In northeast Ohio, there's a sizable collection of vintage aircraft rotting away in an overgrown meadow. Amassed by an obsessed aircraft enthusiast over the course of several decades -- mostly during the 1950s and 1960s -- the collection is familiar to many vintage warbird enthusiasts, but less well-known to the general public.
Reader Michael Wendell contacted Telstar Logistics recently to share his experiences visiting the site, and to share a gorgeous video he took on the property. Describing his interaction with Walter, the owner of the collection, Michael writes:
He may be a bit of a hoarder. While I didn’t see inside their house, I did see that junk seemed to be stacked high against every window. During our discussion he told me that the Federal government changed the rules regarding surplus airplane purchases because of him, tightening them down to the point that he hasn’t purchased a plane since the 1970’s. Since then he’s switched to literature about airplanes, other magazines and books, and all kinds of toys and dolls. In addition to his home, which is full, he has a few large storage units or a barn or something which is full. He was saying that he needs to spend some time sorting it all out, and that he plans to do that, but it sounded like very wishful thinking to me. He’s currently in his mid-eighties, and explained that his heart isn’t very good.
He spoke at length about the P-51, and how it would torque right over on throttle-up, killing lots of young pilots, including many who bought the planes as surplus after the war. He talked about religion and politics a little; I just listened and he seemed to enjoy it. Eventually, he showed me around, but it was getting hot and he was getting tired.
In addition to the airplanes shown clearly in the videos, there’s a B-36 in pieces and some other huge tanker, both forming the north wall of the property. There are sheds and sheds of parts and pieces, and every airframe is stuffed to the gills with... more stuff. Everything is suffering from the harsh lake-effect snows in the area and 30+ years of exposure.
Here's Michael's video. It's lovely and haunting:
Images: From top, a Vought F7U Cutlass, a North American B-25 Mitchell, and a Douglas Skyraider. Screen grabs via Michael Wendell.