Historical significance. ERCO's only production plant. Abandonments inside the beltway are quite the rarity.
Built: 1937 Closed: 0
The Engineering and Research Corporation factory in Riverdale opened its doors in 1937 and, under the funding of Henry Berliner, produced the Erco Ercoupe aircraft during World War II.
The Ercoupe was an easy to fly, single engine, twin passenger aircraft that was deemed by the Civil Aeronautics Administaration as "characteristically incapable of spinning."
The world's first jet-assisted takeoff was performed using an Ercoupe.
The aircraft were thouroughly tested at the adjacent ERCO Field, which was located just south of where College Park Airport is today.
By 1947 Berliner moved out of the aircraft industry. He sold the Riverdale property and the ERCO name, as well as the Ercoupe design, to Sanders Aviation.
Sanders Aviation continued to produce the Ercoupe for five more years. While Ercroupe production at ERCO ceased in 1952, other companies continued to use the Ercoupe design untill the 1970's.
All in all, five thousand Ercoupes were produced by ERCO.
In 1954, ACF Industries Inc. purchased the property and began to produce analog flight simulators and devolping OTH radar.
In 1957, ACF merged the plant with their Nuclear Energy Products Division, thus creating the ACF Nuclear Products, ERCO division.
By 1960 the adjacent airfield was listed as abandoned on aeronautical charts.
In 1965, the property was purchased and occupied by General Precision Equipment, who quickly moved to Silver Spring in 1967.
According to "Maryland Aloft", in 1985 ACF Industries was still the owner of the former ERCO facility, but the factory was used by several federal agencies including the NOAA and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency.
Between 1989 and 2001 the ERCO Field was redeveloped, turning the overgrown airstrip into an office park.