Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:

Minnesota, Minneapolis / St. Paul area

© 2002, © 2014 by Paul Freeman. Revised 4/26/14.

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



Anoka Flying Service Airport (revised 4/26/14) - Anoka Industrial Airport / Gateway North Industrial Airport (revised 11/14/13)

Northern Pump Airfield (revised 7/4/13) - Northport Airport (revised 5/15/13) - Southport Airport (revised 8/27/12)

University of Minnesota Airport (revised 11/14/11) - Victory Airport (revised 12/21/08) - Whitney Memorial Airport (revised 1/11/14)

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Anoka Flying Service Airport, Anoka, MN

45.19 North / 93.37 West (Northwest of Minneapolis, MN)

A 5/8/47 USGS aerial view of Anoka Airport.



According to “Coon Rapids Oral History Project” (courtesy of Bill Peterson),

Anoka Flying Service Airport was established in 1927 by Theodore Hansen, an Anoka County Sheriff.

Hansen purchased an Waco 10 GXE biplane in 1928 along with his pilot's license.

He barnstormed & gave rides for $3.

Unfortunately, the the 11/16/31 Anoka Union reported “Thunderstorm & a tornado damaged H.T. Hansen hangars & airplane.”

As a result of the storm damage, in 1931 Hansen sold the airport to George Pierce, who owned an auto salvage yard.

With the backing of his other business, the airport began to grow.

Within a few years the field had 4 hangars, 5 airplanes, and a 3,000' runway.



The earliest directory listing which has been located of the Anoka Flying Service Airport was its listing in the 1945 AA Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

It described the Anoka Flying Service Airport as a 64 acre L-shaped property

having 4 turf runways, the longest being the 1,870' north/south strip.

Anoka was said to have 2 wood & metal 40' x 28' hangars,

and to be owned & operated by private interests.



Scott Ewald recalled, "I grew up next to [this airfield] & used to fly from it.

It was a dirt strip run by a Mr. Pierce, with 2 runways, 1 or 2 hangars, windsock & a gas pump.

The main strip ran north/south with a shorter cross runway running east/west.

It was located just on the eastern boundary of Anoka with Coon Rapids, south of Main Street & west of Reisling Boulevard (now called Round Lake Boulevard).

A small neighborhood of 40 homes to the east contained quite a few residents who were pilots during the 1950s - early 1960s.

Folks had airplanes parked in the back yard or modified garage & would fly from their homes.

It was common to watch folks fly in from our kitchen window when I was a boy.”



The earliest photo of which has been located of the Anoka Flying Service Airport was a 5/8/47 USGS aerial view.

It depicted the field as having 4 unpaved runways,

with at least 6 single-engine aircraft parked amidst a cluster of small buildings on the southwest side.

One single-engine aircraft appeared larger than the rest – perhaps a WW2 surplus military aircraft.



The only aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of Anoka Airport

was on the May 1954 Twin Cities Sectional Chart (courtesy of Jim Stanton).

It depicted Anoka as having a 3,800' unpaved runway.



The 1955 USGS topo map depicted Anoka Airport as 3 runways, labeled simply as “Landing Field”.

The primary north/south runway had been significantly lengthened toward the north compared to earlier descriptions & depictions.



A 1957 aerial view showed Anoka's north/south runway had been lengthened considerably toward the north, running all the way to Main Street.

A dozen light aircraft were parked at the southwest corner of the airfield.



The 1959 USGS topo map continued to depict the field in the same fashion.



The last photo which has been located of Anoka Airport was a 1960 aerial view (courtesy of Bill Peterson),

which depicted 18 light aircraft parked at the southwest corner of the airfield.



According to “Coon Rapids Oral History Project” (courtesy of Bill Peterson),

George Pierce died in 1964, and the airport land was sold for $50,000 to Federal Cartridge.



A 1966 aerial view showed the Anoka Airport land remained clear, but the runways were no longer evident,

and all of the aircraft were gone.



Scott Ewald recalled of Anoka Airport, "It later became a bean field with a junkyard on the south side by the old hangars."



The 1969 USGS topo map no longer depicted any of the runways, just an empty clearing.



A 1979 aerial view showed the airfield area remained clear.



A 2003 aerial view showed that houses had covered all but the southern-most portion of the Anoka Airport site.



A 9/15/13 aerial view showed no trace remaining of Anoka Airport.



The site of Anoka Airport is located southwest of the intersection of Round Lake Boulevard & Main Street.



Thanks to Scott Ewald for pointing out this airfield.

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Northern Pump Airfield, Fridley, MN

45.07 North / 93.28 West (North of Minneapolis, MN)

A Summer 1940 original design concept of the Northern Pump Airfield (courtesy of Chris Sorenson).



In September of 1940, with war looming, hurried construction began in southern Fridley on a giant factory known as Northern Ordnance

(a wholly owned subsidiary of Northern Pump).



A Summer 1940 “original design concept” (courtesy of Chris Sorenson) showed a 1-mile long runway

extending perpendicularly toward the north away from the midpoint of a massive industrial building.

This was hardly a safe layout, and it differed significantly from the airfield layout that was eventually built.

