Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:

Central Connecticut

© 2002, © 2014 by Paul Freeman. Revised 3/15/14.

This site covers airfields in all 50 states: Click here for the site's main menu.

____________________________________________________



Please consider a financial contribution to support the continued growth & operation of this site.



Griswold Airport (revised 10/6/13) - H & H Airport / West Haven Airport (revised 3/15/14)

Rentschler Field (revised 4/25/13) - Stephenson Field / Bristol Airport (revised 3/17/07)

____________________________________________________



Griswold Airport (N04), Madison, CT

41.27 North / 72.55 West (East of Hartford, CT)

Griswold Airport, as depicted on the August 1938 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



According to Wikipedia, “Griswold Airport opened in 1931.”



A 1934 aerial photo depicted an open field, with possibly a small building along the west side.



The earliest directory reference which has been located to Griswold Airport

was in the Airport Directory Company's 1937 Airport Directory (courtesy of Bob Rambo).

It described Griswold as a commercial airport, being an 80 acre T-shaped sod field

having 2 runways (measuring 1,800' north/south & 1,400' east/west) and a hangar.



The earliest depiction which has been located of Griswold Airport

was on the August 1938 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy),

which depicted Griswold as an auxiliary airfield.



Grisworld Airport may have been temporarily closed during WW2 (like many other small civilian airports along the coasts due to wartime security concerns),

as it was not listed among active airfields in the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock),

and it was not depicted on the 1945 NY Sectional Chart.



Griswold Airport evidently reopened at some point between 1945-49,

as it was once again depicted on the January 1949 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy),

which depicted Griswold as having a 1,700' unpaved runway.



A 1949 aerial photo depicted a grass airfield oriented north/south, with several small buildings along the west side.



A 1957 aerial photo depicted a grass airfield oriented north/south, with several small buildings along the west side.



Strangely the 1959 USGS topo map didn't depict anything at all at the location of Griswold Airport, just a clearing.



The 1964 USGS topo map depicted Griswold Airport as having 2 unpaved runways.



The 1965 NY Sectional Chart depicted Griswold as having an 1,800' unpaved runway.



Griswold Airport evidently gained a paved runway at some point between 1965-70,

as a 1970 aerial photo depicted Griswold as having an asphalt Runway 6/24 to the east of the original grass airfield.

A single aircraft was visible on the field.



The 1971 USGS topo map depicted Griswold Airport as having a paved northeast/southwest runway.



The 1975 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Mike Keefe) depicted Griswold as having an 1,800' paved northeast/southwest runway.



According to Wikipedia, “In 1985, the Griswold family offered to sell the airport to the town of Madison.”



The earliest photo to be located of Griswold Airport is a 4/23/90 aerial view looking southwest,

in which 4 light aircraft were visible on the airport.



A undated aerial view looking southwest at Griswold Airport showed at least one aircraft on the field.



According to Wikipedia, “In November 2000, Leyland Development Corporation obtained an option to purchase the land,

and submitted plans for a 260-unit housing development, which was approved by the towns' Planning and Zoning Commission.

A lawsuit against the town to stop the development failed, but local opposition was so strong that Leyland withdrew its original proposal.

In the fall of 2003, the developer (renamed LeylandAlliance), submitted a revised proposal to build 131 units.

In May 2004, the new proposal was approved by the PZC.”



Brett Heuer recalled, “One of my fellow instructors landed there with a student, in 2004, so it was still open then.”



A circa 2005-2007 aerial view looking north showed one single-engine Cessna on amphibious floats at Griswold Airport.

The runway was still marked with active-runway markings, although noticeably deteriorated.

A paved ramp led to a small set of buildings & hangars, one of which appears to be falling in.



The FAA's Airport/Facility Directory indicated that in 2005 Griswold Airport conducted 3,000 takeoffs or landings, 100% of which were general aviation.



Ironically the last photo to be located showing aircraft at Griswold Airport is also the one showing the most aircraft there:

a total of 4 light aircraft were visible in a 10/1/06 aerial view looking southwest.



As of 2007, the FAA A/FD listed the owner as Griswold Airport, Inc.

Griswold Airport was described as consisting of 42 acres which contained a single 1,863' asphalt Runway 6/24.



According to Wikipedia, “LeylandAlliance completed the purchase in February 2007.

