Monday, November 14, 2011

The Future of The Grand Central Air Terminal (and Vintage Warplanes Over Glendale)

I was awakened on Veterans Day by the glorious sound of vintage airplanes overhead - T-6 Texans, flown by the Condor Squadron.  It  made me imagine what Glendale must have sounded like during World War II, when twin-engined P-38 Lightning fighter planes built in Burbank and based at the Grand Central Air Terminal flew over Glendale every day.

The Grand Central Air Terminal has long been a fascination of mine, and I recently came across a new Facebook page and website dedicated to preserving the beautiful control tower building and turning it into an aviation museum.

The 1928 art deco building, which is owned by Disney, was damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake and has been closed ever since.  As part of their agreement with the Redevelopment Agency for development of the Grand Central Creative Campus, the Walt Disney Co. has committed to rehabilitate the Grand Central Air Terminal building by 2015, with the intention of turning it into a visitor center for the Grand Central Creative Campus with limited public access available by reservation.  (PDF with more information here.)  It does not appear much work (other than a coat of paint) has been done.  I would suggest that Disney do even better than the visitor center idea and open a public museum housing treasures from the Disney Archives, which are located nearby. This would not only involve people more closely with the Disney brand, but also attract tourists to Glendale and educate them about both our rich animation AND aviation history.