For reasons unknown, the planned airfield was evidently not built until a decade later.

Chris Sorenson observed, “Another thing that’s interesting is that the original planned 1 mile runway length proved to be way over-ambitious;

the eventual runways were much shorter.”



Weapon production of 5” guns began in January 1941.



A 6/30/42 print by B. McVeigh (courtesy of Jean Ann Weymiller) depicted the “Northern Pump Company Naval Ordnance Plant”

having a very different airfield configuration from the previous depiction,

with 2 paved runways in an X shape surrounded by perimeter taxiways.

Three aircraft were depicted on the field.



Employment peaked in 1943 with 11,400 workers putting in 12 hour shifts & production going 7 days / week.

.

No airfield was depicted at this location on a 5/8/47 USGS aerial photo

nor on the January 1949 Minneapolis-St Paul USAF Target Complex Chart (courtesy of Timothy Aanerud).



According to Chris Sorenson, the Northern Pump Airfield was built in 1950.



The earliest photo which has been located of the Northern Pump Airfield

was a 1950 photo of a surplus B-25J Mitchell bomber (NL75755, Serial # 45-8883) operated as a business aircraft by Northern Pump Company (courtesy of Chris Sorenson)

in front of the Northern Pump Company hangar at their airfield.

According to Chris Sorenson, “The B-25 was at the time named 'The Bloody Nose' because it was painted red.

In the book 'Follow Me: The Life of John B. Hawley', there is a description of how difficult the pilot,

a WWII Army Air Corps bomber pilot, found it to take off & land the B-25 on the short runways.”



The earliest photo which has been located showing the entire Northern Pump Airfield was a 10/1/53 USGS aerial view.

It depicted the field as having 2 paved runways on the north side of the factory.



The Northern Pump Airfield was not depicted at all on the May 1954 Twin Cities Sectional Chart (courtesy of Jim Stanton)

nor on the 1955 USGS topo map.



An 8/21/56 aerial view looking southeast at the Northern Pump Airfield, with the hangar at the lower-left (courtesy of Chris Sorenson).

Chris Sorenson observed, “The roof of the hangar is painted 'Northern Pump - Private'.”



A 1957 aerial view depicted the Northern Pump Airfield as having 2 asphalt runways in an X-shape adjacent to the north side of the factory,

with an asphalt taxiway leading to a single hangar on the southwest side.



Northern Pump Company operated their B-25J until 1958.

According to Chris Sorenson, “I don’t think the airfield was used much after the B-25 was sold.”



A 4/13/61 aerial view looking northwest at the Northern Pump Airfield showed a pair of paved runways in an X-shape adjacent to the north side of the factory.

Chris Sorenson observed, “You can see the hangar is still there [on the west side of the field] and the north half of the back parking lot is still blocked off.”



According to Chris Sorenson, “I think [the airfield] was officially decommissioned

when FMC Corporation bought the plant from John Hawley, who was its sole proprietor [owner of Northern Pump], in 1964.”



A 5/6/65 tornado caused over $2 million of structural damage at the plant & put it out of operation for over a month.



A 1965 aerial view looking northeast at the Northern Pump plant showed a pair of paved runways in an X-shape adjacent to the north side of the factory.



A 11/28/66 USGS aerial view showed the hangar was removed at some point between 1957-66.

The runways otherwise remained intact.



Chris Sorenson observed that an aerial photo taken “between January 1968 - March 1969” showed that “the hangar has been torn down,

and the back half of the parking lot has been returned to use for parking (it was closed to parking while the runway on that side was active).”



A 1979 aerial view showed the majority of the site were covered by several new buildings at some point between 1966-79,

but traces of the northwest/southeast runway remained recognizable.



By the time of the 1991 USGS aerial photo, no trace of the former airfield remained.



A 6/3/09 aerial photo showed no trace remaining of the former Northern Pump Airfield.



The site of the Northern Pump Airfield is located southeast of the intersection of East River Road & Interstate 694.



Thanks to Mike Kenton for pointing out this airfield.

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Victory Airport, Brooklyn Center, MN

45.1 North / 93.3 West (Northwest of Minneapolis, MN)

Victory Airport, as depicted on the November 1943 Twin Cities Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



According to Timothy Aanerud, Victory Airport was named by Adrain McInnis,

who moved from the South Saint Paul Airport & was an early operator of this airport under a War Training Service contract.



Victory Airport was evidently established at some point between 1942-43,

as it was not yet depicted on the November 1942 Twin Cities Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).

According to Timothy Aanerud, Victory Airport "was certainly open by April 1943, maybe earlier."

The earliest depiction of Victory Airport which has been located

was on the November 1943 Twin Cities Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted Victory as a commercial/municipal airport.



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

described Victory Airport as having a 3,500' unpaved runway.

 

The June 1944 Twin Cities Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted Victory as a commercial or municipal airport.



The only photo which has been located showing Victory Airport while it was operational

was a 1947 aerial photo (from the MN DNR, courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted Victory Airport as having 3 unpaved runways.

A hangar & several smaller buildings were located on the west side of the field,

and over a dozen light aircraft were visible parked on the field.



