Humanities has awarded a 2010-11 Research award to the Colorado Airport
History Preservation Project under the direction of volunteer Dr. Penny
Hamilton to begin to inventory the available airport history for Colorado’s
76 existing public use airports and other important airport and aviation
If you have photographs, files, or other
information about Colorado’s community airports, won’t you share them
with us to preserve that heritage?
us by visiting with your airport manager and historical association to
capture the wonderful story and history of your airport.
airports are relatively young. Just after World War I, many
“Barnstormers” literally descended on rural
and introduced a new way of thinking about time and distance. Due to the
vastness of Colorado
and the difficulties inherent in mountain travel, the old saying, “a
mile of road will take you one mile, but a mile of airstrip or runway
will take you anywhere,” was never more true than in
new reality brought to Colorado
by the barnstormers and later, by Charles Lindbergh, resulted in the
construction of dozens of airstrips and even airports.
Before it is lost, the history of each
airport needs to be recorded and preserved.
During the early
Colorado communities and
aviation/airports thrived because of the Works Progress Administration
(WPA) which built runways and even terminal buildings for rural Colorado.
The world was getting much smaller when planes became faster because
distance was now measured in even shorter time. But, by the early 1950s,
many community airports needed upgrades such as runway paving, landing
lights and environmentally safe fuel.
public use-community airports is often a reflection of the leadership
and vision of a few community leaders. If the airport is named after
someone, what is the significance and legacy of the person to that
community and Colorado
history or “herstory?” Almost 20% of
76 public use airports have historic names.
This research on Colorado airport history
preservation is endorsed by the Colorado Airport Operators Association,
Colorado Aviation Historical Society and Colorado Pilots Association.
Colorado Airport History Preservation Project is made possible by a
grant from Colorado Humanities, Denver,
Colorado, and the
National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions
or recommendations expressed on this web site do not necessarily
represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities nor
more about Colorado Humanities at
Join our History Team