In 1928, two young aviators landed their primitive airplane in a cow pasture at the edge of the Goleta Slough. They scraped an air strip into the earth, and opened a flying school. That was the humble beginnings of what is today the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport.
In 1931, General Western Aero Corp. built these two hangars that served as an airplane factory and then a community airport, used by lots of aviation dignitaries. In the 1940s they served the Marines to help defend our freedom and from that point forward, they have served the airport in a variety of ways, until recently being condemned.
Nearly a century later, the two hangars are still there, in the exact same place, physical evidence of a long and important aviation history in our neighborhood. It is very rare for the original hangars of a modern airport to still be standing. These plain looking old buildings are the genesis of today's Santa Barbara Municipal Airport. Consultants hired by the airport said that the hangars meet the requirements for being nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, but still no action has been taken to stabilize or preserve the hangars. According to the Santa Barbara City Historic Resources Ordinance, the hangars cannot be demolished or moved without defensible findings, but it appears the city council may be violating their ordinance with "demolition by neglect".
Walker Tompkins said, "The only thing more destructive to historical landmarks than a bulldozer is procrastination on the part of preservationists." This is exactly what is happening here. We, as a community, have a rare opportunity here to make something special. A piece of our past that helped changed our world, that our kids and their kids could see and touch with their hands if it is saved.
This petition is not proposing a specific use for the hangars, this is just to keep them from collapsing and being swept away like dead leaves, out of our memories forever. Time is running out. This petition is a plea to our elected officials to cut through the red tape, and get this done.
Read the story of the two hangars here-