Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:

Florida: Northwestern Jacksonville area

© 2002, © 2013 by Paul Freeman. Revised 10/7/13.

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Hart NOLF / Hart Field (revised 10/7/13) - Jasper Intermediate Field (revised 11/5/10)

Mile Branch NOLF / Skytel Airport / Mile Branch Airport (revised 10/15/11) - Paxon Field / Williams Airport (revised 10/15/11)

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Paxon Field / Williams Airport, Jacksonville, FL

30.34 North / 81.72 West (West of Downtown Jacksonville, FL)

Paxon Field, as depicted on the 1929 Rand-McNally "Standard Map of GA with Air Trails" (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



According to Brian Rehwinkel, Paxon Field "was probably Jacksonville's first airfield (with the exception of the beaches).

The small field on the west side of Jacksonville (it has also been described as a 'clearing')

was apparently first used in the early 1920s.



According to information in the book 'Florida's Aviation History, The First One Hundred Years' (by Warren Brown),

this airfield was named for the property owner.

(It was also apparently called Melson Field - named after the road the field was located on).



Bessie Coleman (the world's first licensed black pilot)

was killed in a plane crash at Paxon Field while on the barn-storming circuit in 1926.

During a test flight, Bessie's Jenny went into a nose dive

and Bessie was thrown from the plane to her death.



Laurie Yonge conducted sightseeing flights & flight instruction from Paxon Field

until gradually shifting operations in 1928 to the new Jacksonville Municipal Airport

because of its superior operating conditions (according to material courtesy of Jack King).



The earliest depiction of Paxon Field which has been located

was on the 1929 Rand-McNally "Standard Map of GA with Air Trails" (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



Tom Edwards recalled, “Paxon Field was owned by my grandmother Lily Fay Melson Paxon who married Edward Paxon.

My father, Wilber Edwards, used to collect rent for the field in the 1930's from the airport operator.”



According to Brian Rehwinkel, "I do not know if the airfield was used continually from the 1920s through the 1930s.

Of course Jacksonville opened a new airport (Jacksonville Municipal Airport) in 1927 -

which certainly would have diminished the role of Paxon Field).

However, according to Army Corps of Engineer records,

the U.S. Department of Agriculture bought 173.5 acres of land at the site in August of 1935

(I do not know the purpose for which the USDA bought the land)."



The use of the site as an airfield may have ended for some period of time after it was purchased by the USDA,

as Paxon Field was not listed among active airfields in The Airport Directory Company's 1937 Airports Directory (courtesy of Bob Rambo).

 

Brian Rehwinkel continued, "By March 1941, the land was transferred to the Navy

for use as an outlying airfield for Jacksonville NAS & the training command.

The Navy used the (grass) airfield for training during WW2."

 

A 1943 US Government aerial photo of Paxon Field, from the UF Online Library (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel).

The photo showed the airfield to consist of a simple grass field with three runways, and no buildings or hangars.

 

Jerry Hale recalled, “I remember riding my bike to a plane crash at Paxon Field in about 1944.

It was an F4U Corsair; it made a large hole & the pilot was killed.”



"Paxon (Navy)" was depicted as an auxiliary airfield

on the February 1945 Jacksonville Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described “Jacksonville NAS Auxiliary (32708 Paxon Outlying Field)”

as a rectangular property having a sod all-way landing area.

The field was described as not having any hangars,

to be owned by the U.S. Government, and operated by the Navy.


According to Brian Rehwinkel, the Navy "eventually declared the site excess to their needs in January 1947."


The former Paxon Navy airfield was evidently (briefly) reused as a civilian airfield,

as a “Williams” Airport was depicted at its location on the 1947 USGS topo map.


“Williams” Airport, as depicted on the 1949 USAAF Pilot's Handbook (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



Tom Edwards recalled, “My grandmother [Lily Melson]

sold the property after WWII to a developer who set aside land for the Paxon schools.”



Williams Airport was evidently abandoned at some point between 1949-56,

as it was no longer depicted at all on the 1956 Jacksonville Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

or 1957 USGS topo map.



A 1960 aerial photo did not appear to show any remaining trace of the former airfield.

