Walter will relate the development and actions of the heaviest navy bombers of WWII, the PB4Y-2 Privateers, throughout the Pacific Theater. Included will be a brief history of the first Privateers, the ships and crews who fought in the Revolutionary, 1812, and Civil Wars. His presentation will contain personal stories and photos relayed to him by one Privateer pilot, his father, Lt. jg Joe Walter, who was awarded the DFC and three Air Medals. In addition, 42-year navy veteran, Edwin Corwin, will be on hand to share his experiences flying in PB4Y-2s and later P-3 Orions during the Cuban Missile crisis.
View the The Grimes Flying Lab
Built in 1952 by Grimes Manufacturing and used by engineers to test and evaluate aircraft exterior lighting systems during flight. This is a must see!
In addition to food trucks, the Airport Cafe will be open serving a full menu and the famous "Airport Pie"! The balloons will launch at 6:00 pm followed by a pizza or wings eating contest. On Saturday, September 11th at 5:30 pm, a memorial recognition of the 9/11 tragic events will be held. Closing the evening will be the balloon glow at approximately 8:00 - 8:30 pm; an awesome display of light and color! Bring your lawn chair and enjoy an evening of family fun.
All balloon activities are subject to wind conditions at the time of launch and glow.
Mad River Air Assists
“Perhaps the most common comment from students was how small everything seemed from the air. I know it gave them an appreciation for just how big the world is and that’s essential to developing an appreciation for the town they live in,” Weller said.
Aviation is woven into the history of Ohio and Champaign County. The youth center plans to offer more plane ride and aviation opportunities this fall as part of its program lineup.
Levi LaForge, one of the students at UYC who participated in the rides, said, “Being honest, it (the UYC) is one of the best places for youth to have opportunities. The free plane rides especially are one of the many examples of why I love coming here.”
About Urbana Youth Center
UYC believes that the future of our children impacts our community’s opportunities and success for decades to come. With open hearts and open minds, this community can rally our resources to not only lift kids up but set them on a trajectory for accomplishing amazing things. The youth center serves students in grades six through twelve who attend Urbana City Schools or live in the district.
The event was sponsored by Dream Flights, an organization dedicated to honoring military veterans and seniors with no-cost flights. This was part of Operation September, a program to give back to senior veterans.
It’s almost as beneficial for the Dream Flights employees as for their clients.
“It spins the clock backwards and reconnects them with their youth,” said Marcus Smith, a Dream Flight pilot and crew chief. “It’s such a rewarding thing to be able to do. They love it and gives them some excitement in their lives they’ve been missing.”
Families and friends were invited for the big day.
Grimes Manufacturing is now part of Honeywell International’s Aerospace Division. Mr. Grimes passed away in 1975. In an effort to celebrate Grimes and his legacy, Mike Major, visual artist and sculptor, published a book on Grimes at Main Graphics, his design shop in downtown Urbana. With the help of writer Nancy Patzer, who grew up in Urbana and has written historical non-fiction throughout her writing career, the book is called “A Light in the Sky: A Biography of Warren G. Grimes and the History of Aviation Lighting.”
Patzer, a 1983 graduate of Urbana High School, currently resides in Columbus, Ohio. She has written a number of articles on Ohio history. She owns a marketing communications company, providing consulting services to the residential housing and healthcare industries. Patzer also dabbles in fiction and has twice received the Thurber Treat Award for Humorous Fiction by the Thurber House Literary Center.
1950 National Plowing Contest
On Sunday, Aug. 15 at 2 p.m. at the Champaign County Historical Museum at 809 East Lawn Avenue, there will be a program on the 1950 National Plowing Contest that was held in Champaign County. There will be several presenters talking about their memories of this event. The presenters will include: Howard Brust discussing the history of this event, members of the Dean Wilson family relating how the publicity from their father’s success affected their family, Sue Evans Berkemeier covering the conservation project connected with the event, and finally, Sarah Finch will introduce Shirley “Payne” Prosser who was crowned the Queen of the Furrow of Champaign County in 1950.
Information from Champaign County Historical Society.
To reserve a ride, click here. Rides will depart at 1:00 and 5:30 pm. Rides are weather dependent and due to COVID restrictions, the number of seats is limited. The airport ramp will be open from 9-6 with the plane arriving about 9:30 am. Entrance to the ramp is free (donations accepted ) and a tour of the plane is only $10.00. Don’t miss this chance to experience a piece of history!
