The Museum
Contact Us
Stanley History
Photo Galleries
Recent History
Order the Books
Topic Index
Site Index
Related Links

Early 1900's

Up Early 1900 The 1920's Stanley Airport The 1930's The 1940's After War Years

Stanley Airport

Airplanes had shown to be a big boon toward the end of World War 1. Afterwards the war pilots tested the endurance of these new aeroplanes as well as their own. Some of the pilots began staging air shows and watching these shows became a very popular form of entertainment. About this time the government began to realize that airplanes could be used for more serious endeavors and the use of planes to carry mail had been implemented. In 1928 the United States was in the process of establishing a mail plane route from New York City to New Orleans and eventually on to Mexico City. Being right in the line of this southern route Stanley was chosen as a site for building an airport for the stopovers for pilots carrying the mail.

Having the airport here in Stanley was a source of great pride for our people as well as for Gaston County. Progress in building of the airport was reported periodically in the Gastonia Gazette.

horizontal rule

On January 14, 1928 the Stanley News section of the Gazette reported as follows:


Work at the Air Landing at this place is now being rushed forward with all contracts being let and the work is to be completed within the next thirty days at which time the field will be ready for actual service."
"As there were fifty acres of land to be placed in good condition for the landing and as a part of this acreage was covered by timber it required a vast amount of work.
"At the present time the steel tower has already been completed, there is now on the ground 9,000 feet of lead cable for underground installation and the other equipment is being placed on the grounds. While some of the other towns and cities are striving after a landing it may prove of much interest to them to know that already the promoters of the field at this place are predicting It is just a matter of time that the field will have regular schedules for handling mail in and out from this point which will give direct service to the North and South."
"The lights for the field will be furnished from this place. The field is an ideal location and located on one of the state highways. It will be easily reached from all directions."
"Already Mr. S. M. Finger, who is local dealer for the Fords at the place, is starting to train for air service and as the time required to complete the course is around five months he expects to be ready for driving a plane in early summer.

horizontal rule

On February 9, 1928 the Stanley News column of the Gastonia Gazette reported:


"The airport at this place is now receiving the finishing touches and it will be ready for the try-out trips the first of the coming month. It is being wired for the power to be turned on to try the lighting system. Already there have been planes passing over the route and just as soon as the last touches have been given to the field it will be ready for landing. Those in charge of the field state that this is an ideal field and that the field will be used for various purposes within a short time."

horizontal rule

On March 1, 1928, The Gastonia Gazette reported on the progress of the Airport as follows:


"The final touches are being given the landing field at this place, including the light connections and the field will be ready for use by the appointed time, March 8, when service is to begin on the Richmond-Atlana route. The field will be tested out beginning with the first of next week and those who have been here inspecting the field state that is is an edal landing, and that the landing is as good as can be found on the route. Mr. L. J. (Luther) Sherrill has been secured as caretaker for the field and the field will have a daily inspection to see that everything remains in first class condition."

horizontal rule

On April 16, 1928 the Stanley News Column of the Gastonia Gazette continued to report progress on the airport as follows:


"Aready the airport at this place has been tried out and been found to be in perfect condition with the exception of the removing of all rocks measuring above two inches and a contract is being let for the removal of these rocks which will place the entinre field in first class condition. The planes were about to come in now from any direction and to make a perfect landing and they have been passing the way in groups as they continue along the route to familiarize themselves with the landings prior to May 1, when actual service will commence."

horizontal rule

The Gastonia Gazette in the Stanley News Column of May 2, 1928 stated the following:

"On Tuesday night there were around one hundred people who remained out to witness the passing of the first mail plane. With the large signal light at the landing in perfect condition and the red, green, and white lights around the field visible for miles, the plane passed at 10:45 P.M. with the motor in the plane making a musical hum. As the plane passed beyond the field at this place it made an upward turn of a few hundred feet and continued on the route."

horizontal rule

Charles Lindbergh Flies Over the Airport

Olin Handsell remembers once when he was working out in his father's cotton field, (they lived not far from the airport), he saw Charles Lindbergh in the famous airplane Spirit of St. Louis as he buzzed the airport on his flight over.

horizontal rule

This was the time in history of the great dirigibles, such as the Hindenburg, the Led Zepplin, etc. Some of them followed the mail route and flew over Stanley giving the townspeople a thrill.

The Gastonia Daily Gazette reported on October 8, 1928:

"The big naval dirigible, the Los Angeles en route from Lake Hurst, NJ to San Antonio, Texas for the American Legion convention, passed over Stanley at 6 o'clock Sunday morning. It was about a mile west of town and was making good time at high altitude."
"The dirigible passed over just as our people were getting up from their slumber. So great was the appearance of the ship that Mr. Luther Sherrill, caretaker of the airport there notified his family that there was a ship coming over that he was unable to describe. He sated the ship was moving about 50 miles per hour and resembled a gigantic fish, some 400 feet in length and that the ship moved very quietly and with great ease. Mr. Sherrill has to make daily inspections of the field and give reports of the movements of planes."

horizontal rule

On September 3, 1932 the Gastonia Gazette reported:

"Luther Sherrill has been busy with a force of men during the past several days at the airport taking down all the equipment of the field with the exception of the tower and beacon light. The field has been discontinued and the equipment is being shipped elsewhere for use."

horizontal rule

Thus was the end of Stanley's Airport which was located on the north end of town near the street now named Airport Road.

Up Early 1900 The 1920's Stanley Airport The 1930's The 1940's After War Years

The Museum ] Contact Us ] Stanley History ] Photo Galleries ] Citizens ] Recollections ] Schools ] Churches ] Community ] Recent History ] Order the Books ] Topic Index ] Site Index ] Search ] Acknowledgments ] Related Links ] Guestbook ]










Back Home Up Next