Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:

Texas, Southeastern Houston area

© 2002, © 2014 by Paul Freeman. Revised 6/23/14.

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Davis Aux AAF #3 (revised 4/22/12) - Genoa Airport (revised 4/25/12) - Hitchcock NAS (revised 6/23/14)

Clear Lake Metro Port (revised 4/25/12) - Pearland Municipal (revised 3/19/13) - Red Bluff Auxiliary Army Airfield #1 (revised 4/22/12)

S & S Patrol Field (revised 4/22/12) - Spaceland Airport / Houston Gulf Airport (revised 3/19/13)



Red Bluff Auxiliary Army Airfield #1, Seabrook, TX

29.6 North / 95.02 West (Southeast of Houston, TX)

“Aux. #1 (Red Bluff)", as depicted on the January 1944 San Antonio Sectional Chart (courtesy of Ron Plante).

Photo of the airfield while in use has not been located.

 

This former airfield was established during WW2 as one of 3 auxiliary airfields

used to support flight training operations at nearby Ellington Army Airfield.

 

No airfield at this location was yet depicted

on the June 1943 San Antonio Sectional Chart (courtesy of Richard Doehring).



The earliest depiction of the field which has been located

was on the January 1944 San Antonio Sectional Chart (courtesy of Ron Plante).

It labeled the field as “Aux. #1 (Red Bluff)".



The earliest photo which has been located of the Red Bluff airfield was a 2/29/44 aerial view looking west (courtesy of Ron Plante).

The field consisted of 3 runways. There did not appear to be any buildings.

 

The last aeronautical chart depiction of Red Bluff #1 which has been located

was on the July 1945 San Antonio Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted "#1" as an auxiliary airfield.



The earliest topo map depiction that has been located of the Red Bluff Airfield was on the 1955 USGS topo map.

It depicted “Airfield (Aban'd)” as having 3 unpaved runways.

 

A 1957 aerial view depicted the 3 runways somewhat deteriorated but mostly intact,

although a road had crossed over the southern portion of the airfield at some point between 1944-57.



The airfield was no longer depicted at all on the 1964 San Antonio Sectional Chart.



The 1969 USGS topo map depicted the abandoned airfield in the same fashion as on the 1955 USGS topo map.



A 1973 aerial view depicted the airfield remains in an unchanged manner as seen in 1957.



A 1978 aerial view showed that a larger road had been built through the airfield site at some point between 1973-81,

and a shipping channel had been cut into the northwest corner of the airfield site.

Only the faintest traces were still recognizable of the runways.



A 1981 aerial view depicted the same conditions.



The 1982 USGS topo map no longer depicted the runways at all.



A 2002 aerial view showed that an industrial facility covered most of the site, and no traces remained of the former airfield.



An 11/29/11 aerial photo showed that no trace remains of the former Red Bluff Auxiliary Army Airfield #1.

 

The site of Red Bluff Aux #1 is located southeast of the intersection of Port Drive & Old Highway 146.



Davis Auxiliary Army Airfield #3, League City, TX

29.53 North / 95.06 West (Southeast of Houston, TX)

“Aux. #3 (League-Davis)", as depicted on the January 1944 San Antonio Sectional Chart (courtesy of Ron Plante).

Photo of the airfield while in use has not been located.

 

This former airfield was established during WW2 as one of 3 auxiliary airfields

used to support flight training operations at nearby Ellington Army Airfield.

 

According to Muller's "Air Force Bases" Volume 1 (via Ron Plante),

"Davis Aux Fld #3" was acquired in early 1942 as an auxiliary of Ellington Army Airfield.

 

No airfield at this location was yet depicted

on the June 1943 San Antonio Sectional Chart (courtesy of Richard Doehring)

nor on the January 1944 San Antonio Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).



The earliest depiction of the field which has been located

was on the January 1944 San Antonio Sectional Chart (courtesy of Ron Plante).

It labeled the field as “Aux. #3 (League-Davis)".



The earliest photo which has been located of the Davis airfield was a 2/29/44 aerial view (courtesy of Ron Plante).

The field consisted of 3 runways. There did not appear to be any buildings.

