THE AIRPORT

The beginning of the Airport

JANUARY 27, 1925 - BILLS PROVIDE FOR AIRPORT AND SHORE PARK IN STRATFORD Representative Charles Wheeler Asks $300,000 for Two State Projects: Bills providing for the establishment of a state seashore park at Lordship and for the establishment of an airport at Stratford Point the first bill carrying an appropriation of $200,000 and the second an appropriation of $100,000 will be introduced in the General Assembly tomorrow by Representative Charles E Wheeler of Stratford. Under the bill providing for the establishment of the state park, Stratford seeks to net the park which was originally planned for Sherwood Island Westport. The town has many acres of available beach property in the vicinity of the bathing beach at Lordship. The stretch of property between the eastern boundary of Pleasure beach and the bathing pavilion at Lordship is largely town land leased to the present occupants at a nominal annual rental. Besides this tract of beachfront there are many acres of undeveloped land In the Lordship section proper which it is believed would make a suitable site for a park such as the one proposed. The terrain is of such a character that it could be used for this purpose without a great amount of money having to be spent upon it for major improvements it is the contention of those park established in Stratford. If the bill providing for the establishment of an airport at Stratford goes through, the aviation authorities will find that there is already at Stratford Point a large field which has been in use for several years as an aeroplane landing field. Representative Wheeler said today in speaking of his plans for the airport bill, that it is his Idea to have the proposed airport maintained in part as a government flying station where airmail planes could land with mall for Bridgeport, New Haven and other points in this vicinity. Located on the edge of the sound and near the mouth of the Housatonic River, it would be possible to use it as a landing place for sea planes as well as aeroplanes he points out. The proposal is in line with a suggestion in Governor Trumbulls message. Mail landed at Stratford Point could be transferred to the Bridgeport post office by truck within 12 to 15 minutes and to the New Haven station within 45 minutes. The proposed site for the state park at Lordship also has great advantages in the way of accessibility to thousands of people in the western part of the state Representative Wheeler points out There is a trolley line from Stratford Avenue to Lordship at the present time and there are two main automobile routes connecting the shore colony who are in favor of having the site with the Boston Post Road.

JUNE 19, 1925 - TOWN CRIERS HEAR OF AIRPORT PROJECT Representative of Trans-Oceanic Company Meets with Stratford Men: Plans for the development of a large tract of land at Lordship as an airport were laid before the Stratford Town Criers by Armin DeMuth of New York, representing the Trans-Oceanic Airport Company of America at a meeting in the Planning Board rooms at the Town hall this evening. DeMuth submitted plans and blueprints showing how land at Lordship on the meadows between the bathing pavilion and Pleasure Beach could be converted into a landing field for airplanes and how a basin for seaplane and motorboats could be located adjacent to it, where seaplanes "taxi-ing" in from the Sound would find a safe anchorage. A study of the available property and the problems that would have to be overcome in establishing such an airport at this point has convinced that planes will be crossing the ocean between Europe and America on regular schedule within the next five or ten years, and that even in the event this does not come to pass, aeroplanes will begin to take their place in the commercial transportation field here within a few years just as they have already done in Europe. It was pointed out that this location is a good one for a large airport. It is within two hours ride of New York and is yet in a spot where other cities, Bridgeport, New Haven, and points in the vicinity of these cities can be easily reached. A detail shown on the blue prints of the proposed airport is a customs house, where persons arriving by air from Canada or from points across the ocean would be examined. The plan appealed to the Town Criers as somewhat visionary but nevertheless interesting and worthy of further study. DeMuth is not the first man to suggest the establishment of an airport at Stratford. Representative Charles E. Wheeler, president of the Stratford Town Crier endeavored at the last session of the state legislature, to put through an act appropriating funds for the purchase of land for an airport at Lordship adorning the government light-house reservation. This location is about half a mile distant from the location proposed by DeMuth. Representative Wheeler did not press the matter at the recent legislative session, preferring to let the matter go over to the next session in order not to interfere with plans for the development of Brainard Field Hartford. Having stepped aside in favor of Hartford at the recent legislative session, Representative Wheeler hopes that the upstate legislators will give Stratford's proposition first consideration at the next session.

ColonelDelacour

SEPTEMBER 15, 1927 - LORDSHIP FAVORED AS AIRPORT SITE BY RESERVE OFFICERS Special Committee Believes Bridgeport Should Act on Acquiring Meadow Tract: That Bridgeport has an ideal location for an airport in the salt meadows between Bridgeport and Lordship Manor, was reported to the local Reserve Officers at their monthly meeting at the University club last night. A similar report was made yesterday by a Chamber of Commerce committee. The committee which was appointed in June to make a careful and complete investigation of the possibilities of an airport in Bridgeport reported that in addition to the need of an airport as a business necessity, it was necessary as a matter of national defense to protect the city from any attacks from the air in time of war. The Reserve officers airport committee included Lieutenant Colonel Rex DeLacour and Theodore Beard. Colonel DeLacour is also connected with the State aviation commission. The resolution which was read last night to members of the Bridgeport chapter, follows "After a careful study of the subject of a suitable airport for Bridgeport and vicinity, which was assigned to your committee at the last regular meeting of the Bridgeport Chapter, your committee after considering several proposed locations, has come to the conclusion that the only available location which will come within the requirements of the Class A airports as defined by the rulings of the United States Department of Commerce, and likewise a location which will take care of the needs of future development, is a stretch of salt meadows located between the City of Bridgeport and Lordship Manor, known as the Lordship meadows. "We feel that aviation today in the United States is in the same relative position that shipping and marine commerce occupied years ago when there were no harbors protected by breakwaters, and no lighthouses to guide mariners to refuge in time of storm and trouble. There were natural harbors which compare favorably with some natural landing fields, and the communities with sufficient foresight dredged channels and built docks and warehouses, and these progressive communities soon became the shipping centers and home ports for most profitable trading with the West Indies and foreign ports. Until these various ports were established ships at sea depended on the lead line to inform them of shallow water, and on dead reckoning to inform them of their location, and when a storm came up their only chance was to put out to deep water and take a chance of riding out a storm. So it is with aviation today, ships of the air which are constantly flying between Boston and New York, they give Bridgeport a wide berth because if trouble should suddenly come in the air, they have a better chance of landing somewhere in the outskirts of the city. ''As a matter of National Defense your committee again urges the necessity of an airport for Bridgeport to properly protect the city from any attacks from the air in time of war for it would be very probable that an enemy fleet would attempt to launch an attack from aeroplane carriers off the Long Island shore, and a munitions city like Bridgeport would be one of the probable points of attack, and these air raids of the future must be met by defense in the air and thwarted before the enemy reaches his objective, the best wav to prevent such an occurrence is to prepare in advance and not wait for some ineffective defense when it is too late." "Experts in aviation have said that the Lordship Meadows affords one of the best natural airport locations along the Atlantic seaboard, both for the use of land planes and seaplanes, its approaches are ideal. It has the advantage of auxiliary landing fields on all sides.