The January 1949 Minneapolis-St Paul USAF Target Complex Chart (courtesy of Timothy Aanerud)

depicted Victory Airport as having a total of 3 runways,

with 2 buildings (hangars?) on the west side of the field.

 

Victory Airport evidently lasted no more than 16 years,

and was apparently closed at some point between 1949-54,

as it was no longer depicted on the May 1954 Twin Cities Sectional Chart (courtesy of Jim Stanton)

or subsequent aeronautical charts.



The 1955 USGS topo map still depicted the “Victory Landing Field”,

even though the airport had evidently already been closed for a few years.

It depicted the field as having 3 unpaved runways, with a few small buildings around the periphery.



A 1956 aerial view showed that several of the airfield buildings had been removed,

and there was no sign of any recent aviation usage of the property.



A 1960 aerial view showed the property remained unchanged.



A 1978 photo of the main hangar at Victory Airport,

from the book "Minnesota Aviation History 1857-1945" by Noel Allard (courtesy of Timothy Aanerud).

"At that time, the big hangar & other buildings were being used by the Folaside Door Manufacturing Company."

 

As seen in the 1991 USGS aerial photo,

the site of Victory Airport has been heavily developed,

and not a trace appears to remain of the former airport.

 

The site of Victory Airport is located north of the intersection of Brookdale Drive & Queen Avenue.

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Whitney Memorial Airport (2nd location), St. Cloud, MN

45.58 North / 94.18 West (Northwest of Minneapolis, MN)

A postmark commemorated the 6/29/35 dedication of the “New Whitney Memorial Airport” (courtesy of Dallam Oliver-Lee).



The original location of the Albert G. Whitney Memorial Airport (3 miles southeast of the town of St. Cloud)

was relocated to the location described here (1.5 miles northwest of St. Cloud).



The “New Whitney Memorial Airport” was dedicated on 6/29/35, as commemorated on a postmark (courtesy of Dallam Oliver-Lee).



The Airport Directory Company's 1938 Airport Directory (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

described Whitney Memorial Airport as having a 3,320' x 2,574' rectangular sod field.



Ken Chirhart recalled, “Whitney Memorial... My father worked with the WPA in the 1930s to construct the granite walls near the airfield entrance.”



According to John Evans, “The Whitneys were a very wealthy family

that owned a lot of Northern States Power Company & gave the land for use as an airport.”



According to the St. Cloud Hospital, the airport had a revolving beacon light marking the airport,

but this disturbed the sleep of patients in the nearby hospital,

so the city & the hospital agreed to move the beacon to the roof of the hospital.

This allowed the patients to sleep in peace

and gave the beacon light a wider range since the hospital was the highest structure near the airport.



John Evans recalled, “The beacon for the Whitney Field was on top of the nearby St. Cloud Hospital.

We lived directly across the Mississippi River from the hospital.

The beacon was a constant in my life each night.

I would fall asleep with the reassuring soft green & white light coming through my bedroom window.”



The earliest photo which has been located of Whitney Memorial Airport

was a 1938 aerial photo (from the MN DNR, courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It may have been taken while the field was still under construction,

as the most elaborate part of the field's infrastructure seemed to be its entrance road!



A 1940 aerial view of Whitney Memorial Airport, reportedly taken during the airport's opening festivities.

The photo is by Leo Moore, from the Minnesota History Center (courtesy of Barry Kazmer).



The earliest chart depiction of Whitney Memorial Airport which has been located

was on the April 1942 3M Regional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



A 10/16/49 aerial photo (courtesy of Dallam Oliver-Lee) appeared to show 3 paved runways under construction at Whitney Memorial Airport.

Three single-engine aircraft were visible parked south of the cluster of hangars on the east side.



The 1950 USGS topo map (courtesy of Dallam Oliver-Lee) depicted the “Municipal Airport” as having 3 paved runways.



Ken Chirhart recalled, “While still in high school in 1957 I soloed in a J-3 Cub at Whitney.

Later, when I was a member of the St. Cloud State College Flying Club,

I earned my private license in an Aeronca 7AC at the same field.”



The 1960 Jeppesen Airway Manual (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted Whitney Memorial Airport as having 3 paved runways,

with the 4,000' Runway 5/23 being the longest.

Taxiways led to a ramp on the east side of the field with several buildings arranged in a semicircle.



The 1962 AOPA Airport Directory described Whitney Memorial Airport

as having 3 bituminous runways: 4,300 Runway 5/23,

3,500' Runway 1/19, and 3,000' Runway 13/31.

The airport had hangars & offered charter services.

The operator was listed as St. Cloud Flying Service, Inc.



A 4/4/64 aerial photo (courtesy of Dallam Oliver-Lee) showed 9 light aircraft parked south of the cluster of hangars on the east side.



The last photo which has been located showing Whitney Memorial Airport still in operation

was a 1969 aerial view looking northwest by Vincent Mar (from the Minnesota History Center, courtesy of Barry Kazmer).

It depicted dozens of light aircraft parked adjacent to several hangars.



The new St. Cloud Municipal Airport opened in 1970 at a site 3 miles east of the city,

at which point Whitney Memorial Airport apparently closed.