 

The last aeronautical chart depiction of Davis #3 which has been located

was on the July 1945 San Antonio Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

It depicted "#3" as an auxiliary airfield.

 

The date of closure of Davis Aux #3 has not been determined,

but custody of the airfield property was assumed by the Army Division Engineers on 4/10/46

(according to Muller's "Air Force Bases" Volume 1, via Ron Plante).

 

The airfield was no longer depicted at all on the January 1949 San Antonio Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).



The earliest topo map depiction that has been located of the Davis Airfield was on the 1955 USGS topo map.

It depicted “Airfield (Aban'd)” as having 3 unpaved runways.



A 1957 aerial view depicted the airfield as having 3 runways, significantly deteriorated since 1944.



A 1964 aerial view showed that a canal had been cut through the northwestern portion of the airfield

at some point between 1957-64.



The 1969 USGS topo map still depicted the abandoned airfield with 3 runways.



A 3/5/78 aerial view showed 3 runways of the abandoned Davis Aux #3 Army Airfield still visible.



A 1981 aerial view showed that the outline of the runways were still recognizable,

but some clearing was evident for new construction in the center of the former airfield.



The 1982 USGS topo map no longer depicted the runways at all.



At some point between 1981-87 all traces of the former airfield were removed

when the property was covered by new housing & the South Shore Harbour Country Club, as seen in a 1987 aerial photo.

 

As seen in the 2002 USGS aerial photo, not a trace remains of the former Davis Auxiliary Army Airfield #3.

 

The site of Davis Aux #3 is located northeast of the intersection of Route 518 & Marina Bay Drive.

Genoa Airport (T03), Genoa, TX

29.63 North / 95.2 West (Southeast of Houston, TX)

Genoa Airport, as depicted on the 1949 USGS topo map.



This small airport was located north of the intersection of Galveston Road & Genoa Red Bluff Road,

just a mere 2 miles northwest of Ellington AFB.

 

Genoa Airport was evidently built at some point between 1945-49,

as it was not depicted on a 1944 aerial photo or on the January 1944 San Antonio Sectional Chart (courtesy of Ron Plante),

nor listed among active airfields in the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

The earliest depiction of the field which has been located

was on the 1949 San Antonio Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).

 

Douglas Warren noted that his father learned to fly at Genoa Airport in Piper Cubs in the late 1940s.

 

The Genoa Airport was depicted as the "Emmett Flying Service Airfield"

on a 1952 Humble Oil street map of Houston.



The earliest photo that has been located of the Genoa Airport was a 1953 aerial view.

It depicted the field as having 3 unpaved runways,

with a large number of T-hangars on the south side of the field.

Seven single-engine aircraft were visible in the center of the field.



The earliest topo map depiction that has been located of the Genoa Airport was a 1955 USGS topo map.

It depicted “Airfield (Private)” as having 2 unpaved runways, with several small buildings on the south side of the field.



Genoa has evidently gained a paved runway at some point between 1957-63,

as the 1963 TX Airport Directory (courtesy of Steve Cruse)

depicted the field as having an asphalt 2,200' Runway 13/31, 3 grass runways, and several small hangars.

The operator was listed as Emmett Flying Service (run by Charles Emmett).

 

The Aerodromes table on the 1964 San Antonio Sectional Chart (courtesy of Bill Suffa)

described Genoa Airport as having a total of 4 runways,

with the primary runway being a 2,500' asphalt strip (with a total of 3,100' of turf available).



A 1964 aerial view depicted Genoa's new paved runway.

The field appeared otherwise unchanged compared to the 1957 aerial view.



The airfield configuration was depicted essentially an unchanged manner

in the 1985 TX Airport Directory (courtesy of Steve Cruse).

 

The last photo that has been located of the Genoa Airport was a 1989 aerial view.

The airport still appeared fairly healthy, with a dozen light aircraft parked on the south side of the field & another taxing onto the northwest runway end.



According to Douglas Warren, Genoa Airport was closed in 1990,

with the property being sold to the City of South Houston & since that time has been used as a landfill site.



The 1990 USGS topo map labeled the site as “gravel pits”.

 

In the 1995 USGS aerial photo, the area of the former runway had been excavated (presumably for gravel),

with a pit having been dug in the center of the former runways.