OCTOBER 27, 1927 - SHORT BEACH LAND WILL BE CUT BY AIRPORT BACKERS Dredgers Will Start Work at Once as Town Grants Permission: By unanimous vote the Stratford town council at its meeting Tuesday night adopted a resolution granting the Bridgeport Airport Incorporated, a private concern, permission to cut in upon the public beach on the west bank of the Housatonic River and dredge a canal through the beach from mean high water in a general westerly direction to property now owned or leased by the airport company. The resolution states that the northerly side of the canal shall be approximately 75 feet north of the north wall of the northernmost cottage of the continuous row of cottages on Short Beach, and that the canal will run back westerly from the river to the site of the proposed airplane landing field on the meadows west of Little Neck bridge. The resolution was adopted as an emergency measure, and the reasons for adopting it without delay were embodied in the resolution. These reasons were:
1. That the canal is an essential aid in the establishment of the first public commercial Class A airport in the state of Connecticut and will bring the advantages of the establishment of such an airport to Stratford in preference to other communities in this vicinity now considering similar projects.
2. The establishment of such an airport immediately will materially aid in inducing the aircraft industry to locate in Stratford to the material advantage of the town and its citizens.
3. That by immediate action, work on the airport can start at once, whereas if not granted work on such an airport would have to be postponed until the spring of 1928 with the possibility of consequent loss in securing the first Class A airport for this vicinity.
Colonel Rex B. Delacour, president of the Bridgeport Airport Incorporated appeared before the council and pointed out the advantages that Stratford would gain by cooperating in the move to establish a Class A commercial airport on the Lordship meadows. He said that the Colonial Air Mail Company will have its planes stop at the field for five pounds of air mail a day and said that this amount of mail is now available, as from seven to ten pounds of air mail now goes out of Bridgeport daily by train to Brainard Field, Hartford. With the establishment of the airport at Lordship air mail can be picked up and delivered within three miles of the Bridgeport post office. He pointed out that the company is ready to rush work on the airport to completion, that the construction company already has a force of 35 men on the job, making soundings and doing other preliminary work at Lordship, and that the War Department stands ready to lend encouragement to the project, realizing the tremendous advantage such a field would be in protecting the great munitions manufacturing plants in Bridgeport in the event of another war. The value of the completed field should be in the neighborhood of $250,000, he said, to say nothing of the value of the aeroplane manufacturing concerns it is expected to attract to its immediate vicinity. Speaking along this line, he said. "Our investigations disclose that at the present, time there is a very critical situation in the aircraft industry. Many of the large aeroplane manufacturers are embarking on campaigns that involve quantity production. Several firms of international reputation are enlarging their plants. At the present time they have no adequate facilities for testing their planes. Since our company has been started we have had several inquires with reference to these plants locating on our field. They think very favorably of our site which will undoubtedly be one of the best airports that has yet been established in this country. "It so happened that there was in this vicinity a large dredge one of the two largest on the Atlantic seaboard, that was just completing a piece of work in this vicinity and could immediately come to our site and undertake the necessary dredging and filling at a cost that would be a saving to our company of thousands of dollars. If their offer were not taken advantage of we could not secure our necessary fill before spring, then only at a greatly increased cost and a wonderful opportunity would be lost. "This airport is being built by the firm of William E. Arthur and Company who have constructed some 22 airports throughout the country, among these cities being Buffalo, Cleveland, Portland, Elmira and Schenectady. The plans and specifications that they have prepared call for a 250 foot channel from the Housatonic River to the Stratford road at a point near Little Neck bridge. The material that will be obtained from this dredging will furnish the fill for our runways and landing areas on the main field. In order to proceed with the work the manner planned, permission is requested of the town of Stratford to use a strip of land across Short Beach 250 feet wide, the exact boundaries of which are defined on the plans for the airport. This strip of land will be a considerable distance south of the cottage on the beach known as the Nearing cottage, and also a considerable distance north of the row of cottages on Short Beach so that there will be no interference with property holders in that vicinity. Our company has acquired all the property between the Stratford road and the beach needed for this canal. "In order to establish this airport in accordance with plans laid down, our company is going to need the cooperation of the Town council of Stratford and the other town authorities. We appreciate the fact that this request has had to be made very suddenly but we hope that your honorable body will understand the way the situation arose and grant the permission requested. We feel confident that the undertaking is going to be of vast importance to the town of Stratford and the benefits will be forthcoming in the very immediate future." He added that, if immediate permission were granted to cut through the strip of beach north of the existing line of cottages, the sand dredger would start work probably Thursday or Friday of this week, and the airport would be ready for an opening air now by Thanksgiving. Upon the suggestion of Councilman Walter Redfern, the town attorney was instructed to draw up a resolution granting the requested permit. A clause was included at the suggestion of Councilman E. Fairfax Ludlow reserving to the town the right to construct a bridge across the cut in the beach if in future years it should be decided to build a shore drive along the river front. Immediately after the matter had been put to a vote, with every councilman voting in favor of it, Colonel Delacour communicated with his associates, and by midnight a man was speeding to Washington, D.C. to obtain from the War Department the necessary permits for the dredging work. These permits are expected to be approved within 48 hours so that work can start before the end of the week. There will be a 16-foot channel in from the present river channel, giving seven feet of water in the seaplane basin at its shallowest point at low tide. Bulkheads will be constructed on both sides of the basin, with a ramp at the Little Neck bridge end of the artificial harbor so that planes may be hauled without difficulty out of the water. The plan which Colonel Delacour showed the councilmen called for two landplane runways on the main field between the Lordship meadow road and the Stratford road, each runway 300 feet wide and 40 inches high, one running northwest and the other southwest, the first 2500 feet in length and the other 3000 feet in length. The main field upon which the runways will be laid out comprises about 200 acres of flat meadowland. Seaplanes will be able to alight upon and take off from the Housatonic River at a point just inside the Stratford lighthouse, and taxi into the sheltered anchorage basin. The sand dredged from the 250-foot wide basin will be pumped up onto the meadow land for use in constructing the two wide runways for the landplanes. The planes call for the construction of ten hangars along the eastern edge of the main field, together with other necessary buildings.

