Groundbreaking at AERL

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When: 23 January 1941

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On January 23, 1941, a brief groundbreaking ceremony at the site marked the start of construction of the Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory (AERL), now the Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field. Dr. George W. Lewis, director of research for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), loosened the soil with a chromium-plated pick for Major General George H. Brett, acting chief of the Army Air Corps, who turned the first shovelful of earth.

Participating in the groundbreaking ceremony left to right (does not include two individuals obscured from view behind Maj. Brett and Dr. Lewis):

•William R. Hopkins – Cleveland City Manager from 1924-1930, was personally responsible for planning and acquiring the land for the Cleveland Airport. The airport’s huge capacity for handling aircraft was one factor in selecting Cleveland for the site of the research center. The Cleveland Airport was renamed Cleveland Hopkins airport in his honor in 1951.

•Major John Berry – Cleveland Airport Manager

•Edward R. Sharp – GRC’s first director, serving from 1942 to his retirement in 1961. He came to Cleveland in 1941 as the construction manager for the new facility.

•Frederick C. Crawford – President of Thompson Products, which became the Thompson-Ramo-Woolridge Corporation (TRW) in 1958. Crawford was, at the time, also president of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce. He began in 1939 to campaign for Cleveland as the location for the new NACA facility.

•Major George H. Brett – A Cleveland native, Brett served in WWI and was commanding officer at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio before becoming chief of the Army Air Corps.

•Dr. Edward P. Warner – Acting chairman of the NACA.

•Captain Sydney M. Kraus – Officer in charge of Navy procurement

•Edward Blythin – Mayor of Cleveland

•Dr. George Lewis – Director of Aeronautical Research for the NACA from 1924-1947, Lewis devoted his life to building a scientific basis for aeronautical engineering. The Cleveland laboratory was renamed the Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory in his honor in 1948.

Image Number: C-1982-6410
Date: January 23, 1941


Owner: NASA on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 62471
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