MANSFIELD -- The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building Board of Trustees will be opening a new 1,350 square feet museum in the summer of 2021 dedicated to the history of flight in Richland County.
The new museum will be called “The Frank P. Lahm Aviation Museum” and will be located in the building at 40 Park Ave. West now owned by the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building Trustees.
The history of aviation in Richland County dates back to the first balloon inflated in Mansfield in June 1852 and continues through today. Many milestones in aviation history can be traced to our community, especially with the history of Brig. General Frank P. Lahm who was born in Mansfield, Ohio, in 1877.
He was issued United States Pilot License #2 and became the first military person in the world to be a passenger on a plane as well as organizing the first Air/Sea Rescue service in the U.S. Our county was part of the first cross country flight in 1911 with Cal Rogers in the Vin Fiz. We were the site of the first private Naval Training Center for Navy pilots at the beginning of World War II.
This history continues today with the 179th Air Lift Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard based at Lahm Airport and the continuing improvements being made to our local airport.
The Board of Trustees has begun an effort to raise the final $45,000 to make this project a reality and thereby provide for the preservation of this history for all to learn now and into the future. Artifacts, photos, uniforms, films and other material of both civilian and military flight will come from the collection of the Mansfield Memorial Museum and private individuals.
Items will be displayed in six large 25’ x 3’ cases each costing $5,000 to produce. The trustees are asking for your help in raising this money as well as soliciting sponsors for the cases. Sponsors will be listed on a commemorative plaque to be hung in the museum.
The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building is a 501 (C) (3) tax exempt nonprofit organization. Please support this project with your tax deductible contribution made out to SSMB and mailed to the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building, 34 Park Ave. West, Mansfield, Ohio 44902.
Thank you for considering this request. If there are any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at 419-525-2491.