Preservation Month Series | The Historic Curtiss-Wright Hangar
A terrific landmark in the shadows of Williams Bryce stadium
The 1920s brought a new era of excitement to the United States, and a break from many traditions of the past. Speakeasies, jazz clubs, and flappers who smoked, drank, and danced the night away, were commonplace across many cities. Even young Americans, like Mildred Unger, were caught up in the craze of the Roaring ‘20s. In 1927, she danced the Charleston on the wing of an airplane - while it was in the air!
It was during the exuberant decade that airplanes nudged their way into the American landscape. For many years, early airports were nothing more than open fields. In the late 1920s, Columbia built its first airport, and the Curtiss-Wright Hangar.
The hangar, located at Owens Field, was constructed by The Curtiss-Wright Flying Services, the county's largest aviation corporation in the United States at the time.
Regularly scheduled flights began in 1932 under Eastern Air Transport. In 1939, civilian flight training began under the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission, with the hangar serving as the commission's headquarters. In 1940, the U.S. Army Air Corps used the hangar for observation flights and military training by the U.S. Army Air Force. This use would continue through World War II.
But just as quickly as the Roaring ‘20s came and went, so did the useful life of the Curtiss-Wright Hangar. During the 1950s, the commercial airline industry would quickly outgrow those original buildings.
Sometime in the early 1980s, the Curtiss-Wright Hangar, the one-time host to personalities such as Amelia Earhart and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt closed for good. Its future, to say the least, was in doubt.
After decades of disrepair, the hangar was purchased in 2016 by Hangar Owners, LLC, formerly Hangar Preservation Development, LLC, with a mission to transform it into a microbrewery. By 2018, in just two short years, their mission was complete and the Hangar was restored.
As a significant part of our mission, Preservation South Carolina, holds an easement on the Curtiss-Wright Hangar to protect this place in perpetuity. We would like to thank Hangar Owners, LLC for their pioneering preservation work!