A 1973 aerial photo (courtesy of Dallam Oliver-Lee) showed the majority of the length of the runways still remained,

but baseball fields were being built over the airport site.



The former airport beacon atop the hospital wasn't actually removed until 1979,

when it was relocated to Aitkin (94 miles northeast of St. Cloud).



The site of the old airport was labeled Whitney Park on the 1984 & 1993 USGS topo maps.



In the 1991 USGS aerial photo, a 2,500' portion of the former Runway 13/31 was still visible,

on either side of Northway Drive, which was built over it.

The remaining runway portion southeast of Northway Drive was still marked with a closed runway "X".

A shorter portion of the former Runway 5/34 also still existed.



Matt Haas reported on the status of the site in 2003: "Parts of the runway are still there,

plus a brick wall that was the gate to the airport.

Now it's mostly soccer & baseball fields,

all of the hangars & buildings are now home to Whitney Senior Center."



A circa 2007 aerial view looking west at the remains of 3 runways at the site of Whitney Airport.



A circa 2007 aerial view looking east at what appears to be at least 2 former hangars at the site of Whitney Airport.



A circa 2010-2013 photo looking southwest at the former entrance gate to Whitney Memorial Airport,

which remains in the middle of Northway Drive.



A 5/16/11 aerial photo (courtesy of Dallam Oliver-Lee) showed that portions of 3 runways still remained as the site of Whitney Memorial Airport.



Matthew Ostman reported in 2013, “The brick wall that was the gate to the airport... it's sitting right in the middle of Northway Drive.”



The site of the former Whitney Airport is located at the intersection of Northway Drive & Stockinger Drive.



Thanks to Matt Haas for pointing out the Whitney Airport.

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University of Minnesota Airport, Blaine, MN

45.12 North / 93.19 West (Northeast of Minneapolis, MN)

The University of MN Airport, as depicted on the November 1942 3M Regional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



According to an article in the 10/19/98 issue of the Minnesota Daily (via Timothy Aanerud),

the University of MN has owned a 209 acre property at this site since 1941.

The airport was evidently established at some point in 1942,

as it was not yet depicted on the April 1942 3M Regional Aeronautical Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).

The earliest depiction of the airfield which has been located

was on the November 1942 3M Regional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

 

The University of Minnesota Airport was still depicted as a commercial airport

on the June 1944 Twin Cities Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



The only photo which has been located showing the University of MN Airport while it was operational

was a 1947 aerial photo (from the MN DNR, courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted the University of MN Airport as having 4 unpaved runways.

A single hangar & several smaller buildings were located on the southwest corner of the field,

and at least 6 light aircraft were visible parked nearby.



A 2/25/48 photo of a balloon launch in front of a hangar at the University of MN Airport.



The 1949 USAF Target Complex Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy) depicted the University of Minnesota Airport

as having 4 runways (with the longest being a 2,600' northeast/southwest strip),

and a single hangar on the west side of the airfield.



John Johnson recalled, “The University of Minnesota Airport... I flew out of that airport with the U of M flying club back in 1955-56.

The University owned a couple of Beech C-45s & a batch of tricycle gear Piper Cubs!

They had 6 of them & they rented for $3/hour wet.

You could get dual instruction in them for an additional $3/hour for the instructor.

The airport manager was Ron Staloch. We called him 'Keeplatched' from Staloch.

In 1956 the mechanic was welding in the big hangar where all of the University's airplanes were stored.

His torch flashed back & exploded, killing the mechanic & burning out the hangar.

All of the University's airplanes were totally destroyed in the fire.

I remember that quite clearly because I was about to get some right seat time in one of the C-45s & it was melted down in the fire.”



According to an article in the 10/19/98 issue of the Minnesota Daily (via Timothy Aanerud),

the University of MN Airport was closed in 1956.

 

By the time of the April 1956 Twin Cities Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy),

the University of MN Airport was no longer depicted at all.



A 1957 aerial view showed that 2 hangars still remained standing.

The airfield appeared to have had 2 paved runways,

oriented northwest/southeast & northeast/southwest.



The last photo which has been located showing the University of MN Airport still largely intact was a 1960 aerial view.

It depicted the field as having 2 paved runways, with 2 hangars on the southwest side of the site.



Nearby resident Curtis Olson reported,

"I was told that in the 1960s a tornado came through & leveled most of the buildings."

 

The much larger Anoka County Blaine Airport was eventually built

only one mile to the northwest of the site of the University of MN Airport.

 

According to Curtis Olson, "There must have been some motivation to close that airport & rebuild nearby

(Proximity to the freeway? Lack of expansion space?).

The University of Minnesota ended up owning the site

and for years it was just a big open field...

from driving past it you'd never know there used to be an airport there.

A local R/C club got permission to operate on the site

and so they had a little chunk of asphalt that they flew off.

I went out there many times and as far as I could tell, that was the only asphalt remaining."

 

Curtis continued, "One day I had a chance to fly over in a small plane with a friend who is a pilot.

I was really surprised that from the air, the original runway was completely visible.

Much of the old asphalt was still there,

just from the ground everything was so overgrown, you couldn't really tell.