The site had been largely covered by a school.



Brian Rehwinkel observed in 2006, "The majority of the site is used by the Duval County School System

as a location for a middle school (appropriately named Paxon Junior High School)."



The former airfield layout of Paxon Field, as annotated by Chris Kennedy over a 2006 aerial photo.



The site of Paxon Field is located southwest of the intersection of Melson Avenue & Norman Thagard Avenue.

Norman was Valedictorian of the Paxon High School class of 1961, Astronaut, and a Marine Fighter Pilot.

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Hart NOLF / Hart Field, Jacksonville, FL

30.33 North / 81.76 West (West of Downtown Jacksonville, FL)

A 1943 US Government aerial photo of Hart NOLF, from the FL DOT (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel).

 

This former airfield had an extremely short life in its original role as a military airfield.

According to Army Corps of Engineers documents (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel),

the Navy acquired 220 acres by lease for Hart Outlying Field in early 1942.

The Naval Air Advanced Training Command developed the site

and used it to support flight training operations in the Jacksonville area.

Only nine months later, in November 1942, the Navy terminated the lease & returned the land to the owners.

 

After the Navy left, the field was apparently reused as a civilian airport for several years.



George Winterling recalled, “Hart Field on Commonwealth Avenue just west of Lane Avenue...

My first airplane ride was back in 1943 when I was 11 years old.

My father, Otto Winterling, drove to the 'airport', which was just a hangar & a sod field which looked like a cow pasture.

I climbed into a Piper Cub & sat next to the pilot.

When he revved up the engine, I watched the fat rubber tire out the window bumping off the grassy ruts.

After bouncing a few hundred yards, we smoothed out & climbed over the trees at the end of the field.

We circled the field over Beaver Street (US 90) and made a 'happy landing'.”



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

described Hart Field as having a 3,100' unpaved runway.

It also indicated that Navy flight operations were conducted from the field,

which may have been inaccurate by that point.

 

Hart Field was depicted as a commercial or municipal airport

on the February 1945 Jacksonville Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

 

A 1945 SLR site map of depicted Hart Field as having an L-shaped landing area, measuring 4,000' east/west by 2,400' north/south.

Two buildings (hangars?) were depicted on the northeast corner of the field.

 

A 1945 Navy document (according to Brian Rehwinkel) described Hart Field as having 4 sod runways (the longest of which was 3,100'),

as well as having a 100' x 75' wooden hangar.



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described Hart Field

as a 500-acre irregularly-shaped property having 4 sod runways,

with the longest being a 3,100' northwest/southeast strip.

The field was described as having a 100' x 75' wooden hangar,

to be owned & operated by private interests.



Hart Field, as depicted on the 1947 USGS topo map.


A January 1952 US Government aerial photo of Hart Field, from the FL DOT (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel).

The field (and its hangars) still remained intact, but no aircraft were visible on the field,

so it may have been closed by this point.



Hart Field was evidently abandoned at some point between 1945-56,

as it was no longer depicted at all on the 1956 Jacksonville Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

or the 1957 USGS topo map.



A 1950s photo of a Hart Field hangar.



The airfield appeared to remain intact on a 1960 aerial photo.



A 1971 aerial photo showed that an industrial building had been constructed over the central portion of the airfield at some point between 1960-71.



By the time of the January 1994 USGS aerial photo (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel),

most of the site has been reused as an industrial park,

with the western portion of the former field being occupied by Interstate 295.

However, one of Hart Field's former wooden hangars remained standing, on the Northeast corner of the site.



An October 2004 photo by John Deffes of the WW2-era hangar which remains standing at the site of Hart NOLF.

"There is indeed an intact hangar there at the corner of Commonwealth & Lane Avenue.

This definitely looks like an old hangar, and as far as I can tell, matches up perfectly with the two pictures from Terraserver.

I'd like to do some more looking around the area, but it's largely an industrial area & fences are everywhere."



A circa 2005 aerial view looking east at the former Hart hangar.



As seen a 2006 aerial photo, one of Hart Field's former hangars remained standing, on the Northeast corner of the site.



An undated (pre-2013) photo of a Hart Field hangar.