OCTOBER 27, 1927 - WORK STARTED ON AIRPORT COMPANY ANNOUNCES PLANS First Class Four-Way Aviation Field Will Be Ready in Summer: The Bridgeport Airport Incorporated, has started work on an airport that will be ready for use next summer. The field will be in Lordship, within three miles of the center of the city, on land acquired from the Stratford Land and Improvement Company and from other owners of land that is known as the Lordship Meadows. The Bridgeport Airport Inc. is a local company headed by Colonel Rex Delacour, member of the State Aviation commission, representative from Stratford in the General Assembly and member of the governor's staff. Contracts have been made for the necessary dredging and filling in and the town of Stratford, through its town council, Tuesday night cooperated with the sponsors of the plan, and granted permission for a 250 foot cut through Short Beach, near the mouth of the Housatonic River so that seaplanes also may use the new airport. William E. Arthur and Son, aeronautical engineers and builders, have already begun work on the field. Bridgeport's airport and aviation field will be located on the northwest corner of the salt meadows between the city and Lordship. There are 200 acres of meadow land in the field, bounded south by the Lordship Road, east by the Lordship Park and on the north by South Main Street, Stratford. Then is a right of way north of South Main Street, so that hydroplanes may land on the river, at Sniffen's Point, come up a canal, 3,000 feet long, and carrying 7 feet of water at low tide, which will enable the water planes to be hauled up to a landing close to the main road. There will be erected a line of hangars. The dredging, building of the dykes to complete the filling in of the low spots of the meadow lands and the elimination of the slice ways has already been started in a preliminary way. The huge ocean dredge to be used in the digging of the canal for the water planes is from the Columbia Dredging Company of New York. It is expected that the clearing of the field of all obstruction and the leveling of the held will be completed by Thanksgiving. By spring the surface of the field will be hardened and solid, and ready for treatment for grass. When completed it will be the first commercial class A field in Connecticut. Hartford has a good municipally owned field, leased by the National Guard and operated under their auspices. The government will make Bridgeport an air mail stopping point provided the city can supply five pounds or more per day and Bridgeport is now averaging nearly ten pounds, plus considerable air mail freight. The new flying field will therefore provide air mail by direct connection. President DeLacour issued the following statement today Bridgeport Airport Inc. is a corporation organized under the laws of Connecticut, formed several months ago, shortly after Colonel Lindberghs transoceanic flight, at which time such a wave of enthusiasm for aviation swept over the country. Bridgeport Airport Inc. has been during the past six months quietly engaged in investigating the matter of a site and the cost of construction of an airport for Bridgeport. It has consulted with the members of the Municipal Airport committee appointed by Mayor Behrens and some of the members of the company were also members of the committee appointed by the Chamber of Commerce to investigate the matter of an airport for Bridgeport. Competent aeronautical engineers were consulted, who flew over the city many times, both during the day and night time. The advice obtained was that the Lordship salt meadows were the most desirable site for an airport for the city in view of the wide areas available in this vicinity, the easy access of these meadows, the freedom from obstructions of the boundaries of any fields selected and the readiness with which such a site might be located from the air. These and other advantages entered into their recommendation of the Lordship salt meadows. Further investigations were made, air currents were tested, prevailing winds were checked up, soundings made in the ground, and, after the benefit of these had been obtained, a lease with an option to purchase was made, with a company owning the property, of approximately two hundred acres of ground with a right of way to the Housatonic River.

November 1927 - MUNICIPAL BODY WILL URGE CITY TO TAKE AIRPORT: Lordship Project, Launched by Private Corporation, Is "Best Proposition Yet." Bridgeport's Committee Expected to Recommend Acquiring of Undertaking Bridgeport's airport committee will in all probability recommend that the city take over the airport which is to be established and developed by Bridgeport Airport, Inc., at Lordship, Tax Attorney Edward L. Kelly, chairman of the municipal airport committee, said yesterday. "This is the best proposition that the committee has encountered thus far," said Chairman Kelly. "The company doesn't desire anything except to acquire and develop the airport for the city. In all probability the committee will recommend that the city take it over. This proposition can be taken over at a tremendous saving to the city." When asked if the private concern of which Colonel Rex DeLacour, of Stratford, is president, has been working with the Bridgeport airport committee, Mr. Kelly said that he and the two other committee members, Augustus Bullard and Edward Willett had known of the company's plans. The city is not in a position to undertake the acquisition and development of an airport at the present time he said. A saving of between $75,000 and $100,000 will accrue because of commencing operations immediately he said. It happened that a huge dredger was in the vicinity and about to start on its way south when it was engaged to do work at Lordship, he explained. The company is willing to have the city take over the airport at cost when it is in a position to do so. Beacons set up at Easton and other points in the hills north of Bridgeport to mark the air mall route between New York and Boston, will soon be moved down to the shore line, it was revealed by Colonel DeLacour of Stratford yesterday, following his return from Washington. Colonel DeLacour is president of the Bridgeport Airport, Inc. and which announced Wednesday the purchase of 200 acres at Lordship for a Bridgeport airport, and also announced the signing of contracts for the beginning of work to put the property in shape for airport purposes. In discussing aviation developments in this vicinity, he revealed that the government is doing much to encourage aviation progress and is constantly taking advantage of data collected in the field to improve the air service. Experience has shown that the air mail beacons set up in the hills north of the shore line are of little practical use to aviators flying by night, due to the fact that the ground fogs which gather in the valleys along the route obscure the rays of the beacons. One air mail flyer reported that in 700 trips between Boston and New York he has seen the Easton beacon but once. The night flyers have changed their course so that they now follow the shore line instead of trying to follow the course by the Airmail beacons. The experience of Commander Byrd on his trans-Atlantic hop is duplicated nightly by the mall flyers. Colonel DeLacour asserted. Byrd "found himself" when he got over the shoreline and noted the white surf breaking on the shore. Night flyers have found that there is a certain phosphotescent quality to the shore line surf and they have been able to guide themselves by this surf line along the shore when unable to see the beacons. Another innovation which may shortly be introduced by the government to aid night flying will be the conversion of lighthouses, such as the one at Stratford point, into vertical as well as horizontal ray light-houses. At slight expense, there will be installed a light which will throw its beams up into the air to augment the one which now throws its light offshore. Both lights will probably be operated at the same time and with the existing power plant. A force of men is at work at the site of the new Bridgeport Airport, located between the Lordship Meadow Road, and South Main Street, Stratford, making preparations for the work of dredging and filling which is scheduled to start today or tomorrow. The huge dredger or "sand-sucker" which is being brought to Stratford from Oyster Bay for the work of digging the canal from the Housatonic River to the Little Neck Bridge, for a hydroplane basin, will be in constant operation, day and night, once it starts in. It is estimated that the dredging work will be finished in ten days and nights, and that the runways built on the main field for the use of aeroplanes, will be ready for use by Thanksgiving Day. The new company has been able to purchase the entire site needed for its airport, with the exception of a small piece near one corner of the field. The failure to acquire this small piece will not impede progress in building the airport, as it will be possible to fill in the land around it. The only change made necessary by the unwillingness of the owner of the property to sell is that there will be available room for but nine hangars instead of the ten originally planned. "I can see a material advantage to the city in the immediate development of the Bridgeport Airport. Inc.," Mayor William Behreus declared in commenting upon the start of a private nature to transform part of the Lordship meadows into an aerial terminal.

