From Ohio History Central
The NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field was originally known as the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was established in 1941, and its purpose was to develop and improve aircraft engines. The laboratory came into existence because of World War II, with the United States government hoping to create better engines for its military planes.
In 1947, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory became known as the Flight Propulsion Research Laboratory. The name change marked a change in the laboratory's mission. Rather than developing improved engines, the Flight Propulsion Research Laboratory was to investigate all types of propulsion. In 1948, the Flight Propulsion Laboratory became known as the Lewis Research Center in honor of George W. Lewis, the Director of Aeronautical Research for NACA. In 1958, the Lewis Research Center became part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The center continued to investigate ways to propel aircraft and spaceships, but scientists also studied ways to speed up civilian air travel, ways to improve communication, and ways to reduce harmful emissions from aircraft. On March 29, 1999, the center became known as the NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field, commemorating the achievements of both astronaut John H. Glenn and Director George W. Lewis.