Granby aviation museum poised to open
GRANBY — The new Emily Warner Field Aviation Museum is located inside the former Rocky Mountain Airways (RMA) airline terminal building at 1023 County Road 610. The Grand Opening is scheduled for Saturday, July 11, at 7 a.m. There is no entry fee.
Because Grand County has a rich aviation heritage, local volunteers, with the leadership of the Friends of the Granby Airport Inc., have organized a number of informative exhibits. In addition to The Granby Airport Pioneers Wall of Fame, which promotes the visionary community leaders and aviators who built and preserved the airport, the stories of local military heroes and pilots are preserved. For example, Robert Polhamus was Grand County’s first casualty of World War II. He was a U.S. Army Air Corps aviation cadet killed on Jan. 31, 1943.
Another WW II hero’s estate artifacts were donated by local history buff, Vickie Simpson. WW II aircraft mechanic, Chuck Orlusky, painted patriotic “nose art” on bombers. Avid aviator, Howard Hughes presented aviation cuff links to Chuck which are proudly on display.
World War II Gen. Dwight Eisenhower later became President of the United States. Fraser for a while became his “summer Western White House.” But, did you know he was the very first president licensed to pilot an airplane? He earned that right on July 5, 1939, while in the Philippines. The U.S. Secret Service used the Granby airport to fly important documents to the president, who was often fishing the Fraser River or cooking trout at Aksel Nielsen’s ranch. Several historic artifacts and photographs on display in the new aviation museum are from the large archive of the Grand County Historical Association.
Another important artifact displayed in the new museum is the original RMA flight schedule from July 1, 1973, when daily airline service began. Grand County Commissioner Merrit Linke remembers his grandmother talking about all the trips she made to places all over the world right from the Granby airport on RMA.
A one-way ticket from Denver-Stapleton to Granby was only $13.92. Locals were easily connected to the world with scheduled airline service. Early in 1973, renowned developer, Del Webb, commissioned the airline terminal to model the famous Vail Clock Tower building. Now the historic building will house the Emily Warner Field aviation museum and the Experimental Aviation Association (EAA) Chapter 1267 and their Young Eagles aviation education and outreach programs.
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