NOVEMBER 26, 1927 - AIRPORT COMPANY OFFERS CITY SITE AT PRESENT COST Bridgeport and Operating Company Will Share in Profits for First 20 Years Eventual Cost to Municipality Estimated at Quarter of Million: In order to allay suspicions that have been aroused and to quiet rumors that have been circulated, Mayor F. William Behrens will today make public the report of the special municipal airport committee, the proposal of Bridgeport Airport, Inc., for the acquisition of its port in Lordship by the city, and a statement from himself, noncommittal, regarding purchase of the private company's airfield development. The special committee's report favors the city taking over the airport now in process of development in the salt meadows of Lordship by Bridgeport Airport, Inc. of which Colonel Rex B. Lacour is president. In substance the proposition of the company is that the city takes over the port at cost, to be approximately $250,000 eventually, but the company will share in the profits of its operation for the next 20 years on an equal basis. The company proposes to hand its project over to the city now for $25,000 provided the city agrees to meet remaining payments on its $169,000 contract with the William E. Arthur Company, of New York, and to purchase the 200 acres involved before January 1, 1931, when the option expires and to split the profits 50-50 for a score of years. The $25,000 represents the amount of money expended so far by the company, the initial payment on its contract with the New York concern. It is further stipulated in the proposition that Bridgeport Airport Inc. will operate the field for the 20 years during which the profits will be shared. It is the intention of the company to delegate in its turn the operation of the port to the Arthur Company, now directing the operation of 22 fields throughout the country. During this period of 20 years the city will not share in the cost of operation, that is should the port show a deficit, the city will not be required to assume half of it, or any of it, it is proposed. Bridgeport Airport, Inc., does not now own the 200 acres at Lordship which is involved in the airport protect, but has leased it from the Stratford Development Company. During 1928 use of the property will be had rent-free, but rental will be paid in 1929 and a larger rental in 1930. There is no option to renew the lease, but there is an option to purchase the property at $75,000 on or before January 1, 1931. If the city takes over the port, it will be required to make this purchase. Under its contract with the Arthur Company, Bridgeport Airport Inc , paid $25,000 when the contract was signed. It will make another payment when work of dredging out the proposed canal is started, probably December 1. Another payment will be due, probably about January 1, when the dredging work is completed. The contract provides for the removal of about 480,000 cubic yards of material. The city will be able to take over the port by making payment to the company of the amount expended up to the time of its being actually transferred. Officials of the company expect that the port will be completed and ready for use by June 1. The Arthur Company contract includes all work necessary to put the field in operation, construction of the canal for seaplanes, filling and leveling the property for land planes, erecting of hangers, offices and all other requisites. W. Parker Seeley, as secretary of Bridgeport Airport, Inc. has written the letter to Mayor Behrens containing the proposition, which, the mayor has admitted, will be published today together with the committee report made by Tax Attorney Edward Kelly, chairman, Augustus Bullard and Edward Willett. The private company is actuated solely by a, desire of those connected with it to see that Bridgeport procures the best sort of airport possible early enough to enable the city to keep to the fore in aviation development, particularly commercial, according to its officers with this aim. It has acquired control of the Lordship property and has been co-operating with the special municipal committee. Through the arrangement by which this company proceeded to obtain the field with the intention of ultimately turning it over to the city, the municipality will be able to have airport facilities at a saving of from $150,000 to $200,000 over what it would have cost had the city itself undertaken to secure this same property, it is pointed out. It happened that the dredge to be used was in this vicinity when the contract was made and company officials say that approximately $100,000 will be saved in the dredging alone. It is estimated that about $50,000 was saved in the purchase price because it was arranged by a private corporation. Surveys of Bridgeport and vicinity by members and by aeronautical engineers resulted in the decision that the most suitable site for an airport would be the Lordship meadows, the committee report says. Unlike many other cities which have their fields at a distance, use of Lordship will provide a field within 12 minutes of the center of the city, it is pointed out, a port suitable for both land and seaplanes. The layout of the property and its advantages as to size and situation, will cause it to be designated a Class "A" field, it is understood Although it has previously been reported as probable that the administration would cause the committee report to be approved and the company proposition accepted at the first meeting of the new Board of Aldermen on December 5, it is possible that the project may be referred to a Common Council committee at that time for study. City Attorney Delaney is now inquiring into the legal aspects of the project. Administration leaders as well as company officers feel there will be speedy and favorable action both on the report of the committee and on the proposal of the company, provided nothing now unforeseen develops.

September 1, 1928 - From the Stratford News: Few people in Stratford realize the importance of the new Stratford airport now under construction two miles below Stratford center. In discussing the new airport with The Stratford News, Colonel Rex Delacour, president of the Bridgeport Airport Inc., owners of the new airfield pointed out a few interesting facts never before presented to the residents of Stratford. When the new airport is completed, which Colonel Delacour believes will be about October 18, the day of the official opening, all of the property heretofore listed on the tax records as marsh land will immediately be reclassified as factory land and so taxed by the town. The actual flying field listed on the tax books at this time as marsh land will probably be continued in this class until the next session of the legislature when a bill will be presented seeking to classify flying fields and landing fields so that towns may obtain more revenue through taxation. Colonel Delacour pointed out that while the airport is known as the Bridgeport Airport Incorporated, it is not Bridgeports airport but is listed geographically by the government as located in Stratford. The airport will be listed on all future government maps or aerial surveys of Rand and McNally, publishers of maps as existing not in Bridgeport, but in Stratford. When the committee selected to find a suitable site for an airport selected Stratford as the base of its operations it immediately became a great asset to the town. The building of the airport immediately increased the real estate valuations not only in the vicinity of the air field, but throughout Stratford. It will mean a substantial increase in the grand list as well as the re-listing of the property from marsh land to factory land, a change that will bring considerable more revenue to the town. In discussing this phase of the importance of the airfield to Stratford, Colonel Delacour said that the new venture which places Stratford definitely on the map as one of the outstanding towns in the country will attract to the town new industries, particularly aviation industries which will in turn bring many desirable persons to live in the community. The greatest worry of the town of Stratford and especially the residents of Lordship may be eliminated by a plan suggested by Colonel Delacour and his associates. Mosquitoes have been a particular worry of Stratford for many years and after a careful survey with government officials it was decided that all old motor oil taken from the planes will be spread on all stagnant creeks and streams on the meadow. The government officials agreed that if this is continued the mosquito will be eliminated from the meadows. Another feature of the airport is the inland harbor constructed from the Housatonic River for seaplane landing. This harbor is always available for small crafts during storms and already has proved its value to fisherman working near the Stratford jetty during squalls.