The site of Hart Field is located south of the intersection of Interstate 295 & Commonwealth Avenue.

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Jasper Intermediate Field, NO-JX Airway, Jasper, FL

30.48 North / 82.93 West (West of Jacksonville, FL)

Jasper Landing Field, as depicted on the November 1936 "Official Airway Map of FL" (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

 

Jasper Intermediate Field (or Site 43) was one of the Department of Commerce's network of Intermediate Fields,

which were established in the 1930s for the emergency use

of commercial aircraft flying along Airways between major cities.

Site 43 was an Intermediate Field along the New Orleans - Jacksonville Airway.

 

Jasper Intermediate Field was evidently established at some point between 1934-36,

as it was not yet listed among active airfields in the Department of Commerce's 1934 Airport Directory (according to Chris Kennedy).

The earliest depiction of the field which has been located

was on the November 1936 "Official Airway Map of FL" (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted the field as having two runways.

 

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

described the Jasper Auxiliary Field as being located 2 miles south of Jasper,

and having two sod runways: 1,800' southeast/northwest & 1,600' northwest/southeast.



The earliest photo which has been located of Jasper Intermediate Field

was a 2/28/43 aerial view looking northeast from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

It depicted Jasper as having 2 grass runways.



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

described Site 43 as an Intermediate Field along the New Orleans - Jacksonville Airway.

It described the airfield as having a 3,600' unpaved runway,

and indicated that both Army & Navy flight operations were conducted from the field.



Site 43 was described in the same fashion

in the December 1944 Army/Navy Airfield Directory (according to Brian Rehwinkel).



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described Jasper Intermediate Field

as an 80-acre irregularly-shaped property having 2 sod & sand runways, the longest being a 3,550' east/west strip.

The field was described as not having any hangars,

to be owned by private interests, and operated by the Civil Aeronautics Administration.



According to Brian Rehwinkel, "I have read this field was used by the Navy fields in Jacksonville

as an OLF during the war [WW2] (although the directory does not refer to it as an OLF),

so it is possible that it was not used a great deal after WW2." 



The February 1945 Jacksonville Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

labeled the field as "Japser Landing Field, Site 43".

 

The February 1947 aerial photo, from the FL DOT (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel)

depicted Site 43 as consisting of a grass field with 2 runways.

There did not appear to be any hangars or other permanent buildings at the airfield.

Note the 2 aircraft (type undetermined) on the field (just northeast of the runway intersection),

and a third aircraft (south of the runway intersection).

 

A later aerial photo of Site 43 from March 1947 (from the FL DOT, courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel)

did not happen to depict any aircraft at the field.

 

Jasper was still depicted as an active civilian airport

on the February 1949 Jacksonville Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

The Site 43 Airway beacon was also still depicted as being operational.



The Jasper Landing Field was apparently abandoned at some point between 1949-54,

as it was no longer depicted at all on the July 1954 Jacksonville Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy)

or the 1963 USGS topo map.



As seen in the December 1998 USGS aerial photo,

the outline of the former runways was still apparent in the outline of relatively newly-planted trees,

which had been planted in neat rows in the area formerly occupied by the runways.

This suggested that the area of the former runways may have remained cleared for some period of time.



A circa 2001-2005 aerial photo showed the outline of the former airfield area to still be quite recognizable.



The site of the Jasper airfield is located south of the intersection of Route 41 & Route 129,

3.5 miles Southeast of Jasper.

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Mile Branch Naval Outlying Landing Field / Skytel Airport / Mile Branch Airport,

Mile Branch, FL

30.23 North / 81.8 West (Southwest of Jacksonville, FL)

A June 1943 aerial view of Mile Branch NOLF, from the FL DOT (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel).



Mile Branch was apparently established during WW2 as one of the large number

of auxiliary airfields used to support Naval flight training in the Jacksonville area.

The date of construction of the field has not been determined,

but it apparently was not a pre-WW2 civilian airport,

as it was not listed in The Airport Directory Company's 1937 Airports Directory (courtesy of Bob Rambo).

The earliest depiction of Mile Branch NOLF which has been located

was the above June 1943 aerial view from the FL DOT (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel).

