Nonprofit group considers opening Dale Mabry Airfield museum

By: Lanetra Bennett
April 6, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – Back in November, a World War II-era bomb was detonated after it was found at a construction site in College Town. It was then that many found out Tallahassee was once home to a military airfield.

Feeding off of that buzz, a group of people has formed an organization to test the waters on the interest of building a museum.

"This is the actual runway that ran northwest to southeast," says Chuck Wells.

That runway to the Dale Mabry Airfield still sits on Jackson Bluff Road, near Messer Park.

"What's amazing, you can see modern day asphalt, which isn't even that modern. Then instantly you can tell that you're on a different surface. This is the original asphalt from 1940," Chuck Wells says.

Wells is the C.E.O. of a nonprofit that wants to build a museum about the airbase.

"It had tremendous economic, social, and cultural impacts as well. Even the original five Tuskegee Airmen trained here at a time when the issues of segregation were reaching a boiling point in our country," Wells says.

The Dale Mabry Airfield was built in 1940, and existed until the end of World War Two in 1945. Pilots came for specialized combat training before deploying overseas.

"Exactly 75 years ago, about 8,000 people, about half of Tallahassee's population at that time, came to this spot right here for the opportunity to explore the airfield during open house on April 6, 1942," Wells says.

"There's so much history that we don't know," says Tommy Bowermeister, who flew in planes similar to the fighters used at Dale Mabry.

"It would be a shame if we don't capture that, to actually come and see how the greatest generation helped the United States become the great country that we are today," Bowermeister says.

Museum exhibits would include old buildings, airplanes, and more.

At this time, the group is only seeking input and exploring the feasibility of the museum.

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