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Reprint from “Hometown Magazine” Fall, 1992 with permission.  Copyright Ohnick Enterprises 1992.

 Meade Airport

By Nancy Ohnick

Our search for the aviation history of Meade, Kansas, took us to the Meade Centennial History Book.  The book was published in 1985 and contained a history of the airport written by Richard Batman. We also looked to the back issues of the Meade Globe-News available at the Meade County Historical Museum.

In the September 4, 1941, issue of the paper an article told of the budding desire of a group of Meade businessmen to add aviation to Meade’s various modes of transportation:

Meade People to Have Airplane Club

Meade and Plains are becoming airminded. Meade has its airfield started and Plains is condemning some land north of the business district.

There are eight in the airplane club in Plains, some of whom already have their pilot’s license. H.W. Bahnman is the last member to receive his pilot’s license. He has purchased a plane. He wants something faster than a Chevrolet which car he sells and which car will keep his plane running, too.

A bunch in Meade have caught the spirit and a group of eight persons are going into a club. The club is not filled yet. Those who have signified their intention of getting in the air are:  Dean Murphy, Mr. And Mrs. Harold Hartshorn,  Frank Morris, Joe Ross, Thelma Borger and Ed Nuss. Mr. Nuss is also in the Plainsclub. 

According to Batman’s article these men along with August Merkle, Norman Wolfe, Walt Fletcher, Dave Wilson, and G.X. Snodgrass hired instructor Porter Loving, from Wellington, Texas, and started flying lessons at Floyd Watson’s airfield on Highway 54, midway between Meade and Fowler.

While learning, several of the men purchased their own airplane and it was soon apparent that Meade needed its own airport. On August 30, 1941, the city purchased 160 acres of land three miles east of Meade on Highway 160. A large single hangar was constructed that would house from six to eight aircraft. Aircraft of this day were two place, 65 H.P., and had a cruising speed of around seventy to eighty miles per hour.

During the summer of 1947, the City of Meade made arrangements with Alfred J. Collingwood to trade the land at the Highway 160 location for land just to the west of Meade. The trade took place on July 25, 1947, and the Meade Municipal Airport was moved to its present location. The hangar was moved from the old airport and a new hangar with four individual stalls for airplanes was in the plans of A.W. Batman, Harold Hartshorn and Ed Nuss.

On September 11, 1947, the following article appeared in the Meade Globe-News:

Airport Plans Are Shaping Up City Dads are Courteous to Uncle Sam, Seeking Help

A runway fifty feet wide and a half mile long has been blacktopped at the new

airport site a mile west of Meade. Mayor H.E. Hartshorn reported in a talk at Kiwanis Wednesday noon. Seventy-five feet on either side of the blacktop has been graded and will be put in grass. The black topping was finished in recentday by Thompson, the contractor for the re-surfacing of Highway 160 east of Meade. An east-west runway has been graded and will be grassed. 

The grading and blacktopping at the port site sets the city back nearly $5,000, out of the $17,000 that is available. With government aid, an airport plant costing around $45,000 is possible.

The city council is working closely with the Civil Aeronautics Authority, Hartshorn said. In due time an administration building will be put up, to house a lobby, offices, rest rooms, and provide a telephone. Lights to the airport will be run from Meade, and water will either be piped from the city or secured from a well at the port. 

In the early 1950’s a heavy rain and wind storm blew the airport hangar away, destroying four aircraft and damaging several others. Since that time several stall type hangars have been built and the large hangar presently leased by Bringham Flying Service was built in 1970. The office addition was constructed in 1975.

 

 

 

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