1928Airport

The real story of placing Stratford definitely on the map as one of the outstanding towns in the country began on August 27, 1927 when Colonel Delacour and a group of men decided to establish an airport in the vicinity of Bridgeport. They surveyed land in Long Hill, Bridgeport and Fairfield but the various sites suggested lacked both land and sea facilities. Lordship was suggested to the committee and they immediately sought to acquire the necessary land. When it was definitely settled that Lordship would be selected as the site of the new airport to be known as the Bridgeport Airport Incorporated, the officials approached the Stratford Land Improvement Association, owners of the meadow land and negotiated a lease with the option to buy when the airport was completed. In September 230 acres of land were leased on the west side of Stratford Road and 16 acres on the east side. Plans were submitted for the airport showing a land base sufficient to handle all the aerial traffic in Connecticut and a sea base 1,500 feet long and 250 feet wide at the mouth of the inlet and 400 feet wide at the roadway. On December 1, 1927 the Columbia Dredging Company was awarded the contract to dredge the sea base and fill in the land base. This contract was later taken over by Julius Siebert of New York who estimated that the dredge will have completed its work on October 1 of this year. The specifications of the airport call for four land plane hangers on the east side of the landing field and two for sea planes on the south sided of the inland harbor. The first of these giant sheds for housing planes is already nearing completion. On the north side of the present hangar the administration building will be erected. Work on this building will be started some time next week it is expected. When completed this building will house the administrative offices of the airport, a radio room for sending and receiving, first aid room, waiting room for passengers, ticket office, weather bureau working with the United States Government Weather Bureau and such other offices as are found necessary. The remaining three land plane sheds will not be constructed until this building has been completed, there being sufficient room in the present building to house six planes if necessary. On October 12, the official open day of the airport, the Bridgeport Airport Inc, a concern connected with the Curtiss Flying School of Garden City, Long Island, which has leased the actual operating of the field for a period of two years. The Terminal Company will immediately establish a flying school under the direction to the Curtiss Company and will have competent instructors on hand to teach those who wish to learn aviation. Government and aviation officials are cooperating in the placing of beacon lights in the Housatonic River to guide air pilots to the landing field. A steady burning beacon will placed at the entrance of the canal and on the roof of the hangar a flashing beacon light, similar to the air beacons in other parts of Connecticut will be erected sometime next week. Boundary lights will be place on four foot platforms every 250 feet marking the runways of the field. Near the administration building a flood light throwing a beam of brilliant light for 1,800 feet at an angle of 189 degrees will illuminate the landing surface during the night. This flood light is mounted on a four foot platform and gives sufficient light to allow three planes to come in abreast. An illuminated wind cone will be placed on the roof of the hangar so that the aviator will be able to tell wind direction.

APRIL 14, 1929 - BRIDGEPORT IS TAKING RANK AS FLYING CENTER: Bridgeport is fast assuming a leading position as an aviation center. The Bridgeport Airport, opened for flying on November 11, 1928, has proved a tremendous asset in attracting airplane manufacturers and manufacturers of allied lines to Bridgeport. Bridgeport's air-mindeness has been more and more apparent the last few years and this was stimulated by the visit here in May, 1927, of Major Herbert Dargue, Commander of the Pan-American Good Will Flight. A committee appointed by the President of the Chamber of Commerce in 1927 investigated the desirability of an airport for Bridgeport, its most appropriate location and the approximate cost, and after an extensive survey on September 1st submitted a report favoring the establishment of an airport in Bridgeport and recommending the Lordship Meadows as a site. Shortly afterwards, members of this committee were the leaders who formed a private corporation, Bridgeport Airport, Inc., and announced the acquisition of 250 acres on the Lordship Meadows, with right of way to the Housatonic River mouth, thus making available a site for both sea and land planes. A seaplane canal, 2,000 feet by 250 feet has been dug from the Housatonic River, the fill from the canal being used for constructing the runways on the main flying field. The airport is situated between two improved roads and the mouth of the Housatonic River, within three and one half miles from the Bridgeport Railroad Station. The Curtiss Flying Service is managing the field, which was opened for flying operations on November 11, 1928. One hangar, accommodating eight planes, is completed, and another to accommodate fifteen planes is in process of construction. Shortly after the flying field was made available for flying, one of the largest manufacturers of aircraft in the country, the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation of College Point, L. I., builders of amphibian aero planes, announced the purchase of thirty acres of land adjacent to the airport for the erection of a new plant, and construction is going forward rapidly. Initial plans called for a plant to cover four acres of ground with a floor space of 510,000 sq ft, but March 1st it was announced that production schedules having been increased tenfold a large addition to the plant originally planned will be made. The main plant will be ready by June 1st approximately and production will begin at once.