The airport has been closed since the beginning of 2007.

According to the Hartford Courant, the owner sold the property to make way for a proposed 127-unit development for people 55 & older.”



A 2/4/07 photo by Matt Zwilling of the Griswold Airport hangar & office.



A 2/25/08 photo by Craig LeMoult looking along the Griswold runway.



A 4/30/08 aerial view showed small closed-runway X symbols had been pained on either end of Griswold's runway.



The last photo to be located showing Griswold Airport to remain largely intact was an 11/29/10 aerial view looking north.



An October 2012 photo by Dan Potter of the Griswold Airport hangars.

Dan reported that the Madison Volunteer Fire Department conducted a live burn at the airport: “We burned the old owner's house for practice.

The hangars were still standing but were just bulldozed in the past weeks.”



An October 2012 photo by Dan Potter, “Looking down the torn-up runway toward the west end hangars with construction trucks in foreground.

All buildings are now down to the ground. It will be a town park now.”



The site of Griswold Airport is located south of the intersection of Boston Post Road & Cottage Road.

____________________________________________________



H & H Airport / West Haven Airport, West Haven, CT

41.24 North / 72.98 West (Southwest of Hartford, CT)

A 1934 aerial view of West Haven Airport, taken by the Fairchild Aerial Survey Company (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



The airport in West Haven was established in 1925,

according to the website of the Haley Elementary School (which eventually occupied the site of the airport).

The airport reportedly was a “small but bustling municipal airfield

that specialized in chartered commuter flights, flight instruction, freight service, and aerial photography.”



The earliest directory reference which has been located to an airport in West Haven

was in the 1931 "Airports & Landing Fields in New England" (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It described an “H & H Airport” as being located “2 miles from West Haven”, but did not give any more specific location.

It was described as being an oblong sod field,

with 2 runways measuring 2,500' northwest/southeast & 1,000' north/south, and an 80' x 60' hangar.

It was said to be a private field, operated by Chappy Lenox of the Lenox Brothers Flying Service.



The H & H Airport may have closed at some point between 1931-33,

as no airport in West Haven was listed in The Airport Directory Company's 1933 Airport Directory (according to Chris Kennedy)

or depicted on the 1934 U.S. Navy Aviation Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).



The earliest depiction which has been located of the airport in West Haven

was a 1934 aerial view, taken by the Fairchild Aerial Survey Company (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

The airport may not have been operational at this point,

as there were no aircraft or other signs of activity on the field.

A single hangar was visible on the east side of the property.



An aerial view looking northwest at West Haven Airport,

from the Airport Directory Company's 1937 Airport Directory (courtesy of Bob Rambo).

The field had evidently been reopened under the name “West Haven Airport” at some point between 1934-37,

as that is how it was listed in the directory.

It described West Haven as a commercial airport, being 66 acres in size.

The field was said to consist of a turf field, with 2 runways, measuring 2,220' east/west & 1,085' north/south.

A hangar was said to be marked with the field's name.



The earliest chart depiction of West Haven Airport which has been located

was on the August 1938 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted West Haven as a commercial/municipal airport.



The 1945 NY Sectional Chart continued to depict West Haven as a commercial/municipal airport.



The 1947 USGS topo map depicted West Haven Airport as an open area,

but did not depict any other features (no runways or buildings).



The last chart depiction of West Haven Airport which has been located

was on the January 1949 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted West Haven as having a 2,000' unpaved runway.



The only photo which has been located showing aircraft at the West Haven Airport was a 4/12/49 aerial view.

It depicted 4 single-engine aircraft parked around the hangar on the east side of the field.



The West Haven Airport was evidently closed (for reasons unknown) at some point between 1949-51,

as it was no longer depicted at all on the 1951 USGS topo map.



Haley Elementary School opened in 1952 on the west side of the airport property,

according to the website of the Haley Elementary School.



A 1960 aerial photo showed that the former airport property had been covered by the school

and a number of residential streets.



Many of the streets on the former airport property bear names which recall the former field,

like Compass Lane, Aircraft Road, Skyline Drive, Tower Road, Wing Tip Road, etc.



The 1991 USGS aerial photo showed no remaining trace of the former airport.



As seen in the 2004 USGS aerial photo, not a trace still remains at the site of the former West Haven Airport.

 =

The site of West Haven Airport is located south of the intersection of South Street & Aircraft Road.

