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Baltimore County News

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Date: Jul 29, 2014

Seaplanes and Rosies at Martin'sDebi Wynn, Director of Education, Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum

Aircraft manufacturing was an important asset to the growth of Baltimore County. In 1929, the Berliner Joyce Aircraft Corporation began manufacturing in Dundalk, and later changed its name to B/J Aircraft Corporation. By 1934, 500 employees were building a two-seat biplane fighter for the Army and light observation planes for the Navy.

Aviation pioneer Glenn L.  Martin moved to Baltimore in 1929 and erected a modern factory that built more than 25 different aircraft and a dozen man-rated Titan missiles that orbited NASA’s Gemini astronauts in the mid-1960s.  For nearly four decades, the air over Middle River was filled with seaplanes, bombers and passenger aircraft developed and built by the Glenn L. Martin Company.

During World War II, a peak employment of 53,000 Martineers labored three shifts in five camouflaged factories to produce warplanes for the Allied armies, including the famed “Baltimore bomber.”  As men went to war, women stepped up to keep production moving, creating their own army of Rosie the Riveters.   

Longtime Middle River residents still recall the sounds of engines in flight or running up at the airport, the warning horns of chase boats clearing the waterways for seaplane takeoffs, and the long lines of cars and buses bringing thousands to the region for much need employment. 

Area farmlands quickly turned into the communities of Eastern Baltimore County that thrive today. Street names such as Fuselage Avenue and Cockpit Street honor the importance of the plant to the lives of tens of thousands of residents.  

Today, corporate descendents Lockheed Martin and Middle River Aircraft Systems develop advanced aerospace and defense engineering solutions on the site of the original Martin Company plants. Martin State Airport in Baltimore County is one of the largest general aviation facilities on the East Coast and the operations home for the Maryland Air National Guard.  To learn more about Baltimore County’s aviation history, visit the Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum.

The Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum shares Martin and Maryland aviation stories with visitors of all ages.  The museum is located at Martin State Airport, with historic aircraft on view nearby at Strawberry Point. 

Revised September 26, 2016