Airportlayout

1927 Airport Layout

1928Airport

1928 Airport

airport1936

Airport pre-1936

FlyingBoat

1930's Flying Boat

Airport1938

Airport 1938

Airport1947

Airport 1947

The Mollisons crash in Lordship

MollisonCrash

NOVEMBER 8, 1959 - Mollison's Death Recalls 1933 Crash-Landing Here: The death of Capt. James A. (Jim) Mollison, 54, noted British aviator, in a nursing home on the outskirts of London, on Oct. 30, recalled the crash of the Mollisons, Captain Mollison and his first wife, noted aviatrix Amy Johnson at the Bridgeport airport, July 23, 1033, in their plane, the "Seafarer." Twenty minutes by airline from their goal, Floyd Bennett field, New York, the "Flying Mollisons as they were known, crashed in the marshland adjoining the airport in the black monoplane that had just borne them across the Atlantic from Pendine, Wales. Capt. Mollison suffered lacerations of the scalp and abrasions of both legs. His wife suffered from shock and a bruised chest and right hand. They were removed from the almost complete wreck and rushed to Bridgeport Hospital in the Stratford police ambulance, which arrived at the airport before the Mollisons landed and was on hand in case of trouble. The plane, which had landed on its nose in the salty marshland south of the airport, was removed from the meadows by a crew of Stratford firemen under command of Chief Allan D. Judson, now retired; and towed onto the airport. According to eye-witnesses of the near fatal tragedy, the accident resulted when Capt. Mollison mistook his distance in the dark in trying to land on the field, and struck the marsh some 200 feet short of the edge of the field. This occurred after the plane had made nine circles above the field trying to pick out a landing spot. News that the famous flying couple might stop at Stratford for gas had come to the officials at the airport early in the evening, but the word had not been broadcast. When, shortly after 9 p.m., their arrival was expected, not more than 150 persons had gathered. However, Fred Moller, manger of the Northeastern Air Service, had ordered floodlights ready to be turned on as soon as the ship appeared. It was not thought likely that the plane would land for gasoline so near her ultimate destination. As the small crowd waited a radio set in the office of the company was listening to a program from Floyd Bennett field, where a huge crowd was waiting for the plane. As the frequent announcements were made those at Bridgeport airport gave up hope of seeing the plane and were prepared to return to their homes. Suddenly, out of the east, and in he gathering darkness, they heard the staccato roar of a plane. The floodlights were turned on and the revolving beacon on the roof of the office picked up a black plane, without lights, which roared up over the field and disappeared toward Pleasure Beach. But soon she came back again, this time lower and a roar went up from the small crowd of spectators as they realized that here was the ship which at six o'clock the previous morning, had taken off from a beach in Wales bearing one of the most famous flying couples in the world. Capt. Mollison said later in Bridgeport hospital that he did not trust the landing area, although the margin of the field was marked sharply with white and green lights, and the expanse of the runway was well lighted. Aviators, standing on the roof of the Northeastern Air service office building for a better view commented that Capt. Mollison seemed to be intending to make a down-wind landing, that is to come in the same direction the wind was blowing. Some commented that this was a daring thing to do in any case, and a precarious one on a field with which he was unfamiliar. After making nine tries for a safe landing, Capt. Mollison, on his tenth try, come in over the marshes, low down and headed for the field. Two Bridgeport men who were driving along the road to Lordship, told later of hearing the engines stop on the plane as she passed over their heads, but to the waiting crowd at the airport, there seemed to be no stop of the whirring of the twin engines until the sound of a crash. Accounts of the crash tell how the plane plunged into the marshland, its nose striking the soft earth and turning over three times before it finally came to a stop. Captain and Mrs. Mollison were thrown clear of the machine. With the sound of the crash, Fred Moller led the rush from the hangers across the field to the scene. With him went the office staff at the airport. As soon as news of the disaster reached this city hundreds, made their way to the airport to view the wrecked plane. It did not catch fire. Fire apparatus from No. 6 Fire station, Barnum Avenue, sped to the scene to aid Stratford firemen. Dr. Isaac L. Harshbarger, of this city, who attended the Mollisons when they were taken to Bridgeport hospital, said that Capt. Mollison attributed the crash in the Lordship meadows to "extreme fatigue."

Seafarer

AUGUST 4, 1933 - Mollisons Return To Scene Of Crash: Captain Jim and Amy Johnson Mollison returned to Bridgeport today - this time to a noisy, warm welcome from a host of friends, rather than the still white welcome of a hospital. With an escort of air aces the British flying couple landed at the Bridgeport airport, where their flight over the north Atlantic ended in disaster July 23. Frank Hawks, American air speedster, arrived a half hour before the Mollisons, completed a non-stop flight from Regina, Sask., in the unofficial time of eight hours and two minutes, to join in honoring the Britishers.

MARCH 31, 1963 - The crash of a twin-engine plane in Long Island Sound, off Milford, Sunday morning, March 17, recalls to residents of this area the miraculous escape from death on July 23, 1933, of Capt. James A. (Jim) Mollison, and his first wife, the famed aviatrix, Amy Johnson, both of London, when their plane crash-landed at Stratford airport, now Bridgeport Municipal Airport. In the evening dusk of that July night nearly 30 years ago, Jim, one of England's foremost aviators of that era, and Amy, while speeding to New York City on the last lap of their non-stop transcontinental flight, crashed into the mud of the Lordship Meadows. The meadows are adjacent to what was later rechristened the Mollison airport in honor of the flying couple. Just 20 minutes of flying time separated the Mollisons from their goal crash occurred. Fatigued by their grueling trip from London across the ocean in poor weather, the aviators, known as the "flying sweethearts," miscalculated the boundaries of the airport, overshot the mark and plunged into marshland 25 yards from the edge of the landing strip. The Mollison's monoplane, "The Seafarer," flipped over in a double somersault, throwing Capt. Mollison out of the craft. He suffered severe lacerations from bits of shattered windshield. Amy Mollison was trapped in the wrecked plane, but she suffered only bruises and shock. The crack-up of the transatlantic fliers, attracted a large crowd of spectators to the airport, but many were cheated of a glimpse of the pair, who were rushed to Bridgeport Hospital. There the remained overnight, continuing on to New York by plane the next day. First to report the news of the accident was Fred Phelan, of The Post reportorial staff, who resides in Stratford. Two weeks later the Mollisons returned to this city to take part in the rededication of Stratford flying field as Mollison airport. Following the dedication the fliers were guests of honor at a dinner in the Stratfield hotel. A host of famous American aviators turned out to honor the Mollisons at the airfield when their ocean hop had ended. Among those taking part were the revered Frank Hawks, air speedster who later was killed in a plane crash, and Elinor Smith, who held several altitude records. Gerald Shepherd, British consul general at New York attended the airport dedication and later spoke at the dinner. The Mollisons left Bridgeport the next day, but they had made themselves so well known here that their exploits were watched eagerly and applauded by Bridgeporters. In 1934 the flying couple entered the Melbourne, Australia air race and gained a commanding lead over the field in a 12 hour, non-stop 2,553 mile flight from London to Baghdad. Plane trouble plagued them from then on and they withdrew from the competition. Amy, who had set distance flight records in 1930 when she was 22 years old, smashed the England to Capetown record in 1930. Her time was three days six hours, and 26 minutes. That year the Mollison marriage broke up, friendly enough, but each decided that "soloing was their best marital course. They were divorced in 1938. Britain's famous Amy Mollison died in the service which she one said she would choose if England ever went to war. On Jan. 5, 1941, she drowned in the icy waters of the Thames estuary in London after bailing out of an airplane she was flying for the Air Transport auxiliary. Britain was at war at the time. Jim Mollison, who reversed the feat of Charles Lindbergh by becoming the first flier to cross the Atlantic solo from east to west, died of pneumonia Nov. 1, 1959, in a nursing home near London at the age of 54 years. A section of the aircraft's wing and other parts of the "Seafarer," including a canvas and metal cot used by the Mollisons, was presented to the Barnum Museum in 1956 by Gus S. Horvath Sr., Fairfield who was given parts of the plan as compensation for helping in the dismantling of usable parts lot the wrecked aircraft.