 

A 2002 USGS aerial view showed that the majority of the area of the former runways had been flooded.



A circa 2006 aerial view looking north shows 2 former hangars (the brown buildings)

which still remain standing on the south side of the site of Genoa Airport.

The majority of the former airport had been flooded, some of which is visible at the top-left of the photo.



Thanks to Steve Cruse for providing information about Genoa.

Clear Lake Metro Port (CLC), Clear Lake City, TX

29.55 North / 95.13 West (Southeast of Houston, TX)

The earliest topo map depiction that has been located of the Clear Lake STOLPort Airport was on the 1969 USGS topo map.



This private STOLport was operated by Metro Airlines,

which was formed in 1966 to fly commuters from the NASA Johnson Space Center to Houston Intercontinental Airport,

using DeHavilland Twin Otters.

The airport was located south of the intersection of Galveston Road & El Dorado Boulevard,

only 2 miles west of the NASA Johnson Space Center.



Clear Lake Metro Port was apparently built at some point between 1966-69,

as it was not depicted on the 1964 San Antonio Sectional Chart (courtesy of Bill Suffa),

nor depicted at all on a 1964 aerial photo.



The earliest depiction that has been located of the Clear Lake STOLPort Airport was on the 1969 USGS topo map.

It depicted a single northwest/southeast runway, without any label, and 3 small buildings on the southeast side.



A 1969 postmark (courtesy of Steve Cruse) commemorated the dedication

of the “Houston Metro Airlines Clear Lake STOLport, serving the NASA area.”



According to Greg White, “I found time tables as early as February 1970 showing a Twin Otter on the cover

and listing Clear Lake/ NASA as a stop.

If I remember correctly, the STOLport was in operation in 1973

when I started school & flight training at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX in the fall of that year.

I seem to recall those odd little airplanes that Metro Airlines was using in & out of there.”



The earliest photo that has been located of the Clear Lake Metroport was a 1973 aerial view.

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

with a ramp & buildings on the southeast side.



David Stall recalled, "I flew in & out of that airport as a passenger when I moved to the Clear Lake Area in 1975.

The small passenger terminal didn't appear particularly new at that time."



Clear Lake Metro Port, as depicted on the 1975 USGS topo map.



David Byrd recalled, “I worked for Metro Airlines at the Stolport in 1979-80.

It was quite a busy place in those days.

A 15 minute flight from IAH for the NASA commuters working on the space shuttle.

The Stolport was privately owned by Metro Airlines. thus a private strip.

A small terminal, a hangar for 2 Twin Otters, Budget car rental, and lots of parking.

Dispatch & maintenance offices located in the hangar.

Home to a fleet of Twin Otters at that time flying routes in Texas & Oklahoma.

Some out-of-service Navajos & a BE-99 were parked there also.

The Shorts SD3-30 began service at this time.

It was flown in to the Stolport only a few times as it had to operate empty due

to the short runway & took up almost all the ramp space.

Those airplanes overnighted & were maintained at the Spaceland Airport.”



David continued, “The Stolport land was very valuable.

Apartments & houses were creeping in every day & the air service demand changed.

It was too small for expansion & the new neighbors did not like their houses being buzzed.

Metro grew into a large commuter & was absorbed into the American Eagle system.

In fact, they operated the inaugural Eagle flight in 1984.”



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction of the Clear Lake Metroport which has been located

was on the 1980 Houston Terminal Area Chart (courtesy of Steve Cruse).

It described the "Clear Lake Metroport STOL" field as having a single 2,500' paved runway.



The last photo that has been located showing the Clear Lake Metroport still in operation was a 1981 aerial view.

Note the presence of a single twin-engine aircraft on the ramp.



As depicted on the 1982 USGS topo map,

the airfield consisted of a single 2,750' runway,

and a small passenger terminal & parking area east of the runway.

 

John Parr recalls, "I used to fly out of this airport, commuting to Houston Intercontinental for connections.

There were apartments RIGHT at the end of the northwest end of the runway, so the pilot HAD to take off fast.

I recall thinking how anyone could live with aircraft taking off 50' over the roof!"

 

David Brooks observed of Metro Port, "I used it once (1986).

