25 Years Ago: June 12-18, 1991
Troy – Approximately 50 Hovercraft racers will be in town this weekend for the Hoverclub of America championships on the Miami River. The racers will compete in four different classes on Saturday with races on land and water between the Adams Street and Market Street Bridges. On Sunday, racers will give demonstrations and rides to interested parties. Saturday’s events will take place from 10 am – 4 pm and is free to the public.
Troy – Former Troy educator and athletic coach Douglas Smith died at the Dorothy Love Retirement Center in Sidney. Mr. Smith graduated from Wittenberg University and for a number of years was an athletic coach at Troy High School, including three years as head football coach and then athletic director. He was also in charge of a youth summer recreation program in Troy for several years. Following his years as an educator, Mr. Smith owned and operated Smith Insurance Agency in Troy for almost 25 years. He was preceded in death by his wife, the former Lois Chronaberry. He is survived by a son, Stephen, of Toledo, and a daughter, Carol Main, of Plant City, FL.
50 Years Ago: June 12-18, 1966
Casstown & Fletcher – The new highway between Casstown and Fletcher, two rural Miami County communities, is progressing nicely. The state highway department is making vast improvements to Route 589 in changing it from a small, winding country road into a straight and widened thoroughfare. The high speed traffic of our present day necessitated the change.
Miami County – The end of the school season means one thing to many people in Miami County … summer camp. Multitudes of Miami County youngsters for years have enjoyed time in summer camp as a rite of passage, but several times during the summer, the camps are also open for family camping. Parents and young people in our county have six camps to choose from. Camp Chaffee is south of Troy on Tipp-Cowlesville Rd and consists of 18-acres with a pool, lodge, which was constructed about one year ago, wood cabins and other activity sites. The Dayton Boy’s Club has a camp off State Route 48, between Covington and Pleasant Hill. It is open all summer and offers swimming, boating, archery, baseball and other fun pursuits. A new camp in the area is Indian Hills 4H camp on Lauver Rd., just west of Pleasant Hill. This summer the 4H will be busy building a lodge, pond, trails and other useful amenities for the camp. Located on a little over 50 acres, Rolling Hills Girl Scout Camp is a beautiful location. Much of the property is wooded. During the last several years lodges with enclosed fireplaces and dining rooms have been constructed. Camp Sugar Grove is probably the oldest camp in the county since it was opened in the 1920’s. It consists of 4 acres with another 22 acres of land, which is leased by the camp. It has a pool, an old church used as a lodge, kitchen, dining and meeting hall. Nine wood cabins line Panther Creek near the lodge. The final camp in the county is Camp Waconda on the Miami-Shelby County line and it is used and operated all summer by the Piqua YMCA for its camping needs and activities
Historical Anniversary: Steve Hamman asked me a month or so ago to acknowledge a little history in Troy. I tend to do that from time-to-time, so I thought I would honor his request to share a little bit about UTC (Goodrich) on the anniversary of its 70th year in Troy. Today (Sunday, June 12th), United Technologies Corporation Aerospace Systems is celebrating the anniversary with a special ceremony recognizing the partnership of the City of Troy and its citizens and the company and its accomplishments.
Benjamin Franklin Goodrich founded his rubber company in Akron, Ohio, after moving from New York. He believed this type of company would be more successful in the fast growing Midwest region of the country. His company did indeed grow quickly in the rubber production business and continued to do so with the invention of the automobile and then the airplane. The business was a pioneer in the aeronautical industry. Later, the company would also become involved in the space program.
Shift the scene to Troy. Since 1923, the Waco aircraft company had been producing very popular flying machines, which were known for their quality, but during World War II they also became involved in the war effort by designing and producing gliders. As part of a Defense program, the U.S. government constructed a large warehouse for production of cargo planes and the gliders adjacent to the Waco factory on the southwest edge of Troy.
Following the war, Waco had a difficult time recovering its pre-war success in general production after putting so much energy into gliders. They would never really recover, although, they did last for a number of years as a parts producer and supplier for the Waco aircraft already in service.
Since it was no longer needed, the federal government made the old glider production factory available for sale and a number of companies expressed interest, but it was the B.F. Goodrich Company that actually took over use of the building in 1946. They agreed to pay a rental fee of $53,315 per year with the option to purchase the building and the adjoining 7 acres within 4 ½ years. During the fall, the company was busy fitting the building to suit its needs.
The B.F. Goodrich Company, following the war, made the decision to manufacture aircraft wheels, brakes and associated equipment. The concern searched for a site that would fiscally expedient, as well as practical. The Troy site was chosen because of the facility and its proximity to the Wright-Patterson field (later Air Force Base).
The factory in Troy became B.F. Goodrich’s Brake and Wheel Division and was a leader in development of wheel and brake systems for private jets, commercial airlines and military aircraft. According to a 1950 Troy Daily News article, “Among the many important items developed for the aeronautical industry is the Expander Tube brake, which in conjunction with aircraft wheels, is now being produced in Troy.” B.F. Goodrich, early in aeronautical history, became a leader in testing aircraft brake systems and continued to develop new rigorous tests that accurately graded new braking systems. One advertisement stated, “The B.F. Goodrich plant at Troy designs and produces wheel and brake units used by the Army and Navy and for civilian use.” Later, the company and the Troy plant became involved in the development, production and testing of wheels and brakes for the NASA space shuttles.
By the mid-1970’s, the technology and diversity of wheel and brake production had changed so that B.F. Goodrich changed the name of the facility in Troy to “BF Goodrich Engineered Systems Division.” The continued growth of diverse production and work at the Troy plant facilitated another name change to “BF Goodrich Transportation Products Division.”
In September, 2011, United Technologies Corporation (UTC) reached an agreement with Goodrich and purchased the old concern for almost $20 billion. It was stated UTC purchased Goodrich in order to improve their existing defense and aerospace presence.
UTC Aerospace Systems continues to be on the cutting edge of developing, manufacturing and testing news systems that will improve the effectiveness and safety of commercial and military aeronautical transportation. Congratulations on your success and your part in Troy’s history for the past 70 years.
Patrick D. Kennedy is archivist at the Troy-Miami County Public Library’s Local History Library, 100 W. Main St., Troy. He may be contacted by calling (937) 335-4082 or sending an email to [email protected]