Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Historic hangar comes down at Jack Barstow Airport (KIKW), Midland, Michigan

After standing at the eastern side of the Jack Barstow Airport for more than half a century, a historic hangar will soon find a new home.

"Instead of preserving the building here, we're gonna put it up some place else," said Garrett Gromaski, who took the hangar down last week with the help of his friend Lon Zimmerman.

The small structure with a dome-shaped roof is owned by Gromaski's father, Ron, and was built by his close friend, former Dow Chemical employee Dale Johnson, in the 1960s.

The hangar was condemned recently by the City of Midland due to the structure's failing dome roof. Gromaski, 46, and Zimmermann, 56, worked for nearly a week to take it down by the December 16th deadline they were given.

The hangar was built by Johnson using a piece of machinery he built himself for Dow Chemical. The machinery allowed for a unique method of cutting the closed-cut Styrofoam that makes up the majority of the structure, particularly the dome-shaped roof.

"A dome structure is strongest shape known to man," Gromaski said. "This building, being Styrofoam on the roof has very little weight on it."

The pair worked to disassemble the roof in pieces so it could be properly glued back together.

After putting a steel-stud substructure under the roof, Gromaski believes the hangar would able to stand for at least another 60 years.

While it can not fit a full airplane, the hangar was built for the construction of experimental aircraft, Gromaski said.

"I'm sure there's gonna be a lot of the old-timers around here sad to see it go, but it's hard to fight city hall," Gromaski said. "We're going to put up some place else, and preserve the historical significance some place else."

Gromaski said he has not yet decided where the hangar's new site will be.


  1. Hopefully a new location can be found to erect this historic structure.

  2. I may have missed it -- what is the historical significance of the hangar, other than it's "old"?

    1. Historic and unique in at least two respects:
      1) The roof is made of styrofoam.
      2) The overall hangar not large enough to accommodate an airplane.

  3. There are more pics and the disassembly process here at my FB news feed https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10159159745487509&id=322451972508

  4. There are more pics and the disassembly process here at my FB page https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10157292647027273&id=649427272