A Metro Airlines Twin Otter shuttled between that field & Houston Intercontinental (IAH).

The Twin Otter used only about 2,000' of runway."



According to Greg White, “By the mid-1980s they had decided that the Clear Lake operation

was becoming problematic with the growth of Hobby Airport & the encroaching city.

In early to mid-1985, they chose to sell the STOLport operation

along with 6 Twin Otters to Royale Airlines of Shreveport, LA.

Prior to the sale, Metro was performing maintenance on several types of aircraft in their fleet at the hangar there.

In addition to the Otters, work was performed on the Beech 99s & the Shorts 330 (also known as 'the box the Otter came in')

but I don't believe there was ever any commercial service in those other types from Clear Lake due to the very short runway.

I joined Royale in December 1985 as a Captain on the DHC-6, not to long (months) after the sale.

I really enjoyed my time commanding the Otters in & out of Clear Lake.

It was always a challenge operating out of there

and when the weather went down, we used Ellington as an alternate & I got to land there several times as well.

Once at Ellington, we would bus our passengers to & from the STOLport.

By early 1986, Royale begin to figure out that they were sold a 'bill of goods'

and by February 1986 had decided to shut down operations from Clear Lake( a lawsuit ensued).

I flew the third to the last commercial flights into Clear Lake around the middle of April 1986 on the DHC-6.

I don't remember what happened after that to the airport

but I do recall the property being used as a rental car agency & other uses prior to being sold off piecemeal.”



The last photo that has been located showing the Clear Lake Metroport still intact was an admittedly poor quality 1987 aerial view.



A 1989 aerial view showed that new construction had covered the northwestern & southeastern portions of the runway.



David Brooks recalled, "When I moved back here (1990),

Metro had left & the field was abandoned with part of the runway gone.

Later on, a large apartment complex was built.

Then a storage place, and finally, a car dealership. So, nothing remains of the airfield."

 

The site of Metro Port was labeled "Abandoned" on the 1990 USGS topo map.



The 1995 USGS aerial photo showed that a housing development had covered most of the former airport site,

with only a 900' section of runway remaining visible at the southeast end,

as well as the former airport parking area.



A 2003 photo by David Brooks looking northwest at the remains of the runway at Clear Lake.

"The discoloration of the grass is the only mark of where the concrete runway was."



David Byrd reported in 2008, “I have not been there in some time

but I believe the high tension towers to the north still have 2 shorter towers which made the lines lower for the approach!”



A 12/31/08 aerial photo showed that a housing development covered most of the former airport site,

but a 900' section of runway remained intact at the southeast end,

as well as the former airport parking area.



Thanks to Steve Cruse for providing information about Clear Lake.

Pearland Municipal Airport (T29), Pearland, TX

29.56 North / 95.28 West (South of Houston, TX)

Pearland Airport, as depicted on the 1949 USGS topo map.



Pearland Airport was evidently built at some point between 1945-49,

as it was not depicted on a 1944 aerial photo nor on the January 1944 San Antonio Sectional Chart (courtesy of Ron Plante),

nor listed among active airfields in the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

The earliest depiction of the field which has been located was on the 1949 USGS topo map.



The e1955 USGS topo map depicted Pearland Airport as having 4 unpaved runways, with a row of hangars along the west side.



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

It depicted the field as having 5 runways, with numerous hangars along the west & north sides of the field.

 

Pearland was described in the 1962 AOPA Airport Directory

as having a 2,800' blacktop Runway 13/31 & a 2,700' shell & sand Runway 18/36.

The operators were listed as Guinn Flying Service, Jackson Flying Service, and Brockman Aero.



Jon Goldenbaum recalled, “I went to work at Guinn Flying Service, Pearland, in 1963.

The deal was: one day washing airplanes, pumping gas, cutting grass

for one hour dual instruction in straight tail Cessna 150s. No cash.

Many young men came into aviation in such a fashion sponsored by Helen & Joel Guinn, a wonderful couple.

Today, (2008) I know of at least 3 airline captains & other successful professionals

who got their start in the heat & humidity of Pearland.

Joel Guinn ran a successful GI bill flight school & charter operation.

