Kingman OKs funding for hangar restoration

The city of Kingman has approved funds for evaluation of a restoration project for the hangar that houses the Kingman Army Airfield Historical Society and Museum.

Norm Berge, president of the historical society and museum, said the volunteer organization welcomes help by the city and the Economic and Tourism Development Commission, which recommended the project.

The $7,500 will pay for an evaluation of Hangar E at the Kingman Airport.

Historical architect Bill Otwell and Associates has completed similar evaluations of the Powerhouse Visitors Center and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Depot.

The hangar evaluation will allow the group to go forward with grant applications to foundations for restoration funds.

Otwell said he expects to complete the evaluation in 60 to 90 days.

Bob Feagins, a member of the museum board, told the commission the museum is being built within the hangar as volunteers restore space.

"The roof needs major repair and other work on the building beyond the scope of volunteers is needed," Feagins said.

"We are attracting visitors and being written up in newsletters around the world."

Most foundations and government sources require an evaluation by a historical architect before accepting grant applications.

Otwell's evaluation will include condition of the building, work that needs to be done and an estimated cost.

"With the evaluation in hand and a cost figure, we can apply for grants to restore the building," Feagins said.

"Without this $7,500 in seed money, we can not take the next step."

Feagins said raising money is a continual challenge for the museum and for repairing the hangar.

Local money must match any grants obtained.

"The $1,500 from the American Woodmark Foundation is a real boost for the museum," he said.

"We appreciate their interest in the community and the history of the airfield where they are a located in the industrial park."

The hangar attracts a lot of interest with its curved laminated roof beams and double round top.

Visitors to the museum are often family members of servicemen who were at the base during World War II.

A family from Oregon decided to check out the old base while driving through Kingman and visited the museum.

"Imagine their feelings when they found a picture of their dad taken when he served here," Feagins said.

"Merlin and Sarah Juilf looked up some more information when they got home and sent it to us."

Berge said artifacts and information increase just from such stops of veterans and their families.

The museum group was the original sponsor of the Kingman Army Airfield reunions.