____________________________________________________



Stephenson Field / Bristol Airport, Bristol, CT

41.66 North / 72.91 West (Southwest of Hartford, CT)

Bristol Airport, as depicted on the Boston Chamber of Commerce's

1931 "Airports & Landing Fields of New England" (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

 

The date of construction of this former small general aviation airport has not been determined.

The earliest depiction of Stephenson Field which has been located

was in the Boston Chamber of Commerce's 1931 "Airports & Landing Fields of New England" (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It described Stephenson as a commercial field.

The field was said to consist of a 30-acre T-shaped turf field, measuring 2,000' x 1,700',

having 4 runways, of which the longest was the 1,950' northwest/southeast strip.

The field was said to have a 60' x 50' hangar.

The commercial operator was the Reliable Flying Service, Inc.,

and the manager was Gordon Warner.

 

The Pilots Handbook Publishing Company's 1931 Pilots Handbook (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

described Stephenson Field as being 1,900' x 1,500' in size.

 

The Airport Directory Company's 1933 Airport Directory (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

described Stephenson as a commercial airport, being 90 acres in size.

The field was said to consist of a turf field, measuring 1,475' north/south by 1,380' east/west,

and it was said to have a hangar.



A 1934 aerial view of Stephenson Field, taken by the Fairchild Aerial Survey Company (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted the field as having a single hangar on the south side, around which were visible 2 aircraft.



Stephenson Field, as depicted on the 1934 U.S. Navy Aviation Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

 

An aerial view looking north at Stephenson Airport,

from the Airport Directory Company's 1938 Airport Directory (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

The directory described Stephenson as a commercial airport consisting of a 52 acre rectangular field, measuring 2,280' north/south.

A single hangar & some other small buildings were depicted along the east side of the field.

 

An aerial view looking northwest at Stephenson Airport,

from the Airport Directory Company's 1941 Airport Directory (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

The directory described Stephenson as a commercial airport consisting of a 52 acre rectangular field, measuring 2,280' north/south.

A single hangar & some other small buildings were depicted along the east side of the field.



The 1941 USGS topo map did not depict Bristol Airport.



Stephenson was depicted as a commercial / municipal airport on the March 1943 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



The Haire Publishing Company's 1945 Airport Directory (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

described Stephenson Field as a "class s-1" field, owned by Bristol Flying Field, Inc.,

and operated by Aviation School, Inc.

The manager was listed as H. E. Darling.

The field was said to have 3 sod strips, with the longest being the 1,600' north/south strip,

and it was said to have 3 hangars.



The 1946 USGS topo map depicted the Bristol Airport

as having an irregularly-shaped outline, with 3 small buildings along the road on the southwest corner of the field. 



The 1954 USGS topo map no longer depicted the Bristol Airport,

but continued to depict the 3 small buildings along the road on the southwest corner of the field. 



The January 1955 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

still depicted Bristol as an active airfield, although with the note "Emergency only".

It was depicted as having an 1,800' unpaved runway.



The 1956 USGS topo map no longer depicted the Bristol Airport,

but continued to depict the 3 small buildings along the road on the southwest corner of the field. 



The Bristol Airport was evidently closed (for reasons unknown) at some point between 1955-58,

as it was no longer depicted at all on the January 1958 NY Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).



A 1965 aerial photo depicted a large building having been constructed over the site of Bristol Airport,

erasing any trace of the airport.



In the 1991 USGS aerial photo it can be seen that the site of the former Bristol Airport has been covered by a large industrial building & parking lots,

and no trace appears to remain of the former airfield.



The site of Bristol Airport is located north of the intersection of Route 229 & Redstone Hill Road.

____________________________________________________



Rentschler Field (EHT), Hartford, CT

41.75 North / 72.62 West (East of Hartford Brainard Airport)

An aerial view looking northeast at Rentschler Field (with the Pratt & Whitney factories in the foreground),

from The Airport Directory Company's 1933 Airports Directory (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



This former airfield was located only a few miles northeast of still-operational Hartford Brainard Airport.

It was the former factory airfield for the Pratt & Whitney aircraft engine company.



The date of construction of Rentschler Field is unknown.

The earliest reference to the field which has been located

was in the Airport Directory Company's 1933 Airports Directory (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It described Rentschler Field as consisting of a 2,700' x 2,500' turf landing area.

