History is tucked into unlikely places.
I grew up in Canton, Ohio, a city that pays tribute to history as the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, President William McKinley presidential library and monument and National First Ladies' Library.
Likewise, my family valued history, and I was taught at an early age to appreciate the stories that shaped our communities or our own family connections to it. We'd take Saturday drives to unlikely places, visit small museums or local libraries just to learn more about the town we'd driven through.
History's funny like that. It's so easy to drive right by it without noticing it at all.
Goodyear's Wingfoot Lake Hangar may be one of those places that is wrapped in history, but often taken for granted. Now, 100 years after the hangar's construction, that is going to change in one small way. On Aug. 16, Goodyear will unveil an Ohio Historical Marker at the Wingfoot Lake Hangar in Suffield, bringing official recognition as a prominent Ohio landmark.
In 1910, Goodyear established its aeronautics department, which was tasked with "marketing rubber-infused fabrics and coatings for airplanes and lighter-than-air craft," according to the blimp's official website. Two years later, the company began building and competitively flying balloons in 1913.
The hangar began to take shape four years after that.
Goodyear, in 1916, purchased 720 acres of land in Suffield with the intention of using it as a flying field and airship manufacturing site. The property included a lake, then called Fritch's Lake, which provided water power for the grist mill and was a reserve source of water for the factories located a few miles away.