As an illustration of how small WWI airplanes were, I have always liked this picture of airplanes being built in Barton Hall at Cornell University. Okay, it’s a very big hall, but still, when I think of a hangar, I’m picturing a building this size holding just one or two aircraft.
It is a bit strange now to think of the place being used to support a national war effort, as now it is mainly used for big university events and as an indoor track. I think this picture shows Barton Hall at its finest.
Actually, I think Cornell’s connection to military history up to the 1960s is impressive. In WWI, two percent of American officers were from Cornell. (Doesn’t sound like much until you think how many colleges there are.) Four Cornell pilots became aces in WWI, and in both WWI and WWII, a Cornell graduate earned the Congressional Medal of Honor. What happened since then you can read about in this Cornell Daily Sun article.
As long as I’m on the subject of Cornell and military heroes, I have to mention one I’ve known personally, Bill Hudson, whom I thought was a bit scary as a swimming teacher. He is one of those who didn’t see much reason to talk about his experiences in WWII until he saw the efforts that many gave their lives for being misrepresented by people who weren’t there. It wasn’t until I grew up I found out he was a private when he landed on Iwo Jima. He made it through almost the whole month of fighting before being injured – only two men in his platoon did make it through. He later went to Cornell, and eventually lived in Los Alamos, where he is now listed as one of the town’s “living treasures“.