He flew a D-18 Twin Beech out of the 2,600' runway day & night, we thought that was a huge runway.

Joel used to take us young lineboys along as co-pilots as he had a tough time reading the Jepp's at night.”



The 1963 TX Airport Directory (courtesy of Steve Cruse)

depicted Pearland as having 4 unpaved runways, with the longest being the 2,600' northwest/southeast strip.

A row of 8 hangars was located along the west edge of the field,

and a smattering of T-hangars was located on the north side.

The operators were listed as Atlas Aviation, Boynton Flying, Brockman Aero, Burl-Air, Guinn Flying, and Jackson Flying.

The manager was listed as Henry Whitt.



A 1964 aerial view by Jon Goldenbaum looking northwest at Pearland Airport.



Jon Goldenbaum continued, “At one time he [Joel Guinn] had a contract with the Veterans Administration

hauling patients on their last legs into Houston to the big VA hospital.

The gurney was composed of wooden coke crates strapped to the floor, a thin mattress with a sheet draped over it.

Upon arrival at Pearland, we became the ambulance drivers,

delivering the distressed patients to the VA in an old Ford Falcon station wagon ambulance.”



Jon continued, “I got my private, commercial, and CFI in the Guinn system.

Guinn Flying Service & Pearland was a wonderful place,

and a real nursery for professional pilots who came from modest means.”



The Aerodromes table on the 1964 San Antonio Sectional Chart (courtesy of Bill Suffa)

described Pearland Airport as having a total of 4 runways,

with the longest runway being a 2,600' asphalt strip.



Shawn Harrison recalled, “Lori Adams ran a flight school [Lori Adams Flying Service] at the old Pearland Airport around 1968.

She moved to Hobby in October 1970.

I remember the crop dusters buzzing around; never used the pattern & zoomed underneath us to land.

Flew their planes right into the hangars.”



A 12/28/72 aerial view by Shawn Harrison looking west at Pearland Airport.



The last photo that has been located of Pearland Airport while it was still open to fixed-wing aircraft was a 1981 aerial view.

A total of 14 light aircraft were visible on the west & north sides of the field.



In the 1985 TX Airport Directory (courtesy of Steve Cruse),

Pearland Airport is depicted as having 2 paved runways (a 2,400' Runway 11/29 & an 1,800' Runway 17/35).

The operators were listed as Gunn Flying Service, D&N Flying Service, and Houston Helicopters.

A remark said, "Owned by Houston Helicopter & primarily used for helicopters now."



Pearland had evidently been closed as a fixed-wing airport at some point between 1985-89,

as a 1989 aerial photo showed a road had been built through the center of the airport site,

and the row of 6 substantial hangars along the west side of the field had all been removed.

Outlines of the former runways were still recognizable.



Pearland had been downgraded to "Municipal Heliport" on the 1990 USGS topo map.

Houston Helicopters continued to operate from the north side of the field.



Appropriately enough, the streets along the northern perimeter of the former airport are still named

Lockheed Street, Douglas Street, and Beechcraft Street.



In the 1995 USGS aerial photo, much of the 5 former runways still remained.



USGS aerial photo 2002.



A 2003 photo by David Brooks of the helicopters currently operating from the flight line of the former airport.

David observed, “I was surprised as there is still an active heliport there.

Houston Helicopters & Bell Helicopters share a facility with what appeared outside to be about a dozen Bell choppers.

The rest is quite dead.”



A 2003 close-up by David Brooks of the Hueys & Jet Rangers at Pearland.



A 2003 photo by David Brooks of some of the old hangars at Pearland, now appearing to be rusting badly.

"Note the old wind sock fixture on top of first hangar."



A 2003 photo by David Brooks looking south along the remains of the pavement of Pearland's Runway 17/35.



A March 2010 photo by Tom Townsend of “the southernmost of the the buildings on the west side of the field” at Pearland.



A March 2010 photo by Tom Townsend of the remains of Pearland's Runway 17/35.



The site of Pearland Airport is located southeast of the intersection of Main Street & Walnut Street.



Thanks to Steve Cruse for information about Pearland.

S & S Patrol Field, League City, TX

29.48 North / 95.13 West (Southeast of Houston, TX)

A 1964 aerial view depicted the S & S Patrol field as having 2 grass runways.



