HOWLAND, Ohio -
You might not even realize it, but one of the major forces in early aviation is from Trumbull County. Ernie Hall played a big role, and community members are taking steps to make sure his legacy is not forgotten.
"Here's a guy from our hometown who was instrumental in early aviation," said Ernie Hall Aviation Museum director Bill Griffin.
Hall was born in Gustavus in Trumbull County. He hung out with the Wright Brothers, and in 1911 built and flew his own airplane.
"His first airplane he made out of chicken wire and paper mache'. And he copied the Bleriot airplane from France is what he copied," said Warner Taiclet, the vice president of the Howland Historical Society.
And so began a life, dedicated to helping more and more people reach for the clouds.
"He was one of the first few people to get what they called a pilot's license. He is one of only a handful of people who was a civilian who gave pilot training to military people in World War I and World War II," said Griffin.
Back home, he ran his flying school in Warren for 50 years. The museum that bares his name is a scaled-down replica.
"I took my very first flying lessons from Ernie Hall," said Bill Hunter, on the Board of Directors for the museum. "My brother conned me into going down there one day when he had his airport up on 46. He says, let's go down and go for an airplane ride with Ernie. I did, and I was hooked."
The Ernie Hall Aviation Museum in Howland is two years old, and this past they added a historical marker outside. Griffin says, it is a chance to do more than just honor Hall's memory. It's an opportunity to share his legacy with generations to come.
"Ernie Hall died in 1972 and it seemed like his legacy kind of disappeared over the years," said Griffin. "We wanted to make sure that he's remembered forever, and for the next generation and generations to come. I thought it was just a natural, to go along with the museum, to have the historical marker for Ernie."
A big piece of Valley history that lives on, both on the ground and in the skies.
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