Each bomber had a crew of 12. Of the 30 crews, only 15 returned from combat. Lt. jg Walter was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three air medals now on display in the Champaign County Historical Museum, which submitted these photos and information. The not-for-profit museum depends upon donations and dues to preserve, protect, archive and display the artifacts that tell the Champaign County story. The free public museum, 809 East Lawn Ave., Urbana, is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
Given that this year is the 75th anniversary of the end of WW II, this is a look back at Champaign County involvement. Joseph W. Walter, long-time Urbana funeral director, enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1943 and became a navigator, pilot with multiple ratings, and an officer (Lt. jg). A photo of Walter is shown here. His unit, VPB-119, included the first heavy bombers to return to the Philippines once most of the Japanese had been driven out. The accompanying photo, taken by Walter, shows their PB4Y-2’s in formation March 1, 1945, on approach to Clark Field. Each bomber had a crew of 12. Of the 30 crews, only 15 returned from combat. Lt. jg Walter was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three air medals now on display in the Champaign County Historical Museum, which submitted these photos and information. The not-for-profit museum depends upon donations and dues to preserve, protect, archive and display the artifacts that tell the Champaign County story. The free public museum, 809 East Lawn Ave., Urbana, is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
Submitted by Champaign Co. Visitors Bureau
Calling all history buffs! Established on March 1, 1805, Champaign County became the 18th of 88 counties in Ohio. With over 200 years of rich and varied history to discover in these eight stops along the Champaign County Heritage Trail, the county offers something for everyone seeking to explore the past.
We all have family history and it is the first history we ever learn. Start your journey in West Liberty at Piatt Castle Mac-A-Cheek where you can explore the lives of the Piatt family as a case study and in the process think about your own family history. Nestled in the gorgeous countryside, Piatt Castle has been a popular destination for over 100 years. All tours at Piatt Castle are facilitated self-guided journeys through historical artifacts, photographs, exhibits, and explanatory text.
Head west to Saint Paris, where the Pony Wagon Town Historical Museum awaits. The museum, which was once a railroad depot, offers in-depth details on the history of Saint Paris, Ohio with historic artifacts on site for your viewing pleasure. Known as “Pony Wagon Town”, Saint Paris was the home of Walborn & Riker Company, known worldwide for quality pony pleasure vehicles.
Travel to the county seat of Urbana for four attractions all in close proximity. Grimes Field Municipal Airport is part of the National Aviation Heritage Area and is the home of three free museums where you will land on a goldmine of aviation history. The Champaign Aviation Museum is home to eight vintage aircraft including a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber, being restored to flying condition and a WWII B-25 Mitchell fully restored and flying. The Grimes Flying Lab and Museum will illuminate your understanding of aircraft lighting that makes aviation safer for all of us. The Grimes Flying Lab Foundation is dedicated to the Flying Lab test vehicle, as well as preserving the legacy of Warren G. Grimes. The third museum located at Grimes Field, Mid America Flight Museum North, is home to the Travel Air 6000 restoration project. Here a team of dedicated volunteers spend countless hours restoring this aircraft as well as a Stinson Model A Tri-moor (The only existing one in the world).
Once you have had your fill of aviation history, travel back in time at the Champaign County Historical Museum, where the history of Champaign County has been preserved. Learn about the Native American tribes who lived here, the county’s earliest setters, its role in the Civil War and Underground Railroad. This is where the history of Champaign County is chronicled and where it comes to life!
A few miles away is Oak Dale Cemetery with its majestic oaks, historic monuments and winding driveways. The cemetery is home to a recently-restored replica of a John Quincy Adams Ward statue that was the first statue by an American artist placed in New York City’s Central Park. Also of note is the grave of legendary frontiersman, Simon Kenton, that is marked by a life-sized statue started by John Quincy Adams Ward and completed over 100 years later by local artist, Mike Major.
Travel to the center of town to the Monument Square Historic District and stroll down the beautiful tree-lined Scioto Street Historic District with its grand historic homes. The Man on the Monument, a statue of a Union soldier who looks North, is the focus of the round about and town square. Take in the unique and historical architecture of downtown while you shop and dine. Don’t miss out on the antique and vintage shops where you can take a piece of history home with you. Just south of the square you can take in a movie or performance at the Gloria Theatre, a 113 year old theatre with a rich history of its own, that is being restored and renovated into a modern entertainment venue.
The last stop in Urbana takes you to Freedom Grove, nestled on the Southside of Urbana, it is the perfect place for reflection and remembrance, with a beam from the fallen World Trade Center as the focal point.
Finally, head East to the Village of Mechanicsburg with a visit to Maple Grove Cemetery. Two interments of note are William Bart Saxbe, former United States Ambassador and Senator from Ohio, and Addison White, a runaway slave. A historical marker on Main Street tells the story of White and how the people of Mechanicsburg paid $900 for his freedom.
If you are craving even more history stop by the Champaign County Visitors Bureau located at 127 W. Court Street in Urbana for self guided tour brochures that include the Historic Homes of Scioto Street, Historical Markers of Champaign County, a Downtown Urbana Architectural Treasure Hunt, and a Tombstone Trail. For history lovers planning an overnight trip, the Cobblestone Hotel-Urbana is offering special rates for those participating in the Heritage Trail. Call the hotel directly and ask for the Family Fun Trail Rate. For more visitors information go to visitchampaignohio.com.