The aerial photo in the directory depicted the large factory buildings of the United Aircraft Corporation

(including Pratt & Whitney, Chance Vought, and Hamilton Standard) along the west side of the field.

The manager of Rentschler Field was listed as B.L. Whelan,

and the operator was American Airways,

which provided scheduled transport along the New York - Boston route.



A 1934 aerial view of Rentschler Field, taken by the Fairchild Aerial Survey Company (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted the field as consisting of a square grass field,

along the west side of which was located a hangar marked “United Aircraft”, and a large factory marked “Pratt & Whitney Aircraft”.



The 1934 Department of Commerce Airport Directory (according to Chris Kennedy)

described Rentschler Field as being a 2,750' x 2,500' rectangular sod field,

with a hangar with "United Airport" painted on the roof.



Rentschler Field, as depicted on the 1935 Regional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Scott O'Donnell).



An aerial view looking west at Rentschler Field

from The Airport Directory Company's 1937 Airports Directory (courtesy of Bob Rambo).

The directory described Rentschler Field as consisting of a 2,700' x 2,500' sod landing area.

The aerial photo in the directory depicted the factory buildings of the United Aircraft Corporation

(including Pratt & Whitney, Chance Vought, and Hamilton Standard) along the west side of the field.

Airline service was listed as being provided by American Airways.

 

An advertisement for the companies of the United Aircraft Corporation at Rentschler Field,

from The Airport Directory Company's 1937 Airports Directory (courtesy of Bob Rambo).



The earliest photo which has been located of an aircraft at Rentschler Field was a circa 1938 photo of a hangar along with an unidentified biplane.



A 1996 Army Corps of Engineers report mentions

that Rentschler was used as a temporary Army fighter base in 1941.

 

The 1944 US Army/Navy Directory of Airfields (courtesy of Ken Mercer)

described Rentschler Field as having a 3,500' hard-surfaced runway,

but the remarks included, "4,000' northeast/southwest strip available."

 

A 1946 USAAF KS-NY Pilot's Handbook (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted Rentschler Field as having 3 paved runways,

with the longest being the 5,800' Runway 18/36.



A 1949 aerial view looking southwest at Rentschler Field (courtesy of Chuck Eisenhardt),

showing at least 6 planes in the foreground, and the massive Pratt & Whitney factory in the background.

Chuck Eisenhardt observed, “You can see the Wilgoos Labs in the upper left, near the river, named for Andy Wilgoos.

This is where they moved the majority of the static test stands.

Also, just across the river, you can see the neighboring Brainard Field in Hartford. Pilots often landed in the wrong place!”



Chuck Eisenhardt recalled, “I grew up in East Hartford, we moved there in 1950 from Hartford when I was not yet a year old.

My Dad was the General Foreman of the carpenters, and later had all of Plant Engineering.

He still kept his office in the Carpenter's Shop on Willow Street.

I worked there a couple of summers - a kitchen utility worker in 1965 & in 1967 at 816 Final Assembly on the line with JT8D & J-75 builds.

I think they used the B-45 as a flying testbed. I can still hear it flying over the back yard.

Growing up in East Hartford in the 1950s would have been like growing up in Canaveral in the 1970s & 1980s,

in the middle of the most game-changing technology of the time.”



An aerial view looking northeast at Rentschler Field,

from the 1956 CT Airport Directory (courtesy of Stephen Mahaley).

The directory described Rentschler Field as having 3 paved runways, with the longest being the 5,800' Runway 18/36.

The operator was listed as United Aircraft Corporation.



A photo (courtesy of Bill Bradshaw) of “an S-51 Helicopter at PWA 400 Main Street during an open house they had sometime in the late 1950s.”



Bill Bradshaw recalled, “I grew up in East Hartford, right on the airport boundary fence of Rentschler Field.

We just called it Pratt & Whitney.

I lived on 113 Risley Street which was in the landing path of then Runway 14.

In years past it was Runway 13/31 but changed in the 1950s to Runway 14/32 due in part to the magnetic variance.

There was a great amount of activity at that airport & it was the deciding factor in my interest & career in aviation.

At one time for a while the East/West taxiway was used as a runway in the late 1950s / early 1960s as Runway 9/27.

I know this by the landing & departures that took place which were right over my house.

