Fourth Generation Farm
North of El Paso, Illinois, you can find a fourth generation farm. But, the David Borroughs farm has one unique feature that makes it anything but ordinary. This farm has a hangar with an incredible past.
David Burroughs always knew that the skies were his destiny. Having a new hydraulic door for his hangar was just an extra perk.
“I grew up as a little kid being crazy about airplanes. When I was one or two years old, I knew exactly what I wanted to do,” Burroughs recalled fondly. “I studied airplanes and built about 100 models by age six. Instead of going to soccer practice, I went to airports and flew with local pilots. By the time I was nine years old I learned how to fly and by the time I was in third-grade I was giving flight instruction to other thirdgraders on the playground. Two turned out to be pilots much later – I think I hold the record as the United States youngest instructor.”
Burroughs began his flight career with an Aeronca 7EC, but he always knew he was destined for more. Since childhood, he dreamed of owning a Stearman biplane. He has accomplished that dream and now owns the biplane, along with a Cessna 150 that is used for business purposes. All in all, Burroughs has spent 57 years as a pilot.
When looking at the Schweiss bifold hangar, the eyes are immediately drawn to the beautiful glasswork in the windows. Burroughs copied the window configuration from the Golden Years of Aviation. These windows are made up of eight 16-pane 4×4 windows, which make the door stand out by adding both class and light to the hangar. Burroughs had his mind set on this detail, and even made the builder scrap an old design in order to ensure that the windows would be included. He wanted windows, and the windows had to be big. He did make a minor adjustment to the original window designs, using UV treated glass which not only increased energy efficiency by helping to heat the building, but also protected the vehicles inside from potential sun damage and deterioration.
“Everyone who sees my hangar, whether from a photo or for real, say they love those windows,” Burroughs proclaimed. “I wanted windows with a ‘Capital W’.”
Burroughs made the decision to go with a Schweiss bifold liftstrap door rather than a hydraulic door. He stated two reasons for this decision: the first is that he could taxi up closer to the hanger. The second being that in order to capture the 1930s vintage airport look, the bifold was an aesthetic essential.
The Schweiss bifold liftstrap hangar door is nothing short of impressive. The door is 44 ft x 14 ft and boasts a clear opening of 12 ft. The door is secured by manual latches, and also has added support from an internal truss. The foam insulated door is lifted effortlessly by a single phase bottom-drive electric motor with a voltage of 240. The light gray ceiling is lined with corrugated galvanized steel, white steel paneling, and pendent lights. This is where the classic 1930s look really shines through.
Burroughs recalled the process he went through to ensure the look he wanted. “I looked at other doors casually, and then at Oshkosh about five years ago I talked to two different manufacturers’ representatives. Mike Schweiss was there and I talked to him and grilled him to the floor, he held up reasonably well. I liked the straps idea and the idea that it goes up faster. The main idea was that I wanted a door that would seal properly.”
The entire process started with building a half mile long grass landing strip. It would take another 10 years of dreaming before the hangar was designed. Now, it only takes a mere 30 seconds for him to taxi to the landing strip from the hangar. This is quite the luxury, considering that he previously hangared at Bloomington Airport, a 30 minute drive.
Professionally, Burroughs has been a marketing and research executive for 45 years, and has no plans to stop anytime soon. His secondary business is car and plane restoration, and he’s spent 35 years on the craft. When he’s not doing those two things, he focuses on historical research, restoration, and authentication consulting for his passion of aircrafts and automobiles.
“I’ve done restorations for years and years and have written books on restoration, created the national judging standards for Corvette’s, and do consulting for collectors,” Burroughs noted, “Another business I run is called ‘Prove It.’ That business is all about forensic research to authenticate the claims made about controversial collector cars.”
When he says controversial, he is referring to the tall tales that collectors make up about their vehicles. When multiple people claim their car won the Indy 500 in 1965, research and forensic documentation are necessary for Burroughs to figure out the truth. Many files and records are in his shop for this exact purpose.
When looking to do the construction of a new Wick building, Burroughs turned to Rick Andersen of Andersen Statewide Buildings, LLC of Sterling, Illinois. Burroughs sketched out his idea and the two of them designed a multifunctional building with a square footage of 3,880. The front face is 72 ft. across, and the side is 54 ft. The building also includes a nice little 21 ft. x 20 ft. office area and a shop behind that coming in at 32 ft. x20 ft. The building flows nicely, as you can stay in the hangar and turn into the office to access the shop, or you can go right from the shop to the hangar. Carriage doors about 9 ft. wide open to the shop from the hangar, and the width allows for a car to drive in. When it comes to the hangar itself, the dimensions are 52 ft. x 54 ft. which can store three aircrafts with ease.
“David Burroughs was a direct referral from one of my friends. I went down to talk to him. That was two years ago this month. It took a year and a half to get things to his liking so he could order it. It was really a good job, by the time he ordered the building, he knew as much about it as I did. I was confident that he would be very happy with it,” Andersen recalled. “Sometimes you don’t get that feeling from people who don’t get as much involved in it. He knew what he wanted but wasn’t sure how to tell me. We had regular meetings at his and my place, we spent hours going through things. I had Wick do drawings with windows and the Schweiss door. I think that’s what sold him on it.”
Burroughs already knew he wanted a Schweiss door, but still did his due diligence and asked Andersen for his thoughts on a bifold door. Considering that Andersen had been ordering Schweiss doors for the past 25 years, it was expected that he would give high remarks for the Schweiss door.
“When anybody asks for a bifold door, it’s Schweiss who I call. It’s an excellent dependable door,” stated Andersen.
It’s not just the doors that keep Andersen coming back. He has formed a bond with the factory people, and has become a big fan of the way they do business. Whether it’s fast estimates or callbacks for planning and installation, customer service is valued, and Andersen’s customers notice it as well. All of this planning ended with Burroughs having a hangar that he’s clearly proud of.
ANDERSEN STATEWIDE BUILDINGS LLC
Andersen Statewide Buildings LLC of Sterling, Illinois is locally owned and operated by Rick Andersen who has over 39 years experience in all phases of the contracting business in the North Central, Illinois area. His wide array of diversified experience goes back to 1974 when he worked on crews for general contractors and then got into sales later. In 2005 he went into business for himself and has kept busy.
They specialize in commercial and light industrial buildings, agricultural buildings and country suburban and livestock buildings. North Central Illinois is basically agriculture but has all of the above. “When I started in 1974, we were 90 percent on the farm. During the 90s a lot of that moved over to commercial and light industrial. In 2007-08 a lot of that went out of the window, and now it is back to a strong ag market,” said Andersen.
Andersen Statewide Buildings is a certified Wick builder and Andersen has been familiar with them since 1993. He said he liked the direction the company was going in and that it is a family run business now in its 60th year.
Andersen offers complete construction and remodeling service from conception to completion on all types of buildings and structures. They guarantee all of their buildings and workmanship and were named 2005 Suburban Builder of the Year and 2006 Building of the Year Nominee.
For more information, contact Rick Andersen of Andersen Statewide Buildings LLC, 3219 Mineral Springs Road, Sterling, IL 61081 at 815-343-8826 or 815-626-7378.
Their website is: www.andersenbuildings.com.