"In the last couple years the University sold the land

and it is being completely redeveloped as town houses, ball fields, some retail stores, etc.

It seems sad to see an airport go, but what are you going to do."



Nothing at all was depicted at the site of the airport on the 1980 USGS topo map.



A 1980 aerial view showed that the foundations remained visible of the 2 hangars,

along with a somewhat smaller “X” of former runway pavement of the center portion of 2 runways.

 

In the 1991 USGS aerial photo, the remains of 2 asphalt runways were still visible.

 

However, the circa 2001 aerial photo showed that new construction had since covered the site,

with not a trace remaining as to its former role as an airport.

 

The site of the former U of MN Airport is located southeast of the intersection of Interstate 35 & 85th Avenue Northeast.

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Anoka Industrial Airport / Gateway North Industrial Airport (Y25), Ramsey, MN

45.23 North / 93.45 West (Northwest of Minneapolis, MN)

A 1979 aerial view of Anoka Industrial Airport.



This small general aviation airport was evidently established at some point between 1970-72,

as it was not yet depicted on a 1970 aerial view (according to Eric Mibs).

The earliest depiction which has been located of Anoka Industrial Airport was on the 1972 USGS topo map (according to Eric Mibs).



Ramsey police officer Brad Paplham reported, "The other day I came across the raincoat

of the original Ramsey police chief, Mike Auspos.

In the pocket there was a concession token good for '1 hot dog & 1 soft drink'

at the Ranger Aero Fair and the ticket was dated July 30 or 31, 1977.

The air show was held several times at the airport."



The earliest photo of Anoka Industrial Airport which has been located was a 1979 aerial view.

It depicted the field as having 2 runways,

with a cluster of small hangars southwest of the runway intersection.

A total of 20 single-engine aircraft were visible parked on the field.



The airport was renamed Gateway North Industrial Airpark at some point between 1972-87,

as that is how it was listed in the April 1987 Flight Guide (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted the field as having 2 dirt runways (2,500 Runway 16/34 & 2,300' Runway 9/27) each with parallel taxiways.

A cluster of buildings was located southwest of the runway intersection, at which was located the facilities of Gateway Aero.



The July 1988 Minneapolis Terminal Control Area Chart (courtesy of Timothy Aanerud)

depicted the Gateway North Industrial Airport as having a 2,500' unpaved runway.



Gateway North Industrial Airport,

as depicted on the July 1990 Approach Procedures (courtesy of Timothy Aanerud).



In the 1991 USGS aerial photo, the airfield was still open.

A total of 9 light aircraft were visible parked on the field.



Gateway North Industrial Airport consisted of 2 gravel/dirt runways & a small group of hangars.

The primary runway, 16/34, was 2,500' long and had a VOR 34 instrument approach,



According to Timothy Aanerud, the Gateway Flying Club used to be located at this airport..



John Evans recalled, “I remembered flying there & staying a few days.

My brother lives nearby & this was the closest field.

My logbook showed the date to be June 6-9, 1991.

I recall the strip to be very poor, not much grass, mostly soft dirt.”



Gateway North Industrial Airport was still depicted as an active airport

on the July 1991 Twin Cities Sectional Chart (according to Timothy Aanerud).

But it was evidently closed within the next few months,

as it was not charted on the February 1992 Minneapolis Terminal Chart (according to Timothy Aanerud).



The 1993 USGS topo map still depicted the Gateway North Industrial Airport,

even though it had apparently already been closed for at least a year by that point.

It depicted the field as having 2 unpaved runways, with several small buildings southwest of the runway intersection.



Ramsey police officer Brad Paplha recalled,

"I started here in 1994 & all that was left of the airport then was the foundations of the hangars."



Eric Mibs reported that on a 1997 aerial photo, “there is almost no proof of the airport existing.”



A 2003 aerial photo showed that the property has been completely redeveloped,

with not a trace remaining of the airfield.



Thanks to Timothy Aanerud for pointing out this airfield.

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Northport Airport, White Bear Lake, MN

45.08 North / 92.93 West (Northeast of St. Paul, MN)

Northport Airport, as depicted on the April 1942 3M Regional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



Northport Airport was evidently opened at some point between 1941-42,

as it was not yet listed among active airfields in the Airport Directory Company's 1941 Airports Directory (according to Chris Kennedy).

The earliest depiction of Northport which has been located

was on the April 1942 3M Regional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted Northport as a commercial/municipal airport.



A 1942 photo by Milan Gersting from the book "Minnesota Aviation History 1857-1945"

by Noel Allard & Gerald Sandvick (courtesy of Timothy Aanerud).

The caption read, "Tom North's fleet consisting of one Stinson Gullwing & one Cabin Waco,

plus a group of Waco UPF-7's for the CPT Secondary program.

Note the absence of the airmail hangar which had not yet been moved in at the time this photo was taken."

 

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

described Northport as having a 2,300' unpaved runway.

 

Thomas North was the owner of the "North Aviation Company", according to Timothy Aanerud.

Taylorcraft L-2A's were used at Northport during WW2

for glider instruction as part of the Civilian Pilot Training program.