This private airfield was evidently built at some point between 1957-62,

as it was not yet depicted at all on a 1957 aerial photo.

The earliest reference to the field which has been located is in the 1962 AOPA Airport Directory,

which described S & S Patrol Field as having a single 1,367' sod Runway 16/34.

 

The 1963 TX Airport Directory (courtesy of Steve Cruse)

listed the manager as Robert Stevens, and the remarks said "Private; land at own risk."



The earliest photo which has been located of the S & S Patrol Field was a 1964 aerial view.

It depicted the field as having 2 grass runways,

with 2 small hangars on the west side of the north/south runway.



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of the S & S Patrol Field

was on the 1964 San Antonio Sectional Chart (courtesy of Bill Suffa).

It described S & S Patrol Field as having 2 unpaved runways, with the longest being 2,200'.



The 1967 TX Airport Directory (courtesy of Brad Stanford)

depicted S & S Patrol Field as having a 2,200' turf Runway 17/35 & a 1,600' turf Runway 12/30,

with an east/west taxiway connecting the two.

Two hangars were located along the west side of Runway 17/35.

The operator was listed as S & S Pipeline Patrol.



S & S Patrol Airfield, as depicted on the 1968 USGS topo map.



The 1969 USGS topo map depicted 3 paved runways, labeled simply as “Landing Field”, with 2 small buildings.



The 1970 TX Airport Directory (courtesy of Ray Brindle)

described S & S Patrol Field in basically the same manner.



George Horn recalled, “In 1972-74 I flew for Robert Stevens, owner of S & S.

We flew mostly Cessna 150s, and a couple of Cessna 140s on pipeline patrol under contract to various pipeline companies

such as Gulf Oil, Florida Gas Transmission, Amoco, Texas Pipeline (Texaco), and others.

We operated out of S & S field as the home base,

but had pilots/planes based in TX at Fort Worth, and McCamey, as well as in Gonzales, LA, and Orlando, FL.

There was a 200' high tension line across the north end of the field,

and a takeoff on Runway 35 would make a Cessna struggle to clear it.

We usually operated to the south for that reason, as well as the prevailing winds.

In rainy weather the road to the field would flood.

I remember driving my 1964 Dodge station wagon down that road with water up to the headlights,

but the grass runways were still usable if a bit soggy.

Some interesting stories & pilots passed through that airfield.

One of the senior Captains at Southwest airlines, Ron Lane (#8 on the seniority list for a time)

once flew pipeline out of there trying to stay current so SWA would hire him.

I was the guy who hired him as my replacement.

A couple of flight planners & other NASA types also kept their planes tied down there.

S & S was one of those jobs I'd never want to do again...

but also would never take anything for the experiences it gave me.”



The last photo which has been located showing the S & S Patrol Field while still operational was a 1973 aerial view.

It showed that the east/west taxiway had been lengthened into a 3rd runway at some point between 1967-73.

That apparently necessitated the removal of the southern hangar as well.

But the field appeared well-used, as a total of 5 single-engine aircraft were visible on the field.



S & S Patrol Airfield, as depicted on the 1975 USGS topo map.



The last aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of S & S Patrol Field

was on the 1980 Houston Terminal Area Chart (courtesy of Steve Cruse).

 

S & S Patrol Field was apparently closed sometime between 1980-81,

as a 1981 aerial view showed that the northern half of the field has been covered by streets for a new housing development.

The last hangar had also been removed at some point between 1973-81.



Nearby resident David Brooks recalled, "I had always noticed on some maps

that an airfield existed on the south side of League City - not far from where I live.

It appeared on road maps, etc., but by the time I looked for it about 1991,

a major housing area existed & so I dismissed it."

 

USGS aerial photo 1994, with the remains of 2 runways visible south of the housing development.

 

The 1995 USGS topo map depicted 3 paved runways, labeled simply as “Landing Field”, with 2 small buildings.

 

A comparison of the above USGS aerial photo from 1994 & USGS topo map from 1995

shows that you can't always trust man-made maps,

while on the other hand, photographs never lie.