MollisonAerialview

Mollison crash 1933

Mollisoncrash1

Mollison crash 1933

SeafarerInFlight

Mollison crash 1933

MollisonPhoto

Mollison crash 1933

MollisonWreckage

Mollisons

MollisonsRecoup

Mollisons

Mollisonplanecrash

Mollison plane crash

Mollisonplanecrash1

Mollison plane crash

Dangers of Flying

JULY 23, 1934 - FLIER UNINJURED WHEN PLANE CRASHES HERE: After an airplane piloted by Theodore Kasilkowski, Stamford grocer, left the Mollison Airport Sunday it crashed in the marshland of Lordship Meadows, the flier barely escaping injuries. Two of the cylinder barrels of the Waco biplane Kasilkowski was flying broke loose flying off into space. The propeller and lower right wing of the plane were smashed in the crash.

May 7, 1937 - HINDENBURG SIGHTED OFF LORDSHIP BEFORE CRASH: Residents of Stratford who were fortunate to be looking skyward on Thursday afternoon at about 2:30 had their last glimpse of the German Zeppelin Hindenburg which crashed to earth a burning mass of wreckage at 7:23 last night at Lakehurst, New Jersey. Sighted off Lordship Point at about half past two, the gigantic dirigible was the cynosure of thousands of eyes as she sailed westward over the Sound on what was to be her last flight. The ship was sailing at about 1,000 feet and was clearly visible from the ground. This was the second time within six months that the dirigible passed over this vicinity.

JULY 5, 1939 - BERNT BALCHEN IN AIRPLANE CRASH AT BRIDGEPORT: Bernt Balchen, pilot for Admiral Byrd across the Atlantic and the Antarctic and now a Norwegian aviation official, and five other persons including Norwegian aviation leaders, escaped injury today when an airplane struck a wire fence at the Bridgeport airport. The accident occurred as the tri-motored ship was caught by a downdraft. The undercarriage and landing gear were ripped off, gasoline tanks punctured and all propellers bent. Those aboard besides Balchen, who is chief inspector of the Norwegian Airlines, were: Richard T. Crane, president of the airline feeder system which owned the plane; Erling Eckhoff, chief of the technical branch of the Royal Norwegian Army Force; Capt. B. Frederick Motzfeldt, Norwegian army aircraft officer; John Gemmell of New York, associate with Crane in the Airline Feeder System and William Warner, pilot.

JUNE 13, 1942: ARMY PILOT SAVES LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT CRASH: The skill of Lieutenant Edward Almgren, 23 year old Bridgeport pilot, saved his life and the lives of others yesterday when his P-47 Army pursuit plane made a forced landing and sank yesterday afternoon in Bridgeports Black Rock Harbor. The pilot who steered his plane carefully between scores of small boats after his engine quit at 1,500 feet sustained only a slight hand laceration. He was picked up by nearby boats. Salvage operations were started early today to raise the aircraft. Lloyd Allen of Westport, who raised the pursuit plane which crashed not far from Compo Beach some time ago, is assisting in the operations at Black Rock.

July 14, 1942: ARMY FLIER KILLED IN STRATFORD CRASH: Second Lieutenant Burdette Wertman, 22, was killed today in a crash of his Army pursuit plane at Sniffens Point, Stratford, after taking off from Bridgeport Municipal Airport. The ship burst into flames and operators from the Vought-Sikorsky Company pulled the pilot from the cockpit of the ship and rushed him to a hospital in Bridgeport where he died. Stratford firemen were called but were unable to extinguish the flames before the plane was destroyed. Lieutenant Wertman was from David City, Nebraska and a member of the Nebraska University football team that played Stanford in the Rose Bowl in 1941.

NOVEMBER 13, 1942: ARMY FLIER WHO PLANNED TO WED NEXT WEEK DIES IN PLANE CRASH: Only a few hours after he had completed arrangements for marrying his Bridgeport fiance next week, Captain Robert Noel of West Virginia was killed yesterday when his Army plane crashed and burned in a field near the marine basin at Short Beach, Stratford. The young officer and Mill Leila Redgate, daughter of Patrolman and Mrs. Edward Redgate of Washington Terrace had planned to be married Monday. The accident and death were announced by the Eastern Defense command in New York. Army officials said that the plane in which Captain Noel was alone, had been in the air for about 15 minutes on a routine mission when it suddenly dived at high speed and crashed about 5:30 pm. The Stratford ambulance and policemen who were summoned by residents of the area where the crash occurred were met at the scene by soldiers who had already taken charge. Earlier in the afternoon, Captain Noel had visited the Probate Courtroom in City Hall where he received from Judge John Flanagan an order waiving Connecticuts five day period for couples intending to wed.

March 21, 1947 - AMPHIBIAN PLANE FORCED INTO WATER, TAXIS TO SHORE: George Zahorsky of Bridgeport was taking a pleasure flight Sunday in a Republic Seabee amphibian airplane when carburetor trouble developed and he was forced to bring the craft to the surface of the water off Lordship Beach at 4:30 in the afternoon. Despite a choppy sea no untoward incident occurred and Zahorsky taxied to shore; the wheels were lowered and the plane towed to the airport for attention. The amphibian is owned by Burton Gallup of Fairfield. Lee Friends of New York City was a passenger with Zahorsky on the trip when the engine failed.

BeckerCrash

Becker Crash

MatthewsCrash1942

Plane Crash 1942

1951Planecrash

1951 Plane crash

OCTOBER 13, 1951 - PLANE CRASHES IN LORDSHIP: Robert Witschel, 31 of Wilmington, Delaware, we injured at 3:15 p.m. yesterday when he crashed his four-seat Piper Pacer plane in an emergency landing near the Municipal Airport in Stratford. The pilot was removed in a Stratford police car to Bridgeport Hospital where he was treated for lacerations of the chin, forehead and both hands and discharged. While preparing to land, Mr. Witschel radioed the control tower that he was coming in for a landing. He said he cut his motor too soon and crash landed in a vacant lot between Curtis Street and Prospect Drive in the Lordship section, one-quarter of a mile from the airport. In landing the plane looped, smashing the undercarriage and the propeller. Witschel said he was on a cross country solo flight when the craft owned by the Atlantic Air Service of Wilmington developed engine trouble over Bridgeport Airport. Stratford Policeman David Campbell took the flier to the hospital. Police Chief Patrick Flanagan and Sergeant Joseph Carten directed traffic at the scene. Inspector Robert Harrison of the Bethany State Police barracks was summoned by Chief Flanagan for an inspection at the crash scene. The plane was later removed to the airport. The Fire Department under the direction of Lieutenant Hans Lundgren washed the area which was soaked with gasoline from one of the planes leaking tanks.

