Pueblo Historical Aircraft Society joins Pueblo West Chamber of Commerce
The newest member of the Pueblo West Chamber of Commerce is a long-time member of the Pueblo community, the Pueblo Historical Aircraft Society.
Formed in 1985, the society contracted with the city to create the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum.
To this day, the group manages the museum and helps raise money to continue improving the museum, which is “one of the best aircraft museums in the nation,” said Pueblo Historical Aircraft Society President Don Blehm.
He said the partnership in joining the Pueblo West Chamber of Commerce just makes sense to help increase visibility of the museum and bring in more visitors.
“We’ve been with the Pueblo Chamber for years, and when one of our members asked why we weren’t members of the Pueblo West Chamber, it wasn’t a tough decision,” he said. “Let’s join!”
He said the museum is often viewed as “the best kept secret in Colorado,” because — particularly until a few years ago — even people in Pueblo and Pueblo West didn’t know it existed.
The Pueblo Historical Aircraft Society has been working hard to increase awareness of what it has to offer.
In the early 1970s, Fred Weisbrod was the city manager for Pueblo and he worked with the military to get some historic aircraft loaned to the area.
He collected a number of items, but they were sitting outside for a number of years, which brought on lots of weather and some mistreatment.
“So in 1985 a group of veterans formed the Pueblo Historical Aircraft Society,” Blehm said.
“They developed the museum, raised money to build the hangars and we take care of the airplanes and manage the museum for the city.”
There are about 400 members of the aircraft society, and about 50 of those are active, meaning they work at least a few hours a week.
Everyone at the museum is a volunteer, and some are ex-military.
“I’d say the common thing is just an interest in airplanes,” Blehm said.
“This is something we’re really proud of — TripAdvisor (online site) now names us the number one tourist site (of 17) in Pueblo.”
The members of the aircraft society are a proud bunch.
After seeing how hard the weather, birds and vandalism were on the planes sitting outside, the group raised money to build hangars where the planes could be kept inside. The first hangar is about 12 years ago and cost $1 million.
The second was completed about three years ago for $1.2 million.
“This group of volunteers has done a lot of work and raised a lot of money!” Blehm said.
Some of the money came from the city and county, but the majority is from corporate donations and grants.
The aircraft was cleaned and restored to provide a great experience for museum visitors.
The museum is located at 31001 Magnuson Ave., next to the Pueblo Airport.
The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m.
Admission is $7 for ages 10 and older, while active duty personnel are admitted free.