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Border Air Museum, Douglas
Border Air Museum, Douglas

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Historical Museum located in Douglas, Arizona

Border Air Museum

Street Address
3200 E. 10th Street
Douglas, AZ 85607

Hours
Monday 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Friday 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Saturday 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Admissions: Free

Douglas has many “firsts” in aviation history. The one that tops the list is the fact that we were the first international airport of the Americas. One could fly into Douglas and taxi into Mexico and vice-Versa. Aviation was an important part of the evolution of Douglas and was almost lost if it were not for Richard Westbrook and his wife Irma. Richard was a 1949 Douglas High School graduate who went on to work for NASA. Richard was inducted in 1993 into the NASA Hal of fame To give you insight on his wonderful gift is to walk in and see and feel the treasures he left to the community of Douglas. Many pilots who have visited the museum have told us what a well done collection and arrangement of air history he did. We have a Trojan airplane on display as they were made in Douglas in the 1950’s. Our museum has displays of American Airlines memorabilia, a wall of history of the Douglas Army Air Field with artifacts, an in-depth history of Aviation here in Douglas, history of the Mexican Revolution and aviation in Douglas, Women’s Air History, and also a history of Hollywood making films using our airport.

Douglas had the first airplane in the state of AZ. In 1908 just a few short years after the Wright brothers made their historical flight, 8-9 Douglas men formed the Douglas Aeronautical Club and built a glider from mail order plans that they purchased. This glider was pulled into the air by 2 horses and they flew it behind the YMCA building. One year later they put a motor and propeller on it and so in 1909 they had motorized airplane of the canard-pusher design, the first airplane in AZ.
By 1913 the same airplane became famous locally as it was “The Douglas Bomber”. Sonora Mexico was the most influential state in Mexico and had been taken over by the notorious Pancho Villa and his Revolutionaries. General John “Black Jack” Pershing (the commander of US Army Camp Harry Jones had recruited Charles Ford and his “Douglas Bomber” to fly over the border and drop bombs south of Agua Prieta on the railroad tracks to hinder supplies flowing into Pancho’s troops. Because of the informal relationships between the US Army and these civilian pilots and their aeroplane, most military historians refuse to acknowledge these “bombing missions” as the military aviation delivered ordinance but we locals know better and thus, we are the site of the FIRST MILITARY BOMBER missions in the US! The “bombs” were made from 5 pound ard buckets filled with dynamite, scrap metal and concrete. The were built by a Douglas man named George Rodgers of the Douglas Hardware store.
The museum captures this and many more stories along with the documentation. Les Stimac, Historian.

History
The Border Air Museum was a gift to the City of Douglas by the widow of the late Richard Westbrook in 2002. Richard died before the museum was completed. Richard and Irma Westbrook established the Border Air Museum to house his collection of air history that he had researched for a number of years. His labor of love of aviation is seen in the building he created on his own with donations from friends. The City of Douglas begin to open it up on a regular basis in 2007. The museum operates under the Douglas Visitor Center and is maned by volunteers.

Artifacts Collections
Photos, newspaper articles, original airplane photos, letter of the President of United States Roosevelt declaring the airport “The First International Airport of the Americas”, a Trojan airplane that was built in Douglas.

Educational Programs
Aviation program for kids. They learn to build model airplanes Lectures to clubs, schools, and private groups on the history of aviation in the area. Private tours on request. No fees.

NOTE:

If you have any interest at all about aviation and the history involved, then this tour is a must if you are in the area.  It is well worth the trip and time it will take you to get a representative to give you an in-depth tour.  The original hanger (from the first opening) is still there for you to enjoy.  Inside is an Antanov AR2!  For the uninitiated, that is the actual aircraft that was used in the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull movie. Not to mention a Russian bi-plane over in the corner, just sitting pretty.

Contact

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