Photos OF The Former Quonset Air Museum

Photos Of The Former Quonset Air Museum

 

     The Quonset Air Museum was formally established in 1992 by a group of dedicated aviation enthusiasts and for many years it was a popular Rhode Island tourist destination. The museum was located in a WWII era airplane hangar at 483 Eccleston Avenue, North Kingstown, Rhode Island, in the Quonset Business Park, on land that was formerly part of the Quonset Point Naval Air Station.      

     The winter of 2013-14 produced above average snowfall amounts for Rhode Island.   In March of 2014, a portion of the museum’s roof caved in due to the weight of heavy snow that had accumulated there.  The collapse occurred in a portion of the building that was not open to visitors, and it didn’t affect any part of the museum’s collection of airplanes or artifacts, however, the building was declared unsafe and ordered closed to the public. 

     For more than two years the museum’s  board of directors worked with local and state politicians hoping to raise funds to have the building repaired and reopened, but they were unsuccessful.  The board also looked into the possibility of obtaining a site for a new building, but those plans were also unsuccessful.  

     In December of 2016 it was officially announced that the museum would remain permanently closed, and plans were begun to disperse    the museum’s collection of 28 aircraft to other organizations.

     As of this posting, the future of the former WWII aircraft hangar which housed the museum is uncertain.  

      Click on the images to enlarge.

Northeast side of the Quonset Air Museum – 2004

Quonset Air Museum
Interior View – 2008

Quonset Air Museum – 2008

Quonset Air Museum – 2008

Quonset Air Museum – 2008

Southeast lot of the Quonset Air Museum – 2009

Southeast lot Quonset Air Museum 2009

TBM-3E Avenger
Recovered from the woods of Maine in 1991.
Restored by the Quonset Air Museum.
Photo taken in 2009.

     This TBM-3E Avenger, (Bu. No. 53914), was built by General Motors in 1944.  In 1963 it was sold as surplus to a private company and converted to a crop duster.  In 1972 it crashed in the woods of northern Maine where it remained until 1991 when it was recovered by members of the Quonset Air Museum.  It was brought to Quonset where volunteers painstakingly restored it to original condition.

The TBM-3E Avenger modified for crop spraying as it looked in 1991. Note the engine is missing, and the cowl ring lies in the foreground.
Photo courtesy Larry Webster,
Quonset Air Museum.

How the Avenger looked upon arrival at the
Quonset Air Museum – 1991
Courtesy Larry Webster, Quonset Air Museum

Interior of TBM-3E
Quonset Air Museum

 

F6F-5 Hellcat undergoing restoration.
Quonset Air Museum – 2009

     On April 3, 1945, Ensign Vincent A. Frankwitz was piloting an F6F-5 Hellcat, (Bu. No. 70185), on a training mission off the island Nantucket, Massachusetts, when he was forced to ditch in the 42 degree water due to engine trouble.  He got out of the plane safely before it sank, but died before rescue boats could arrive.  In late 1993 the Hellcat was recovered by members of the Quonset Air Museum and eventually brought to Quonset for restoration.  It was planned to make the aircraft a memorial to Ensign Frankwitz.  While much work was done on the plane, as of the museum’s closing, the restoration had not yet been completed.      

Quonset Air Museum – 2009

U.S. Navy P2V Neptune
Before Restoration
Quonset Air Museum – 2009

P2V Neptune during restoration – 2009
Quonset Air Museum

P2V Neptune
Quonset Air Museum

Quonset Air Museum – 2009

Wicker seat from an early airplane.
Quonset Air Museum – 2009

Joseph Zino Human Powered Aircraft Display
Quonset Air Museum – 2009

     The display pictured above depicted memorabilia relating to Joseph Zino and his human powered aircraft, The Olympian.  (The tail section of The Olympian can be seen in the display case.)  The airplane made its first flight on April 16, 1976.  It was the first human powered airplane to ever fly in in New England.   

 

Quonset Air Museum – 2009

Quonset Air Museum – 2009

Quonset Air Museum – 2009

Quonset Air Museum – 2009

Quonset Air Museum – 2009

Quonset Air Museum – 2009

Quonset Air Museum – 2009

     The above two photographs show the restored Blue Angel aircraft honoring Lt. Cmdr. Mike Gershon who was killed at Niagara Falls, New York, on July 13, 1985, while preforming with the navy’s Blue Angels team.

Quonset Air Museum – 2009

U. S. Navy Banshee
under restoration
Quonset Air Museum – 2012

U.S. Navy F2H Banshee
Under restoration
Quonset Air Museum – 2012

 

Granite sign located near the entrance of the north east side of the building.