During the summer vacations from school I used to ride my bike to 400 Main Street

and watch the S-51 helicopters land in the morning & afternoon that would drop off & pick-up Mr. Horner, the President of PWA.

One day the pilot asked me if I would like to sit in the pilots seat, dog wanna bone, I was hooked on aviation ever since.

There were a great many aircraft at Rentschler:

CV-340, DC-3, BE-18, HU-16, L-14/18, S-51, B-17, B-45; these were at experimental.

I later became friends with the pilot of the B-17 & B-45 - Harry Beech, a real fine person.”



A January 1960 aerial view by Bob Parrick looking east at the massive Pratt & Whitney factory, with Rentschler Field in the background.



A 1962 aerial view looking northeast at Rentschler Field (courtesy of Chuck Eisenhardt),

showing massive Pratt & Whitney factory in the foreground, and at least 3 planes visible on the ramps in the background.



Rentschler was listed among active airports in the 1962 AOPA Airport Directory

with 3 paved runways, and the operator listed as "Pratt & Whitney".



The 1965 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss)

depicted Rentschler Field as having a total of 4 runways, with the longest being 5,400'.



A 1965 aerial view of Rentschler Field (from the CT State Library, via Chris Kennedy)

showed the field to still have 3 active runways.



A closeup from the 1965 aerial view of Rentschler Field (from the CT State Library, via Chris Kennedy)

showed a total of 6 twin-engine aircraft on the northwest side of the field, including one DC-3.



The Fall 1975 issue of the United Technologies Bee-Hive magazine featured an article about the 50th anniversary celebrations at Rentschler,

and the cover photo, showing tours of a 747 & 737, presumably was taken at Rentschler.



The 1975 NY Sectional Chart (courtesy Mike Keefe) depicted Rentschler Field as having a 7,300' paved runway & a non-federal control tower.



At the time of the 1990 USGS aerial photo, the field still had 2 active runways: 4/22 & 18/36.

At least 7 business jets were visible on the ramp on the northwest side of the field.



The last aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of Rentschler Field as an active airfield

was on the 1992 NY Sectional Chart (according to John Franco).



Rentschler Field was closed at some point between 1992-97,

as it was depicted as an abandoned airfield on the 1997 World Aeronautical Chart.



A 6/10/98 photo by Chris Clements of a beautifully-restored Trans Canada Airlines Lockheed 10A Electra

which visited Pratt & Whitney at Rentschler Field.

Note: this visit was evidently after the airfield had formally closed.



Bill Bradshaw recalled, “I was invited to PWA about 8 years ago [2002] and their Library archive has many photos of their existence with the aircraft.”



Unfortunately, at some point between 1994-2003,

a portion of the former airport was redeveloped as Rentschler Field,

the University of Connecticut's new football stadium.



A 2003 aerial view by Jeff Franklin of the remaining runways at Rentschler Field,

with the new UConn stadium on the left.

 

A 2003 close-up aerial view by Jeff Franklin of the new UConn stadium which has been built over a portion of the former Rentschler Field.



As of 2006, the only remaining aviation use on the site was the Rentschler Heliport,

a private facility operated by Pratt & Whitney.



John Marchesseault reported in 2007, “Brainard Airport (an active airport a very short distance away)

has a runway at about the same heading.

A pilot friend of mine was telling me it was not uncommon for pilot unfamiliar with the area to land at the wrong airport!

Last summer a pilot from Westchester NY did exactly that!

Apparently not noticing the giant 'X' on the runway... or the football stadium at the other end.

It was discovered by a Fire marshal at a meeting in one of the stadium offices.

In the middle of the meeting he saw the plane on final & for a short time it hit the fan.

The plane landed safely & took off again, returning to NY.”



A 7/29/06 aerial view by John Jaucher looking east at the remaining runways at Rentschler Field,

with the new UConn stadium at top-left, and the Pratt & Whitney factory in the foreground.



A 7/28/12 photo by Dan Voncent of an Aeronca 7AC Champion which hangs in the middle of the Cabela's sporting goods store

which was built on the site of the intersection of Rentschler Field's Runways 4/22 & 18/36.

Dan observed, “This Champion greets visitors as they walk in to the store to remind them of the history of aviation that the store stands upon.”



Thanks to Andy McKee for information about Rentschler.



____________________________________________________