JOHNSTOWN, Ohio — On farm land in central Ohio, Andy Humphrey is continuing to do what he said he does best, flying planes.

What You Need To Know

  • Intel’s initial $20 billion dollar investment is the largest in the state’s history

  • Some people are expecting it to be transformative for the state’s economy

  • Others in Ohio's more rural areas are concerned about how it will change their lives and the landscape they call home

  •  Some residents are chronicling what the area looks like now for years to come

Humphrey is the owner of Heavenbound Aviation and is a flight instructor and pilot. He said most days, he's about 800 feet in the air, getting a bird's-eye view of his hometown, Johnstown. The small city is a community of about 5,000 people.

Humprey has lived here his whole life. He said he comes from a family of farmers and loves the area’s rural feel.

“My great grandfather farmed this with horses,” Humphrey said. “My grandfather was the first one to do tractors. So, you know, it's a lot of history here.”

Humphrey is the owner of Heavenbound Aviation and is a flight instructor and pilot. He said most days, he's about 800 feet in the air.

Humphrey said the city has a "small-town America" vibe. Some people, like Humprey, live here for the quaintness and quietness of the area. But that could all change. Less than 10 miles from Humprey’s house, Intel, a multinational technology company, is coming to town and thousands of people are expected to follow. 

“Seeing all those landscapes changes, you know, it's, it's, it's kind of sad in a lot of ways,” Humphrey said.  

Since Intel announced in January that they're coming to Ohio, Humphrey has been documenting the changes for his community from his favorite place — the sky. 

Humphrey's view from the sky. (Photo Courtesy Andy Humphrey)

“I hope that you know, when they're able to tell their kids and grandkids where they grew up and what it used to be like that, you know, they'll have pictures of that. There's a lot of things from my grandparents' generation that I wish I had pictures of, but there just aren't many,” Humphrey said. “I mean, I love hearing my dad tell about what it was like when he was a kid, when there were five tractor dealerships in Johnstown. You know, things like that, you know, it's just really amazing to think about what it used to be.”

As the seasons change and the houses and trees near the Intel site disappear, Humphrey captures it all. He uploads the photos to a Facebook group for the entire community to see.

“It's neat to see from this perspective,” Humphrey said. “I think that people in the community are never going to get a chance to experience it from this angle, you know, to be able to see it from above. It's an opportunity that we can share it with everybody. It's something that cost me nothing that I can give to the community.”

He’s not the only one. Down on the ground, Andrew Beers, media arts teacher for Johnstown Middle and High School, said he captures the changes from a different angle. 

This school year, he said he’s having his students do a project where they document the landscape in transition. Beers said he wants his students to slow down, look around and live in the moment.

Andrew Beers, media arts teacher for Johnstown Middle and High School. (Taylor Bruck/Spectrum News 1)

“I think part of the project for photography will be having students find things around this area that they think they'll miss or that will be gone in two, three, five years, you know, and just again, preserving those things that they love, that they love about their town, love about their community,” Beers said. 

He said photography is an objective way of preserving history.

“There's obviously different types of photography, but sort of the thing I'm doing here that I think is really important is recording for posterity. Just making sure people get a chance to look back and see how things were,” Beers said. “I love documenting history because everything changes and everything's always going to change."

While Beers did not grow up in Johnstown, he said he knows how important hometowns can be for people. He hopes the project will be therapeutic in a way for his students and eventually the community at large. 

“Some of them may live here forever. Some of them may leave and come back,” Beers said. “If people are making art, making photography about a place and a specific time, then they'll be able to look back fondly on their, on their community and feel a sense of happiness, just thinking about where things were before."

Beers said it may be nostalgia but he believes it will be fun to look back at the photographs. 

“It’ll at least give people, you know, some memories to hang on to,” Humphrey said. “I know there's a lot of emotions around all this. It just kind of is what it is.”

For more information on Intel coming to Ohio, click here.  

Editor's Note: Former headlines for this article referred to it as Humphrey and Beers hometown, while both live in Johnstown it is not Beers' hometown.