The May 1954 Twin Cities Sectional Chart Chart (courtesy of Jim Stanton) depicted Northport as having a 2,100' unpaved runway.



A 6/1/57 aerial view depicted Northport as having 2 grass runways, with 3 hangars at the north end.



The 1971 Flight Guide (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted Northport as having a 2,100' unpaved Runway 17/35 & a 1,950' unpaved Runway 13/31.

Taxiways led to a ramp on the northeast side of the field with a few small hangars.

 

The 1:100,000 scale 1980 USGS topo map depicted Northport Airport as having 2 runways.

 

The 1:24,000 scale 1980 USGS topo map only depicted a single runway, labeled "Landing Strip",

along with 3 hangars on the north end of the field.

 

Kristin Winter recalled of Northport, “The east/west runway... I did takeoffs & landings on that runway as late as 1985,

while working as an instructor at the nearby Lake Elmo Airport.”



Northport was still charted as a public-use airport

on the February 1987 Minneapolis/St. Paul Terminal Control Area Chart (according to Timothy Aanerud).

 

The 1988 July 1988 Minneapolis/St. Paul Terminal Control Area Chart (courtesy of Timothy Aanerud)

depicted Northport as a private field with a 2,500' unpaved runway.

 

Northport Airport evidently closed (at least officially) at some point between 1988-89,

as it was no longer charted on the February 1989 Twin Cities Sectional Chart (according to Timothy Aanerud).

 

In the 1991 USGS aerial photo, Northport Airport was still intact -

both the north/south runway & the outline of the former northwest/southeast runway were still visible.

All 3 hangars also still remained standing.

In fact, the airport may still have been in use (at least unofficially),

as there appeared to be one white light plane parked just south of the western hangar.

 

As seen in the circa 2000 aerial view,

at some point between 1991-2000 the site of Northport Airport was redeveloped,

with a new street (Ivy Avenue) & several houses covering the site of the former airport.

Not a trace appears to remain of the former airport.

 

The site of Northport Airport is located south of the intersection of Dellwood Road & Ivy Avenue.

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Navy Outlying Field A-3 / Outlying Field 17412 / Hogan Field / Paris Field /

Southport Airport, Apple Valley, MN

44.73 North / 93.21 West (South of Minneapolis, MN)

A circa 1942-45 Navy location map for NAS Minneapolis & its outlying fields, showing the location of field “A3”, also labeled “17412” (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel).



According to Brian Rehwinkel, “The location for Southport Airport (at least the northwest portion) was used by the Navy during World War Two

as a site for one of the outlying practice fields for NAS Minneapolis.

The US Government paid the owner of the land $1,500 a year to lease 149.5 acres of land for the field – which the Navy referred to as 'Field A-3' or 'Hogan Field'.

In a June 1944 real estate report from the Commanding Officer of NAS Minneapolis to the Chief of Naval Aviation Primary Training,

this field was described as consisting of 149.5 acres & was being rented at an annual cost of $1,500 from a Robert Ferguson.

The document went on to say the lease agreement was entered into on 7/1/42.

I don’t know if there was an existing airfield that was leased by the Navy, but it appears the Navy first used the field sometime after July 1942.”



According to an article by Noel Allard in the June 2006 in the Minneapolis EAA “On Final” newsletter (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel),

Field A3 was one of 3 outlying fields used to support flight training conducted at NAS Minneapolis.

Practice would take student pilots straight south from Wold to shoot landings at field A3 (known at the time as Paris Field),

west past Cleary Lake to a maneuver area over Prior Lake, then back to Wold-Chamberlain.

Paris Field had been farmland & was on property owned by Jack Kipp, located 4 miles west of Rosemount in Lebanon Township.”



The earliest depiction which has been located of Field A-3 was a circa 1942-45 Navy location map for NAS Minneapolis & its outlying fields (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel).

Brian Rehwinkel observed, “As you will notice on the map, the Navy assigned a Bureau of Aeronautics number of 17412

(In later documents, the number was changed to 18212…I don’t know why).”



In 1944, the property owner was granted a license to operate Southport as a public airport.



No airport at this location was yet depicted on the March 1945 Lake Itasca World Aeronautical Chart (according to Chris Kennedy)

nor listed in the Haire Publishing Company's 1945 Airport Directory (according to Chris Kennedy).



According to an article by Noel Allard in the June 2006 in the Minneapolis EAA “On Final” newsletter (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel),

On 2/16/46, following the war, the Minnesota Aeronautics Commission licensed Lt. Col. Jack Kipp, to operate as Southport Aero Service.

He had become a decorated Marine Corps pilot, who was flying his reserve hours from Wold-Chamberlain Field.

Kipp told Sherm Booen in a conversation many years later that he purchased war-surplus military aircraft from the government

and kept them in the old farm barn, still located on the field, along with geese that he raised!

From this venue, Kipp sold 12 Stearmans at $150 apiece & a glider with trailer for $175.

Kipp also taught students to fly on the GI Bill.”



 The earliest photo of Southport which has been located was a 1946 aerial view by Jack Kipp looking northwest,

showing the “barn” warehouse, several other rows of hangars, and 5 single-engine aircraft.