By Chealsea Bray- Elle A. Design
Planning a trip can sometimes be more stressful than relaxing. Let us do the work for you as we plan out some of the must-see spots in Champaign County! Schedule this weekend getaway for you and your family and come see how much our small town has to offer.
Get a coffee at Hemisphere Coffee Roasters – 275 E. Sandusky St, Mechanicsburg, Ohio 43044
Start your day out with a great cup of coffee! Hemisphere Coffee Roasters is an amazing local coffee roaster. They provide many local businesses with their blends and have fans all over the country! We suggest you try their blueberry cobbler coffee; it is a local favorite! You can buy whole beans or grounds to take home too.
Grab some breakfast and a snack at Simple Comforts – 1 S Main Street, Mechanicsburg, Ohio 43044
If you need more than just a cup of great coffee to get your day started, you can swing by Simple Comforts and get a baked good and have breakfast on the go. They also have smoothies and hot chocolate for non-caffeinated breakfast alternatives. Grab a snack to take in the car and head on to the next stop.
Get going on a walk with the Scioto Street Self-Guided Tour – Begins at 205 Scioto Street, Urbana, Ohio 43078
Once you are fueled and ready for an adventure you can head to Urbana and enjoy the self-guide tour of Scioto Street. The tour is a half mile long and showcases homes built as early as 1805. This street is full of the history of Urbana and Champaign County, and highlights some of the most notorious families from the area. If you are a fan of history or architecture this tour is for you!
Ready for Lunch? Head to Mumford’s Potato Chips and Deli – 325 N Main Street, Urbana, Ohio 43078
When you are ready to refuel and stop for lunch make sure Mumford’s Potato Chips and Deli is on your list! This hometown staple has been serving the community since 1932. Upon entering Mumford’s, you will feel as if you are stepping into the home of a friend. This deli-style shop is a great place to enjoy a sandwich right in downtown Urbana.
Explore the hidden gem of Grimes Field Municipal Airport – 1636 N Main Street, Urbana, Ohio 43078
You will find more than you expect at this small airport in Urbana. Grimes Field Municipal Airport is a general aviation airport located one mile north of Urbana. It is the only airport in the United States with three museums on site, one of which is the Champaign Aviation Museum. Here you will find fully restored vintage aircrafts including a B-25 that you can even take a flight in! They are currently working to restore other planes including a B-17 Flying Fortress that is a very special ongoing project. You can support their long-term goals of renovation by making a donation on their site. Also onsite is the Airport Café. Their pie is the talk of the town and you won’t want to leave without enjoying a piece while you watch airplanes land and take-off.
Take in a movie at Gloria Theatre – 213 S Main Street, Urbana, Ohio 43078
After a long day out and about you can relax for the evening by taking in a movie at the Gloria Theatre in Downtown Urbana. This theatre originally opened more than 113 years ago and still shows movies today! The theatre only has one screen and is an experience unlike any other. The theatre is being restored by the GrandWorks Foundation to be a venue for movies and live theater in the near future.
Stay the Night at the Brand-New Cobblestone Hotel – 170 OH-55, Urbana, Ohio 43078
The Cobblestone Hotel is one of the newest businesses in Urbana having just opened earlier this year! With all the amenities of a large hotel but the feel of a small town, you will feel right at home and have a very comfortable stay here. They have an indoor pool that can be enjoyed year-round. The facility is even dog friendly, so your beloved pet doesn’t have to stay behind as you explore all Champaign County has to offer. Get a great night’s sleep to prepare for another great day in Champaign County!
Start the day with great coffee and amazing breakfast at The Depot Coffee House – 644 Miami St, Urbana, Ohio 43078.
As you start your second day exploring Champaign County you can grab breakfast at the hotel before hitting the road. If you need a coffee fix on your way, be sure to stop at The Depot Coffee House! This gem is located inside an old Railroad Depot and the history you feel when you enter is unlike anything else. They serve amazing coffee, lattes, and other specialty drinks. You can also get a baked good to take with you before you head to your next adventure.
Get ready for a full day of fun at Kiser Lake – 4889 OH0235, Conover, Ohio 45317
The area offers six hiking trails that offer amazing views of the water and of the marshland that surrounds the lake. If you would rather relax you can visit the swimming beach that is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. You can also rent a boat from one of the two boat rental locations within the park to go fishing or to just see more of this amazing lake. There are tables and grills at the park as well as shelters to enjoy your lunch at. If you just can’t get enough of the lake, there are 115 camping spots available to stay overnight. You can also take advantage of the “Rent-a-Camp” units by reservation so you don’t have to pack your own tent! There is so much to do a Kiser lake you will want to plan a whole day there to make sure you have seen it all.
As you pack up and head for home, we hope your conversation on the way is about how much fun you had in Champaign County! We hope you will tell you friends to visit and that you will want to come back too. There is so much more to see and do but this weekend plan will get you acquainted with our small towns and all they offer. We can’t wait to see you again!
Explore all of Champaign County by visiting the Champaign County Visitor's Bureau.