Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:
South Carolina, Western
© 2002, © 2013 by Paul Freeman. Revised 4/19/13.
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Ashley Airfield (revised 12/18/05) - Greenwood Municipal Airport (1st location) (added 12/16/05)
Greenwood Municipal (2nd location) / Chinquapin Airport (revised 1/18/12)
Hawthorne School of Aeronautics (revised 4/19/13)
Ashley Airfield, Honea Path, SC
34.45 North / 82.37 West (West of Columbia, SC)
Ashley Airport, as depicted on the October 1948 Charlotte Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
Photo of the airfield while in use has not been located.
This small general aviation airport was evidently established at some point between 1946-48,
as it was not yet depicted at all on the April 1946 Charlotte Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).
The earliest depiction which has been located of the Ashley Airport
was on the October 1948 Charlotte Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
It depicted Ashley a commercial/municipal airport.
The 1971 USGS topo depicted the “Ashley Airfield”
as having two unpaved runways, with two small buildings on the northwest side of the field.
The last aeronautical chart depiction of the Ashley Airport which has been located
was on the April 1980 Atlanta Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
It depicted Ashley a private field, with a 2,600' unpaved runway.
In the 1994 USGS aerial photo,
the Ashley Airfield appeared to be maintained in good condition,
with both grass runways appearing to be well-maintained.
What appeared to be a hangar was located at the northwest end of the northwest/southeast runway.
The Ashley Airport was no longer depicted at all
on the September 1996 Atlanta Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).
Bo Bowman reported in 2005, “It is two crossing grass strips - still well maintained
and one newer hangar, and some older small buildings -
it looks like a radio-control [model airplane] club uses one of the runways periodically.
I did a low pass & then landed there in my Piper Archer Thanksgiving weekend - nice smooth turf.
However, it has not been on any sectional over recent years I am told - although it is used.”
A December 17, 2005 aerial photo by Bo Bowman, looking west at Ashley Airport.
No airfield in Honea Path was listed among the FAA Airport/Facility Directory data as of 2005.
Ashley Airfield is located east of the intersection of Route 252 & Corbin Road.
Greenwood Municipal Airport (1st location), Greenwood, SC
34.21 North / 82.17 West (West of Columbia, SC)
A 1939 aerial photo of the first Greenwood Municipal Airport (taken from aerial photos at the County courthouse by Bo Bowman).
According to Bo Bowman, “The first Greenwood Municipal Airport was dedicated on the evening of June 19, 1929.
Interestingly, on that particular day, this event took second billing to the Georgia & Florida (G & F) Railroad.
This day was also 'G & F Day', celebrating the arrival of this railroad as the 5th railroad through the City of Greenwood.
However, the rest of the week, attention was centered on the airport,
and stunt flying & parachuting exhibitions performed by the 'Charlotte Flying Circus'.
The airport was located on Power House property,
just off Hodges Road”, which later became known as Montague Avenue.
Bo continued, “During the week following the airport’s dedication,
the Charlotte Flying Circus continued to perform & to sell airplane rides.
Featured in the performances were airmail pilot George Shealy, pilot Clyde White, and parachutist Dick Hunter.
George Shealy flew his 'Cabin Monoplane', a Curtiss Robin,
which was a new & advanced model airplane at that time, and quite a treat for Greenwood residents to see.
Clyde White flew a Waco 10 biplane, and Dick Hunter excited the spectators with 1,000 foot 'delayed jumps'”.
There was no airport listed in Greenwood at all
in The Airport Directory Company's 1933 Airport Directory (according to Chris Kennedy)
nor in the 1934 Department of Commerce Airport Directory (according to Chris Kennedy).
Perhaps this field was simply overlooked due to its minor size.
The earliest depiction which has been located of the first Greenwood Municipal Airport
was a 1939 aerial photo (taken of photos in the County courthouse by Bo Bowman).
It depicted the field as having a single unpaved northeast/southwest runway.
There did not appear to be any buildings associated with the field.
The first location of the Greenwood Municipal Airport was evidently closed by 1941,
as it was no longer depicted on the 1941 Charlotte Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
It had been replaced by a new Greenwood Municipal Airport on the west side of the town.
By the time of a 5/14/51 USGS aerial photo,
no recognizable traces appeared to remain at the site of the former airport,
which had been covered with houses.
The location of the runway of the first Greenwood Municipal Airport,
overlaid by Bo Bowman over a 2003 aerial photo on a GIS diagram.
The site of the original Greenwood Municipal Airport is located northeast
of the intersection of Montague Avenue & Roseland Drive.
Greenwood Municipal Airport (2nd location) / Johnson Field / Chinquapin Airport,
34.18 North / 82.21 West (West of Columbia, SC)
A 1939 aerial photo of the 2nd location of the Greenwood Municipal Airport (taken from aerial photos at the County courthouse by Bo Bowman).