According to an article by Noel Allard in the June 2006 in the Minneapolis EAA “On Final” newsletter (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel),

Records show that in 1947, the National Academy of Model Aeronautics model airplane meet took place at Southport Airport.

Hobby shop owner, Paul Ring, was the event coordinator.”



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction of Southport which has been located

was on the November 1948 Twin Cities Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy),

which depicted Southport as a commercial airport.



According to an article by Noel Allard in the June 2006 in the Minneapolis EAA “On Final” newsletter (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel),

Kipp had trained GIs to fly on the GI Bill, but in 1951 with the Bill’s funding dried up, Kipp decided to sell out & move to Florida.

Before he departed, Kipp sold the airport property to George Ellis of a restaurant-owning family.

Ellis, in turn, sold the property to P.A. Rasmussen who owned the Viking Company which manufactured commercial audio equipment.

Chuck Doyle was a stockholder in the Viking Company.

Orville Brede leased facilities at the field to run a flight school & maintenance shop.

Rasmussen shortly afterward hired Willard Steichen from Fargo, ND to take over & run the operation.

Larry Lucken worked as a maintenance technician for Brede & then Steichen.

When Rasmussen died, his family maintained the lease with Steichen.”



A 1953 USDA aerial photo (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel) depicted Southport as having 4 rows of hangars on the northwest side of a square grass field.

There were no aircraft visible in the photo; it was not evident if it was actively in use as an airport.

 

According to an article by Noel Allard in the June 2006 in the Minneapolis EAA “On Final” newsletter (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel),

In 1955, the 2,800’ Runway 12/30 was paved.”



However, the April 1956 Twin Cities Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

still depicted Southport as having a 2,300' unpaved runway.

 

The earliest photo which has been located of Southport was a 1957 aerial view.

It depicted the field as having a paved northwest/southeast runway,

along with an unpaved north/south runway.

Five rows of T-hangars & other smaller buildings were located at the northwest corner of the field.



The 1959 Jeppesen Airway Manual (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted Southport as having a 2,800' paved Runway 12/30 & a 2,175' unpaved Runway 17/35.

Taxiways led to a ramp on the north side of the field with a few small hangars.



An undated photo of a Southport Airport “Fly In Drive In” event from an article (courtesy of Lance Huston).



At its high point in the 1960s Southport was home to over 100 aircraft & hosted airshows.



According to an article by Noel Allard in the June 2006 in the Minneapolis EAA “On Final” newsletter (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel),

In the 1960s, the Blue Angels & Thunderbirds performed at the annual Aquatennial Airshows over Southport.

They staged from Wold-Chamberlain’s Navy Base.

The Sports Car Club of America, Land-O-Lakes Chapter, staged annual sports car races at the field from 1963-68 using the runway & taxiways.

I attended the Southport races & one year watched them while orbiting overhead in a Cessna 150.

Forrest Lovley flew overhead one year & when he wanted to land, chose a break in the races & landed, catching hell from the organizers.

Scotty Beckett, the winner of the 1963 race, told me that the racing arrangements were handled between the club & Chuck Doyle.”



Eric Brown recalled, “Southport Airport... a single 2,800' paved runway. I learned to fly there in 1965.

I received my private pilot check ride in 1967 from airport operator Willard Stiechen, who lived on the airport.

I worked part-time in the FBO shop while attending Airframe & Powerplant [mechanic] school in 1967/68.

I kept my airplane there in 1968/69.”



According to Randy Sohn,

Southport Airport was operated by Chuck Doyle & Williard Stiechen.

 

According to an article by Noel Allard in the June 2006 in the Minneapolis EAA “On Final” newsletter (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel),

Willard Steichen’s son, Jon & daughter Julie, both learned to fly at Southport Airport.

The field became a popular base for local pilots who wished to fly outside the controlled airspace of Minneapolis-St. Paul International.

In September 1970, with less than 100 hours in my logbook,

I bought a Southport-based Aeronca Chief from 2 Northwest mechanics who were on strike & needed the money.

Roger Poore & Cliff Bakko were very patient with me;

over the course of the next few weeks they allowed me to fly with them & shoot a few hours of landings in the Chief…from the right-hand seat.

Neither would let me fly from the left seat while they were in the plane.

When he thought I knew how to handle a taildragger, Roger got out, shook my hand & told me, 'Now you can fly it from the left.'

I spent many a calm evening that Fall & Winter gingerly checking myself out on the airplane.

I can remember the locale very well to this day.

The approach from the northwest was over the red roof of a Dairy Queen store at the intersection of Cedar Avenue & County Road 42.

To the North of the airport was a huge gravel pit & to the South, virtually nothing but open cultivated farm fields.”



Noel continued, “On a fairly warm morning in the Spring of 1971, I attempted to fulfill a promise to give my wife, Mary’s best friend, Sylvia Anderson, a plane ride.

By the time we got to the airport, a fairly strong crosswind was blowing from the north.

I had made a hundred landings with no problems, but had never practiced crosswind landings.

I was a little nervous & suggested that I taxi out and shoot a couple landings before I took Sylvia for a ride.

