At 8:13 p.m. on February 22, 1978 the San Diego Fire Department responded to one of the city’s most spectacular fires. The Electric Building in Balboa Park burned to the ground in a three-alarm fire. It was the home of the San Diego Aerospace Museum and housed fifty-five vintage aircraft, several being one-of-a-kind including the replica of the “Spirit of St. Louis” built in 1967 by some of the same people who built the original. All were destroyed, including an extensive collection of artifacts and archives, and the International Aerospace Hall of Fame.
A visit to the San Diego Air & Space Museum today, 40 years later, tells an incredible story of community spirit, determination and ultimately triumph at one of the nation’s most-celebrated aero-themed museums.
“The 1978 fire literally and figuratively lit a spark under a remarkable group of volunteers and dedicated men and women who were determined to keep this Museum alive,” said Jim Kidrick, President & CEO of the San Diego Air & Space Museum. “Where this Museum stands today is a testament to those men and women who helped rebuild one of the nation’s truly premier Air & Space Museums.”
For photos and archival footage of the 1978 San Diego Aerospace Museum fire, visit: http://sandiegoairandspace.org/exhibits/online-exhibit-page/introd
To read more about the recovery after the fire, visit: http://sandiegoairandspace.org/press/release/san-diego-air-space-museum-honors-volunteers-and-community-members