According to Bo Bowman, the original Greenwood Municipal Airport was replaced
“by a new airport on the west end of the city just off of Chinquapin Road.
This new Greenwood airport, first referred to as Chinquapin Airport & later as Johnson Field,
was constructed with funds provided by the Works Progress Administration in the 1935-36 time period
and had two grass or dirt runways, reportedly 2,300' & 2,000' long.
Earl 'Bunker' Smith owned a 40-horsepower Piper Cub in which he gave rides & flying lessons.
A group of 6 young men pooled their funds, bought Smith’s airplane,
took flying lessons, and built the first hangar.
They were responsible for the first operations at this airport.
Four of the men in this group were Ed Seymour (who would later become a member of the County Airport Commission),
Truman Witt, Myers Page, and Butler Culbertson.
Other airplane enthusiasts at that time were B. F. McKellar, Jack Whatley, James Telford, and Homer Tribble.
After Bunker Smith left the field, Luther Johnson came to be the next flight instructor & opened Johnson Air Services.
It was after this the field became known as Johnson Field.”
The earliest directory reference which has been located of the Greenwood Municipal Airport
was in The Airport Directory Company's 1937 Airport Directory (courtesy of Bob Rambo).
It described the field as being located 2 miles west of the town, and being 35 acres in size.
It was said to have 2 sod runways in a “Y” shape, measuring 2,300' east/west & 2,000' northwest/southeast.
A note remarked however, “This field under construction but usable.”
The Airport Directory Company's 1938 Airport Directory (according to Chris Kennedy)
described the field in the same manner.
The earliest depiction which has been located of the 2nd location of the Greenwood Municipal Airport
was a 1939 aerial photo (taken of photos in the County courthouse by Bo Bowman).
It depicted the field as having two unpaved runways,
oriented northeast/southwest & northwest/southeast.
A small building (or set of buildings) appeared to be located on the east side of the field.
According to Bo Bowman, “In 1940 a government-sponsored Civilian Air Training course was begun at this airport.
The first class had approximately 30 students including young men & young women.
Tracy Jackson taught ground instruction & Luther Johnson gave flying lessons.
These classes were continued into the early 1940s.”
The earliest chart depiction which has been located of the Greenwood Municipal Airport
was on the 1941 Charlotte Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
A circa late 1944 picture of one of the Erskine pre-cadet screening classes at Johnson Field (courtesy of Bo Bowman).
Bo observed, “Instructors are kneeling & some standing in the front row.
A fleet of about 15 airplanes, mostly J-3 Cubs, would be stored at night tails-up in Luther Johnson's hangar.
This hangar was eventually moved to the Greenwood County Airport & remains there in use today .”
According to Bo Bowman, “In the 1944-45 time period, working with Luther Johnson,
the Army Air Service hired a staff of contracted instructors to provide preliminary screening instruction
to potential air cadets bused in from nearby Erskine College.
This was part of an Army program to reduce the 'washout' rate being experienced at the major Air Cadet flying schools.
According to Jack Northrup (one of the former instructors),
there was a staff of about 10-15 instructors, and each class had about 60 students.”
The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock) described Greenwood Municipal Airport
as a 52 acre T-shaped property within which were 2 sod runways, measuring 2,350' northeast/southwest & 2,000' WNW/ESE.
The field was said to have a single 60' square steel hangar,
was owned by Greenwood County & the City of Greenwood, and operated by private interests.
The last aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of the 2nd location of the Greenwood Municipal Airport
was on the October 1948 Charlotte Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).
Note that it also depicted the new “Greenwood County” Airport (north of the town),
which would eventually replace the older airport.
According to Bo Bowman, “The Chinquapin Airport property was sold in 1948
and a housing development was constructed along both runways.
The funds from the sale of the property went towards a new terminal building
at the new Greenwood County Airport (formerly Coronaca Army Air Field).
Two hangars were moved to the new airport.”
The last depiction which has been located of the 2nd location of the Greenwood Municipal Airport was on the 1949 USGS topo map.
It depicted the field as having 2 paved runways, a taxiway, and several small buildings, labeled simply as “Airport”.
By the time of the August 1954 Charlotte Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy),
the 2nd location of the Greenwood Municipal Airport was no longer depicted.
By the time of the 1999 USGS aerial photo,
no recognizable traces appeared to remain at the site of the former airport.
The location of the runways of the 2nd location of the Greenwood Municipal Airport,
overlaid by Bo Bowman over a 2003 aerial photo on a GIS diagram.
According to Bo, “One runway is now Marietta Drive, and the other is Westgate Drive.”
Hawthorne School of Aeronautics, Orangeburg, SC
33.42 North / 80.85 West (South of Columbia, SC)
The Hawthorne School of Aeronautics airfield,
as depicted on the September 1942 14M Regional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
The Hawthorne School of Aeronautics was a civilian flying school
which was chosen by the Army Air Corps in 1940 to provide primary flight training for its pilots.