The aerial photo is from 1994, and shows that a housing development

had covered most of the area of the former airfield,

with the exception of the southern-most portion of 2 former runways,

which were still visible south of the housing development.

On the other hand, the topo map is from one year later, 1995,

and yet it shows the entire airfield (all 3 runways),

with no indication of the northern portion of the airfield having been covered by new streets & houses.



A 2002 aerial photo showed that a portion of 2 runways still remained on the south side of the site.



A 2004 aerial view shows that the housing development had expanded toward the south,

covering the last remaining trace of the former airfield.

 

A possible clue to the residents of the housing development of what their property used to encompass

can be found on the name of the main north/south road through the housing development - Landing Boulevard.

The remains of the former S & S Patrol Airfield are located

south of the intersection of Landing Boulevard & Potomac Drive.

 

Thanks to David Brooks for pointing out this field.

Spaceland Airport / Houston Gulf Airport (SPX), League City, TX

29.51 North / 95.05 West (Southeast of Houston, TX)

Spaceland Airport, as depicted on the 1968 USGS topo map.



No airfield was yet depicted at this location on the 1955 USGS topo map.



This general aviation airport opened in 1967, and was originally owned by Roger Davis.

The developers of the airport reportedly used leftover concrete from the Johnson Space Center to pour the runways.

Spaceland Airport was located about 4 miles south of the Johnson Space Center,

and was the home of many famous members of the space program, including Neil Armstrong, Deke Slayton, and Apollo 13 Flight Director Gene Kranz.



The earliest depiction which has been located of Spaceland Airport was on the 1968 USGS topo map.



The earliest photo which has been located of Spaceland Airport was a 1969 aerial view looking northwest.

It depicted the field as having a single paved northwest/southeast runway, with a paved parallel taxiway leading to a paved ramp with several hangars.



The 1969 USGS topo map depicted Spaceland Airport as having a single paved northwest/southeast runway with a parallel taxiway,

and 3 buildings on the south side.



Jon Goldenbaum recalled, after getting his private, commercial, and CFI at nearby Pearland Airport,

I went on to be an 18-year-old flight instructor for Roger Davis at Spaceland Airport.

I was one of Roger Davis' initial cadre of flight instructors when he opened Spaceland.

Roger was local flying buff who had a lot of money.

Nothing was too good in the initial years of operations: carpets, big offices, new hangars, airplanes, etc.

A far cry from the utilitarian approach of Guinn Flying Service at Pearland.

I would fly with 8 students a day in the summer, flying until I was bleary eyed & dazed.

No problem for an 18 year old.”



A 12/28/72 aerial view by Shawn Harrison looking east at Spaceland Airport showed only 2 light aircraft parked outside.



A 1973 aerial view depicted Spaceland as having a single paved northwest/southeast runway,

with a paved parallel taxiway leading to a paved ramp with 3 hangars.

Two light aircraft were visible on the ramp.



According to David Stall, "Spaceland Airpark in 1974 was home to the Bay Area Aero Club."



Spaceland Airport, as depicted on the 1975 USGS topo map.



David Stall recalled that Spaceland "was also home to the Rockwell Flying Club -

Houston Chapter (of which I was a member 1975-1976)."

 

Spaceland Airport was the home of an active parachute jump operation for several years.

Jim Heffernan has documented the early days of the Spaceland Paracenter in the years 1975-76.

Jump operations were conducted by Dave Boatman, owner of the Paracenter, according to Jim.



A 1979 photo of Paul Depperschmidt in a Grumman Cheetah at Spaceland / Houston Gulf Airport.



Paul Depperschmidt recalled, “Houston Gulf Airport...

I got my private pilot ticket there in the summer of 1979 flying a Grumman Cheetah.

My instructor was Curt Miles. My FAA check pilot was Dave Boatman.

There is an 'I learned about flying from that' story surrounding the check ride that is a bit embarrassing.

The short story is we crashed the plane just short of the runway. It was totaled but no one hurt.

I think they actually changed the FAA checkride procedures because of it.

I thought he had pulled the power when the engine had actually died.

Dave ended up giving me my ticket. But the FAA made me go through another checkride.”