It depicted Mile Branch as consisting of an irregularly shaped grass field,

with no buildings or hangars visible.



Mile Branch was not listed in the April 1944 US Army/Navy Directory of Airfields (courtesy of Ken Mercer)

or the December 1944 Army/Navy Airfield Directory (according to Brian Rehwinkel).

This doesn't necessarily mean it was inactive by this time -

it may have been overlooked, as one of numerous small satellite airfields in the Jacksonville area.



Mile Branch NOLF, as depicted on the February 1945 Jacksonville Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described “Jacksonville NAS Auxiliary (26907 Mile Branch Outlying Field)”

as a 62 acre irregularly-shaped property having a sod all-way landing area.

The field was described as not having any hangars,

to be owned by the U.S. Government, and operated by the Navy.



According to Brian Rehwinkel, "As with many of the other OLFs in the Jacksonville area,

when the Jacksonville air stations began doing less primary pilot training,

several of the OLFs were converted to bomb targets.

This was apparently the case with Mile Branch.

It was listed in August of 1945 as a bomb target for NAAS Cecil Field.

Mile Branch was owned by the Navy & was listed as inactive by February 1947.

Mile Branch may have been used after the war as an airfield."



"Mile Branch Landing Field" was depicted on the 1949 USGS topo map as having an irregularly-shaped outline,

with a few small buildings along the east side.



"Mile Branch Air Field", as depicted on an August 1949 FDOT County Road Map (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel).

It is not clear from this depiction whether it was a military or civilian airfield at this point.



The former Mile Branch Navy airfield was evidently (briefly) reused as a civilian airfield,

as a “Skytel” Airport was depicted at its location on the 1949 USAF Pilot's Handbook (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



A January 6, 1952 aerial view of Mile Branch NOLF, from the FL DOT (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel).

"In this photo, you can see a small hangar has been placed on the eastern edge of the field & 5 aircraft are visible.

Also visible are the outlines of two runways - an East/West runway & a Northwest/Southeast runway.

This photo was probably taken during the time this field was used as a civilian airport."



The last aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of Mile Branch Airport

was on the February 1956 Jacksonville Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

It depicted Mile Branch as a civilian airport with 2 runways, the longest being an 1,850' "flint" strip.



Terry Brant recalled, “On my 16th birthday, in May of 1957,

I flew a Piper Tri-Pacer over to Mile Branch from Craig Airport

and took my Private checkride with Curtis Jordan who was an A & E mechanic & flight examiner & also operated the airport.

At that time there were quite a few aircraft on the field, including Curtis' beautiful little Aeronca C-3 & about 6 others.

One had to be quite vigilant even back then, because Mile Branch was literally in the traffic pattern at Cecil

and in close proximity to several other airports, including NAS Jacksonville, restricted airspace, and the civilian airport Herlong.”



The last depiction which has been located of Mile Branch Airport was on the 1957 USGS topo map.



Mile Branch was described in the 1960 Jeppesen Airway Manual (according to Chris Kennedy)

as having a single 1,800' unpaved runway.



The Mile Branch Airport appeared to remain intact in a 1960 aerial photo,

but had presumably been closed, as numerous cars were visible on the east side of the airfield,

instead of the aircraft seen in the same location on a 1952 photo.



The Mile Branch Airport was apparently closed at some point between 1960-62,

as it was not listed in the 1962 AOPA Airport Directory,

and it was not depicted at all on the 1964 Jacksonville Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss).



A 1971 aerial photo showed that several more houses had been constructed over some parts of the former airfield.



As seen in the January 1994 USGS aerial photo,

the overall outline of the former airfield was still barely apparent.

The area of the former airfield had been covered by a mix of residential housing & pine trees.

The outline of the former airfield access road was still barely recognizable on the northwest corner of the property.



As seen in a 2006 aerial photo,

the overall outline of the former airfield was still barely apparent,

and the outline of the former airfield access road was still barely recognizable on the northwest corner of the property.



The site of Mile Branch NOLF is located northeast of the intersection of Old Middleburg Road & Marlee Road,

three miles east of Cecil Field.

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