn it into a museum. They succeeded in 1990.
The museum has an interesting collection of aircraft, including biplanes, a tailless aircraft, a helicopter, and some kind of experimental aircraft. There is also a collection of model aircraft.
But the museum’s real attraction is the building itself. The hangar has a remarkably well preserved interior, with painted walls and a wooden floor.
The 14th of March 1995 started early. We were up and ready to fly to Texas early and fly back in the evening. As we were packing the planes, the planes were freezing. We called the hangar and asked them if we could use heaters. They told us to come back in an hour.
We waited an hour, and they told us to come back in an hour. We waited an hour, and they told us to come back in an hour.
After 3 hours of waiting, we gave them a 30 minute notice to leave. As they were leaving, they decided they were going to call us every 30 minutes until we arrived.
The Air Force Museum at Dayton, Ohio, has a fine collection of planes and spacecraft, including Wright’s first airplane, the Wright Flyer, and the lunar module, Ranger 7, which took Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the Moon. But it’s no substitute for the 50,000 square feet of hangars at Big Spring’s Hangar 25 Air Museum, which features 20 aircraft from World War II and the Korean War.
Big Spring is between Lubbock and Amarillo, on the road between the two cities. On either side of it are farms; in the middle is the oil patch. Its population in 1940 was 8,000. Now it’s 45,000. The town’s economy, like that of the oil fields, was transformed by the discovery of oil, which turned Big Spring into a boomtown. Its population doubled every decade for fifty years.
But Big Spring’s boomtown mentality didn’t last. The population has stabilized, and the oil boom is over. The airfield that turned Big Spring into a millionaire’s playground was no longer needed. The lumbering Boeing B-29 Super fortresses that lined the runways during the war were gradually retired and replaced by jet fighters.
In 1962, the town fathers figured that the airfield might be worth something. They sold it to a Texas couple, Harold and Rebecca Bryan, who had hoped to open a restaurant there. They thought they could turn it into a park, too.
But Harold Bryan had other plans. He had studied engineering at Texas A&M, and he decided to turn Hangar
In October 2000, the hangar that houses the Hangar 25 Air Museum in Big Spring, Texas, burned to the ground.