DECEMBER 29, 1970 - METAL EXAMINED IN FATAL CRASH: Officials of the Bridgeport Flight Service, Inc., at the Bridgeport Municipal airport, in Stratford, are in the process of examining a two-foot square sheet of aluminum which was found washed ashore in Stratford yesterday, to determine if it is a portion of a plane which crashed Nov. 29 in the Housatonic River. The sheet of aluminum was found yesterday afternoon at Russian beach, at the foot of Cove Place, in the Lordship area, by Stratford Patrolman Walter Knablein. Samuel Bracca, president of the Bridgeport Flight Service, said there, were no identifying marks on the aluminum sheet, but attempts will be made to determine if the metal is part of the homemade plane operated by Salvatore Corpaci, Trumbull, which crashed in the river shortly after takeoff from the Bridgeport airport. If it is found that the aluminum sheet is a portion of the downed plane, State and Federal aviation authorities will be called in to investigate.

NOVEMBER 29, 1975 - Stratford Men Survive Plane Crash Into Sound: A 55-year-old Stratford man and his 22-year old son escaped with minor injuries yesterday afternoon when the engine of their single-engine aircraft quit on an approach to Sikorsky Memorial Airport and crash landed in waters off Long each, Stratford. Henry Watson of Stratford, the pilot and his son, Warren, were rescued by a man and his wife who were passing by. The couple waded out and helped the men to shore. Both men received minor head injuries, cuts, and bruises and were released from Bridgeport Hospital following treatment. Credited with aiding the two men to shore as they scrambled out of the aircraft, which struck the water, landing upside down, were John and Frances Caporaso of Lordship. Damaged extensively, the aircraft, a single-engined, fourplace Cessna 172, was dismantled this morning and taken to Bridgeport Flight Service at the airport, according to Samuel Braca, operator of the service. He said that Federal Aviation Agency investigators will examine the aircraft later today in efforts to determine the cause of the crash. The men told police they were returning from Pittstown, N.J. and were over the Long Beach area, about one half mile from the airport landing strip, when the engine stalled suddenly for some unexplained reason. Mr. Watson, reported to be a veteran flyer, said the craft lost altitude too rapidly to reach the runway and he was forced to make a landing in the water. Both Bridgeport and Stratford Fire apparatus with rescue equipment rushed to the scene and Stratford police took the injured men to the hospital. Residents in the area also helped the injured men and provided blankets until police arrived to take them to the hospital. Morgan Kaolian, assistant airport manager, was on the scene this morning helping to direct the dismantling and removal of the aircraft from the water. The airplane is owned by the "21" Flyers club, a Stratford based organization headed by Richard House.

1975LongBeachcrash

1975 Long Beach crash

Planecrash1966

Plane crash 1966

THE AIRPORT

Approximately half of the Airport is located in Lordship

1943BridgeportAirport

1943 Airport

1943BritishCorsairs

1943 British Corsairs

Corsair1975

Corsair 1975

Corsairs1944

Corsairs 1947

Testpilots1943

Test pilots 1943

CharlesLindbergh

Charles Lindbergh

1944Pancake

1944 Flying Pancake

1942Corsair

1942 Corsair

1940Sikorsky

1940 Flight

AirportDrawing1952

Airport Drawing 1952

AIR SHOW

Lordship Air Show

AIRPORT ACCIDENT

Parking brake on?

CRASHLEWISGUT

Crash in Lewis Gut

GUTCRASH2

Crash in Lewis Gut

GUTCRASH3

Crash in Lewis Gut

GUTCRASH4

Crash in Lewis Gut

AirportNuisance

Nuisance 1952

AlleghanyAir

AlleghanyAir

Hangeraccident

Hanger accident

ChanceVoughtplanes

Chance Vought planes

Terminal1960

Terminal 1960

Airport1967

Airport 1967

Airport1967expand

Airport 1967 expand

March 8, 1946 - FIGHT FURTHER INDUSTRY ZONE IN THE TENTH: Lordship Residents Oppose Plan To Establish Aircraft Sales-Service Station: Cornelius Ahern petitioned the Town Planning Board on Wednesday for a zone change so that he might build a sales and service station for aircraft at the western edge of the municipal airport, but home owners opposed it so strongly and in such numbers that no action was taken and consideration was deferred until a later date. Mr. Ahern has a plot 360 feet along the west side of Stratford Road and 720 feet deep bounded on the north and west by the airport and on the south by Saint Joseph Cemetery. It was a part of the Ahern farm before the airport encroachment during the war years. The petitioner explained to the Planning Board that the Navy is expected to turn back control of the landing field during the coming spring and he desires to construct the proposed station in order to rent it. Mr. Ahern directed attention to the property being right between the airport and the cemetery and not desirable for residential purposes even if buildings should not be so high as to conflict with regulations which govern landing fields. Opponents did not deny this. Harry Guckert of 1004 Stratford Road about a thousand feet from the site supported Mr. Aherns petition which technically asked that the zoning of the plot be changed from Residence A and B to Light Industrial. Peter Ring Jr., council chairman speaking merely as a resident of Lordship, was the first opposing speaker. The people in Lordship have built their homes on the assumption that the airport is the dividing line between residence and industry and we believe that the town generally has that view. Lordship has taken enough during the war, as we all know, but that is over. The Planning Board to be consistent in its record must protest the small home owners. Every property owner in Lordship would be affected by this Light Industrial Zone. It is too drastic a change. If you permit it others will ask the same concession and our residential territory will be whittled down. Cliff Hutchison of 109 First Avenue speaking for the Lordship Improvement Association said opposition to the petition is widespread but that few residents had known of it until during the past weekend. We had too little notice or there would be more of us here, he remarked. A couple of dozen Tenth District taxpayers were at the session.

Sikorsky Memorial Airport webpage:

  • Sikorsky Memorial Airport
  • Lordship Aviation Airport Hanger Community

  • Lordship Aviation Airport
  • March 21, 1947 - LORDSHIP STREETS AT AIRPORT ARE ABANDONED BY THE COUNCIL: Following discussion with federal authorities and examination of records, Town Attorney William Reeves last week advised Council that no course seemed to present itself in the matter of Curtis Avenue and Birch and Cherry Streets except to accede to the request of the federal government that the town abandon all claim to such portion of them as are within the airport. Council thereupon did so. The request had reached Council earlier from Adrian Maher as United States attorney. Action was postponed until Mr. Reeves could look into the situation. Rights-of-way were not included in the original condemnation by the United States government in developing the airfield, said Mr. Reeves at last weeks meeting in the Municipal Building. We find moreover that on June 13, 1944, Mr. Shea agreed to consider all matter of damages closed. (He referred to the late William Shea, then Town Manager). There seems to be little else for Council to do except to adopt the resolution as contained in Mr. Mahers request. That, suggested Ralph Kregling of the First District will only be clearing the way for the City of Bridgeport to have the land. That is all, agreed Chairman Peter Ring, Jr. The affirmative vote on the resolution was unanimous.

    RETURN TO THE HISTORY OF LORDSHIP MAIN PAGE:
  • HISTORY OF LORDSHIP MAIN PAGE