The Curtiss-Wright hangar at Owens Field Airport was built in 1929 and dedicated in 1930 at an airshow drawing 15,000 people. President Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart each flew into Columbia via this hangar at different times during the 1930s.
The hangar has been neglected for decades and is falling into disrepair, but four local developers want to bring the hangar back to its former glory and turn it into an event space, family restaurant, and rooftop bar.
The hangar has contributed greatly to military and Columbia history, and was thus in 1998 listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 2012, Richland County Council and the Airport Commission dedicated a roadside marker for the hangar in recognition of this designation. The S.C. Department of History and Archives has some cool pictures, and you can read the nomination form for the hangar to be listed in the National Register. (Scroll down to the narrative at the bottom of the form for a detailed history of the hangar).
Occupying much of the inside of the hangar is “Skunkie,” a B-25 Mitchell medium bomber. Since its restoration in 1992, (after almost 50 years at the bottom of Lake Greenwood), Skunkie has been passed around from owner to owner, but largely kept from public access. The Rosewood neighborhood is hopeful that these latest efforts will successfully restore the hangar and provide an opportunity for the public to have access to this little bit of Rosewood history.
Check out these historical aerial photos of Rosewood. The photo at right was taken in 1938, before most of the housing was developed in the neighborhood. Click to zoom in for a better look. Owens Field Airport was originally designed as two runways that intersected, forming an X. Much of Owens Field airport covered what is now Owens Field Park.
What we know today as Rosewood was then mostly farmland, forest, and orchards, with a few farmhouses. What we now know as Edisto Court looks like it was entirely forest.
The second picture was taken in 1955. Again, zoom in for a better look. Notice how much of the farm area was developed as houses by this point. Also, many of the streets we know today have filled in. I think I see my house!
The large forested area on the right is the area that bounds Gills Creek.
Thanks to Herrick Brown, assistant botanist with S.C. DNR, for researching these pictures for us!
Check out this cool timeline of the Rosewood neighborhood, school, and Rosewood Drive businesses! There are also some great pictures and newspaper articles.
Did you know there was a trampoline center on Rosewood Drive in the 60s? And Rosewood Drive was originally called 5th Ave. Look at the neighborhood in this picture from the 50s before the trees grew in!
Thanks to Debbie Bloom at the Richland County Public Library for compiling this history!
Columbia sure has come a long way. Check out this article from The State newspaper from 1973 about a bar on Rosewood Drive called the Rosewood Lounge–where Rockaway Athletic Club now stands. The nightclub barred the women from entering, and even threw water on them from the roof.
Thanks to Debbie Bloom at Richland County Public Library for finding these articles for us!
Rosewood Shopping Center originally housing the Colonial Stores grocery store, a nursery, a barber, and more! It was 60,000 square feet of stores and had 280 parking spaces because “the automobile [had] changed the shopping habits of the average housewife.” This newspaper article from 1954 describes the original shopping center. And can you believe this picture!
Thanks to Debbie Bloom, at Richland County Public Library for finding these articles.
Rudy Mancke walked through Owens Field Park in the Rosewood neighborhood back in 1996 and told Dawn Hinshaw, with The State newspaper, exactly what a treasure we have here in Rosewood. Check out her article here.
If you haven’t been to Owens Field Park lately, you’re missing out! Many people know about the soccer fields, but we also have a disc golf course, South Carolina’s only cemeted skate park, and–as of today–a community fruit orchard!