Hagerstown Aviation Museum Shows Historic Airplanes


HAGERSTOWN, Md.Did you know airplanes were built in Hagerstown for more than 70 years?

At their "Open Airplane Afternoon" event, the Hagerstown Aviation Museum gave people the opportunity to take a close-up look at planes that were built in Hagerstown decades ago.

"We have a lot of fun and we have a lot of folks come from Martinsburg, Frederick, Gettysburg, D.C., and Baltimore even,” said John Seburn, president of the Hagerstown Aviation Museum. “What's really rewarding for us is when the folks come who are former Fairchild employees."

The airplane manufacturing company, Fairchild Aircraft, came to Hagerstown in the early 1930s.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the company increased the number employees working at the facility.

"At that time there were three, 4,000 people working here and in the 1950s, there were over 10,000 people working at this one facility here at the airport,” said Seburn. “And at the time that was about a third of the population of Hagerstown that worked for one company."

Walker Zimmerman, who will be 90-years-old next week, was one of those Fairchild employees. He was just a teenager in 1941, when he started building airplanes in Hagerstown for 50 cents an hour.

"They sent us right out here to the airport, building a pt-19 right there,” said Zimmerman. “And I started out working on the tail section of the PT-19. I could build one and a half of those a day."

Zimmerman had to stop working at the facility after three years, when he was drafted during World War II. He says he will never forget how much he enjoyed building those planes.

"Airplanes fascinated me, and I liked to build the airplanes," said Zimmerman.

The museum continues to raise funds to bring home more historic aircrafts.

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