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