The original Mitchel Field and Flight Line in Garden City, now home of the Cradle of Aviation, has been chosen as a Historic District by the State of New York.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the New York State Board for Historic Preservation has recommended adding 20 properties, resources and districts to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. “This administration is committed to helping communities preserve the storied history of this great state,” Governor Cuomo said. “By designating these landmarks, New York is encouraging economic and community development, while supporting local businesses and preserving the rich character of the Empire State.”
Mitchel Field has a deep history of aviation and now being part of the Historic District can expand, restore property and grow renewed interest with funding through the Historic District. Since the Governor signed legislation to bolster the state’s use of rehabilitation tax credits in 2013, the state and federal program has spurred more than $3 billion of investment in historic commercial properties.
The Cradle of Aviation now maintains five buildings on the Flight LIne which were originally hangers. Now the Cradle, Children’s museum and Fire House Museum occupy three of them. According to a Cradle spokesperson, there are plans to renovate the Fire House in historic replication and to enlarge the existing archive library. For example, local adults, who were born at the base’s hospital, can find that not only does the hospital building still exist but that it is virtually unchanged.
Mitchel Field was one of the largest and most important American military aviation bases from World War I, through the Inter-war period, World War II and the early Cold War. After World War I, it was the scene of numerous historic and record setting flights, including speed records, transcontinental speed records, long-range flights, and most notably the world’s first “blind flight.”
Mitchel Field, built between 1929-1935, was the hub for military aviation activity on America’s east coast from the 1920’s through World War II and beyond. Many Long Islanders have roots at Mitchel Field and many more were once stationed at the base or passed through on the way to war and back.