Most Western New Yorkers will immediately nod if you ask them about the giant red and white checked sphere across the street from the airport on Genesee Street at Holtz.
Those affirmative nods will usually turn negative when you ask if they know what it is and what it’s for.
In the 1960s, two spheres were constructed as part of Calspan’s efforts for the space program. They reclaimed helium that was used in space flight tests.
Forty years ago this week, one of the original two was dismantled, and the second was left as a vacuum reservoir.
That second “giant golf ball” still stands, though sometime between 2011 and 2012, its iconic checkerboard color scheme was painted over with a less noticeable white.