That was approved by the girls & so I took off and circled the airport.

On my first approach, I marveled at the amount of crab I had to carry to hold alignment with the runway.

I was too inexperienced to know what this meant.

I got one wheel on the ground & then the wind lifted my upwind wing & carried me off the runway.

I didn’t know what I did wrong, nor what I did right,

but I ended up plunk among the freshly plowed rows of black dirt in the field alongside the runway, fortunately right side up.

Willard Steichen & a couple others, watching my plight from the flight office, came running out with grins on their faces.

They helped me push the plane back onto the runway & walked around looking it over.

'Well nothing looks to be broken', Willard said.

I was somewhat confused. 'What do I do now?'

I wanted to know, 'Is this something I have to report, or fill out a form for…what happens?'

Willard just stared at me with his imposing grimace & stated, 'Well, if I were you, I’d crank up & go flying.'

'Really?' I almost groaned. 'Well, if you put that airplane away now, you won’t ever pull it out of the hangar again.'

I reluctantly climbed back in the plane & Willard flipped the prop.

Thinking to myself that I was damn lucky the first time, I took off again & circled once more.

This time, I tried really hard to recall what my flight instructor had taught me about crosswind landings & managed to bounce the plane onto the runway…

but that was enough…I taxied back to the hangar & sheepishly admitted to Mary & Sylvia that this just wasn’t the day for a ride.”



Noel continued, “Willard was airwise in many ways.

Along with maps and student flight equipment in the office, he sold a booklet titled 'Everything I Know About Flying' by Willard Steichen.

I bought a copy & when I opened it I found only blank pages!”



The August 1971 Flight Guide (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted Southport as having a single 2,800' paved Runway 12/30,

with 2 taxiways leading to a ramp on the north side.

The number of T-hangars on the northwest side had decreased from 4 to 2 compared to the 1959 diagram,

but 4 rows of T-hangars had been added on the northeast side.



A 1971 aerial view of Southport Airport, looking northwest.

Photo is copyright George Bordner of Bordner Aerials; used by permission.

A total of at least 7 hangars were visible along the north side of the field,

along with a total of at least 35 aircraft visible parked outside.



An undated (circa 1970s?) aerial view by Noel Allard looking southwest at Southport Airport.



Eric Brown recalled, “The large hangar… was the FBO storage hangar. I reassembled my airplane in that hangar in May 1972.

I kept my airplane there... in 1972 to the closing in 1974.

Stories of the airport's impending closing had circulated for 3 years before it actually closed.

The basic story was that a land developer had purchased the land & was going to build a shopping center.

Well, that certainly was true. In June 1974, I had to move my airplane, install a radio & move to a control-towered airport.”



According to an article by Noel Allard in the June 2006 in the Minneapolis EAA “On Final” newsletter (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel),

Southport Airport property became vastly valuable & the land was sold by the Rasmussen family to developers.

The airport was officially closed on 6/1/74.

The last commercial flight was flown by Viking Flying Service in May.”



A 1974 aerial view by Gary Hanson of the last flyby of Southport Airport by small planes evicted when the airport was ordered closed:

Forrest Lovley's Vega Pietenpol, Harlan Darr's Piper J-5, Gary Hanson's Star Cavalier, D. Duea's Corvair Pietenpol, and Bert Sisler's Whistler.

According to Noel Allard, “The last flight by the sport pilots based there was... a series of fly-bys in salute to the nostalgic country airport.

With that salute, the field ceased operation, a chapter of Minnesota’s aviation history concluded.

A place of great fun, where the essentials of flying were learned,

banners were towed aloft, hangar doors froze shut in the winter, and one could slow-fly backward in a summer breeze.

It was a place where the vistas were always broad & the sky always beckoning.”



Southport was depicted as an abandoned airfield on the 1975 MN Aviation Chart (courtesy of Eric Brown).



Eric Brown recalled, “Southport Airport... I last landed on it in 1976.”



A 1979 aerial view showed that Southport Airport remained intact, including the runway & 5 hangars on the northeast side.

No aircraft were visible on the field.



A May 1986 aerial view by Eric Brown looking northwest at the intact remains of Southport Airport.



A May 1986 aerial view by Eric Brown looking northeast at the hangars which remained at the site of Southport Airport.



A May 1986 photo by Eric Brown looking northwest at the hangars which remained at the site of Southport Airport.



As seen in a circa 2000 aerial photo, the majority of the site of the former airport was occupied by several retail shopping buildings,

and 2 new roads (Garrett Avenue & West 153rd Street) had been built through the middle of the former airport.

However, a 700' section of the runway still remained visible at the southeast corner of the property.



A June 2004 photo by Eric Brown looking northwest along the remains of Southport's Runway 31.



However, Todd Schmit reported in March 2005, “Just this past fall, I went walking along the old runway remains.

Last week, I drove past the old site on the way to some nearby businesses.

A brand-new street now covers all traces of the runway, following the exact compass orientation of the old airport.

The surrounding land has also been leveled in preparation of new construction.”

 

See also: http://www.co.dakota.mn.us/planning/pdf/compplan/2DCToday.pdf



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