This training commenced in 1941, using the Boeing PT-17 Stearman biplane.
The date of construction of Hawthorne's airfield is unknown.
No indication has been found that it existed prior to WW2 -
it evidently was built by the Hawthorne School of Aeronautics at the beginning of their contract.
The Hawthorne airfield was not yet depicted at all on the November 1941 Savannah Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).
The earliest depiction of the airfield which has been located
was on the September 1942 14M Regional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
It depicted Hawthorne as a military airfield.
The Hawthorne airfield was not depicted at all on the 1943 USGS topo map.
The September 1943 Savannah Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)
depicted Hawthorne as a commercial or municipal airport.
The president of Hawthorne was Beverly "Bevo" Howard,
who had learned to fly at the age of 16.
The military designation of the Hawthorne school was the 2162nd AAFBU.
A circa 1940s picture of the buildings of the Hawthorne School of Aeronautics (courtesy of George Miller).
A circa 1940s sketch of the Hawthorne School of Aeronautics at Orangeburg (courtesy of John Lees).
John reported, “My father [Charles Lees] learned to fly at the Hawthorne School of Aeronautics in WW2.
His first solo flight occurred there.”
The sketch depicted the facility as consisting of a group of housing buildings surrounding an oval-shaped grass area at the northern end of the property.
A pair of hangars sat just to the south,
and just to the south of the hangars was a large paved ramp area, on which were a large number of aircraft.
A large open grass area to the south of the ramp evidently constituted the flying field
(apparently there were no paved runways).
The primary trainer used at Orangeburg by the Hawthorne School of Aeronautics, the Boeing PT-17 Stearman.
A circa 1943-45 aerial view looking north from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock)
depicted at Hawthorne Field as consisting of an open grass area with a complex of buildings on the north side.
The directory described Hawthorne a 531 acre rectangular property within which was a sod all-way field, measuring 5,230' northeast/southwest.
The field was said to have 2 steel hangars, measuring 180' x 140' & 140' x 120'.
Hawthorne Field was described as being owned by the City of Orangeburg, to be operated by private interests,
and to have 3 auxiliary fields: Auxiliary Field #1 (Jennings Airport) 3 miles north, Auxiliary Field #2 (Hagood Field) 9 miles east,
and Auxiliary Field #3 (Kennedy Field) 10 miles west.
A 1943 photo of Thomas Harnish (2nd from right) & 4 other fliers in front of a Stearman at the Hawthorne School of Aeronautics.
During the Second World War, Hawthorne trained 5,924 military pilots at Orangeburg,
including more than 2,000 French Air Force students.
For his leadership, Bevo Howard was presented the French Air Force Wings,
the coveted French Medaille de L'Aeronautique,
and later the Ordre National de la Legion D'Honneur for his pilot training & accomplishments as an aerobatic flyer.
A 1944 aerial view looking southeast at the Hawthorne School of Aeronautics, showing a ramp with dozens of trainers.
A 1944 photo of an unidentified pilot in a PT-17 Stearman at the Hawthorne School of Aeronautics.
The Hawthorne School of Aeronautics ceased operations at Orangeburg at the end of WW2,
but went on to continue operations at Jacksonville FL & Moultrie GA.
The firm eventually became the large Piedmont-Hawthorne chain of aviation Fixed Base Operators,
which continues in business as of 2003.
It is not known if the former Hawthorne airfield at Orangeburg was ever reused after WW2.
It was definitely abandoned by 1949,
as it was not depicted at all on the 1949 Savannah Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy)
or subsequent Sectional Charts.
A 9/1/64 USGS aerial photo showed the distinctive layout of the Hawthorne flying school buildings at the north end.
Some kind of large industrial building had been constructed over the middle portion of the airfield.
A plaque honoring the Hawthorne School of Aeronautics.
The 2 hangars from the flying school were relocated at some point to the Orangeburg Municipal Airport (3 miles north),
at which there is also an excellent historical display of the activities of the Hawthorne school.
In the 1994 USGS aerial photo,
the area of the former flying field was occupied by what appears to be some kind of large industrial building,
along with wastewater ponds & a railroad spur leading on the to the property
from the line of the Southern Railroad which runs along the east side of the site.
A 2002 photo by George Miller of the remains of the asphalt aircraft ramp area at Orangeburg.
A 2002 photo by George Miller of a historical marker erected in 1991
by the WW2 Hawthorne Pilot Training Association & French pilot association.
According to George Miller,
the site of the housing area at the northern end of the former airfield is currently used as a Methodist Home.
The only recognizable remains of an airfield are some minor hardstands.
The airfield site is located at the western terminus of State Route S38 57, west of Route 21,
five miles south of Orangeburg.
Thanks to George Miller for pointing out this airfield.
See also: (in French) http://perso.wanadoo.fr/patrice.laverdet/html/cfpna_hawthorne.htm
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