The Tri-Motor Heritage Foundation is on track with its proposal to build a complex honoring the famous Ford Tri-Motor, aka Tin Goose Museum, at the Port Clinton Airport. For many years, Ford Tri-Motors were the lifeline to the Lake Erie Islands from the mainland. Of the 199 planes built by Henry Ford between 1925 and 1933, only six remain flying. Air transportation pioneer Milt Hersberger would be proud of two of today’s islanders, Ken Benjamin and his daughter, Lisa, who own and operate Stonehenge Estate here on Put-in-Bay.
They have been working with fellow Tri-Motor enthusiasts to preserve the history of the plane and the role it played in our area. Enthusiasts formed the Tri-Motor Heritage Foundation, (a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation) to financially support the huge restoration project of their own Tri-Motor and the building of a 1930-style hangar and museum at the Port Clinton Airport. There has also been mention of a classroom area for educational programs and a little diner in the style of the 1930s. Donations to the group are tax deductible.
The group needs to negotiate with airport officials regarding land leasing and development for the Tin Goose Museum, but everyone is optimistic about the venture because it could be a destination for tourists and pilots and could bring in much-needed revenue to support the airport. If all goes well, groundbreaking could take place in the spring. Jon Brusch, president of the Tri-Motor Heritage Society, told how the project took off about seven years ago with members collecting items of historical value they hoped to house in a Tin Goose museum.
Reportedly, the project will cost about $1,000,000. Good news came when the George V. Woodling, Jr. Foundation recently awarded a Challenge Grant to the Tri-Motor Heritage Foundation to help expedite restoration of their Ford Tri-Motor aircraft and construction of a new hangar facility. This is a $2 for $1 challenge, meaning each dollar donated toward the project through the Tri-Motor Heritage Foundation or EAA Tin Goose Chapter 1247 will be matched with an additional two dollars from the George V. Woodling, Jr. Foundation. The local group in Port Clinton has been busy for the past several years restoring a 1929 Tin Goose. This would surely become part of the museum and give visitors a first-hand look at one of these planes.
Many islanders have fond memories of riding in the Tri-Motors which flew the islands/mainland runs for four decades. To learn more about the project and how to make a donation, please visit the Tri-Motor group’s web site at Tri -Motor Heritage Foundation