BELVIDERE — Welding torches blazed today so workers could free historic bowstring trusses from the former Manley Motors service bays and hoist them in the air to land delicately on a truck bed.
The steel trusses, weighing up to 4,000 pounds each, supported the roof of Manley Motors beginning in the 1930s, and they will be reused at Poplar Grove Airport.
Airport owner Steve Thomas intends to spend the summer repurposing the trusses into four 60-foot-deep hangars that will house up to 20 planes and remind visitors of an era when Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart flew the skies.
“We’ll stand them up, sandblast them, paint them and then build the hangars,” Thomas said. “We’ll see how it goes. They’re getting off to a rocky start.”
The crew realized they needed more gas for the torches soon after the work began at 621 S. State St., where the Manley family once sold Piper aircraft.