 

 

Woodstock Connecticut Fair Advertisement – 1913

Woodstock, Connecticut, Fair Advertisement – 1913

Woodstock, Conn. Fair Advertisement

Putnam Patriot – 1913

Woonsocket, R.I. Air Mail – 1953

Woonsocket, Rhode Island, First Airmail Flight – October 1, 1953

woonsocket-first-air-mail-october-1-1953 

Boston Radio Aero Show – 1928

Boston Radio Aero Show – 1928

Held at Mechanics Blvd. October 1-6, 1928

 

boston-radio-aero-show-1928

Rhode Island Airport Locations – 1932

Rhode Island Airport Locations – 1932

     Below is a list of active airports in the state of Rhode Island in 1932, according to a state highway map issued by the state.   All but two of them are now defunct.  Those still in use are #5, Rhode Island State Airport, (Today known as T. F. Green Airport), and #9, Newport Airport, in Middletown, R.I.  

     #4 was called the Providence Airport, but it was actually located in Seekonk, Massachusetts.

     Absent from this list is the Smithfield Airport, which was located on property now occupied by Bryant University, and RICON Airport, located in Coventry, Rhode Island, near the Connecticut boarder.  (RICON Airport is still in use.)      

Click on images to enlarge.   

Once the image is brought up, click on it again to supersize it.    

 

ri-hwy-map-1932

The original hangar at the Smithfield R.I. Airport which opened in 1932.  Bryant University now occupies this land.

The original hangar at the Smithfield R.I. Airport which opened in 1932. Bryant University now occupies this land.

RICON Airport original Hangar, Coventry, Rhode Island

RICON Airport original Hangar, Coventry, Rhode Island

1930 Map Of The Providence Airport in Seekonk, Massachusetts.

1930 Map Of The Providence Airport in Seekonk, Massachusetts.

Vintage Hillsgrove Airport Postcard. Today known as T.F. Green State Airport - Warwick, R.I.

Vintage Hillsgrove Airport Postcard.
Today known as T.F. Green State Airport – Warwick, R.I.

 

 

Providence Magazine Cover – 1930

Providence Magazine Cover – 1930

     As the cover states, the Providence Magazine was published monthly by the Providence Chamber of Commerce.  In March of 1930, the state of Rhode Island was in the process of developing Hillsgrove Airfield in Warwick into becoming the first state-owned airport in the country.   The magazine cover depicts the anticipated 90 minute passenger flights from Rhode Island to New York City. 

     Today, Hillsgrove Airport is known as T. F. Green Airport.    

providence-magazine-march-1930

 

Rhode Island Aviation Heritage Association

Rhode Island Aviation Heritage Association

ri-aviation-heritage-assoc

     The Rhode Island Aviation Heritage Association was formed in 1989, and established the Quonset Air Museum in a former navy aircraft hanger at the former Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island.   The hangar was formerly occupied by General Dynamics Corporation/Electric Boat Division before it was turned over to the R.I.A.H.A. for use as a museum. 

     The R.I.A.H.A. is a sub-committee of the Rhode Island Heritage Commission dedicated to preserving Rhode Island aviation history.   

     The association was open to anyone with an interest in aviation history.

2nd-annual-awards-1992

Click on image to enlarge.

 

Vermont State Fair Advertisement – 1892

Vermont State Fair Advertisement – 1892

     The Vermont State Fair held at Billings park in White River junction in 1892 featured a balloon ascension and “parachute drop on Thursday and Friday.”  This advertisement was in the St. Johnsbury Caledonian, September 1, 1892, Page 5.

Click on image to enlarge.

vermont-fair-ad-1892

 

Coos And Essex Fair, N.H. Advertisement – 1912

Coos And Essex Fair, New Hampshire Advertisement – 1912

Click on image to enlarge.

Essex County Herald (Guildhall, VT.)  August 30, 1912

Essex County Herald
(Guildhall, VT.)
August 30, 1912

 

 

Cambridge Vermont Fair Advertisement – 1909

Cambridge Vermont Fair Advertisement – 1909

Click on images to enlarge

 

The Bennington Evening Banner August 24, 1909

The Bennington Evening Banner
August 24, 1909

Close up of advertisement The Bennington Evening Banner August 24, 1909

Close up of advertisement
The Bennington Evening Banner
August 24, 1909

Strobel Airship - 1909

Strobel Airship – 1909

 

 

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