At some point before 1980, the airport was renamed Houston Gulf Airport,

as that is how it was depicted on the 1980 Houston Terminal Area Chart (courtesy of Steve Cruse).

It was described as having a single 5,000' paved runway.



A 1981 aerial view showed that a 3rd row of T-hangars had been added since 1973.



In the 1985 TX Airport Directory (courtesy of Steve Cruse),

Houston Gulf was depicted as having a single 5,000' paved Runway 13/31,

a parallel paved taxiway, and a paved ramp at the southwest end with 5 hangars (one of which had been added since 1981).

The operator was listed as Clear Lake Aviation Service.

 

Robert Winkler recalled, “I learned to fly at this airport in 1985,

flew in the Bay Area Aero Club, and for years we hangared our Bonanza there.

My house is in a subdivision less than one mile east of the airport, which was one of the reasons I bought there.”



Houston Gulf Airport had a curious tie-in to recent world events,

as it was purchased in the mid 1980s by Salem Bin Laden - Osama’s older half-brother.

Bin Laden’s estate has sought to sell the property since his death in a 1988 ultralight crash in San Antonio.

 They finally succeeded, although the purchaser was Johnson Development,

which planed on demolishing the airfield & building upscale houses on the property.

 

A late 1990s aerial photo of Houston Gulf Airport.

A 4th row of T-hangars had been added since 1985.



A 3/4/00 aerial view looking west at Houston Gulf Airport by Kerry Newman (courtesy of Eric Newman).

Eric recalled, “I had my first flight in N6667F in 2000 when I was 9 years old.”



A 9/30/00 photo of a Piper Tripacer at Houston Gulf Airport.



A 2002 USGS aerial photo, taken apparently only a few months before the field closed.

Note the total of 28 light aircraft on the field.

However, the cause of the airport's demise has also appeared adjacent to the east side - new housing construction.



A closeup from the 2002 USGS aerial photo of the Spaceland ramp.

Note the “Spaceland” lettering, visible on the roof of one of the hangars.



Houston Gulf Airport closed in 4/02.

 

At the time of its closure, the airfield consisted of a single 5,000' asphalt runway, 13/31,

a parallel taxiway, a ramp & several hangars.

It was home to 80 based aircraft, including 2 jets & 2 helicopters.

The statistics in the Airport Facility Directory showed that it had an average of 66 aircraft operations / day.

It was home to the Bay Area Aero Club (with 230 members), which will be moving to Clover Field,

and Houston Gulf Avionics.

 

According to airport operator Helen Paige, neither the city nor county was interested in purchasing the 365-acre property,

leaving Galveston’s Scholes Field as the county’s only public airport.

In the words of the airport operator, "The most devastating part to us as lovers of aviation is that we’re losing an airport.

We’re all devastated because it’s going away.

Once you put houses on a piece of land it doesn’t go back the other way."

 

Cindy Mahler runs a group named Houston Gulf Airport Coalition,

which is "currently fighting to save our beloved airport."

According to Cindy, "No houses currently occupy the airport land,

but the developers who are trying to buy the airport do have plans to put them there if they win."

 

A 2002 photo by Doug Warren, showing a hangar at Houston Gulf

which was being dismantled within the same year that the airport was closed.

 

David Brooks reported in 2003, "The last time I was there it was still open & full of aircraft (including a number of jets).

However, with the rate of house building in this area - I am not surprised that it would be taken over."

 

Houston Gulf was still depicted on the 2003 Sectional Chart, but labeled "Closed".

 

A sad 2003 photo by David Brooks, showing piles of rubble from the demolished hangars at the former Houston Gulf Airport.

 

A 2003 photo by David Brooks, showing a car driving down the former runway of the Houston Gulf Airport.

 

David Brooks reported in 2003, "All structures are gone.

The ramp, taxi way, and runway are still present

but a lot of grass & weeds have grown up around them & in the cracks.

The property is privately owned & they would not allow me to access the property to take pictures.

So all I could do was to take pictures from the public roads.

No housing development yet, but you can see in the distance, they are getting close.

Probably in the next year or so, the old airfield will be turned into an upscaled housing development."

 

A 2003 aerial view by Jason McClure, looking southeast at the abandoned Houston Gulf Airport.

 

A sad 2003 photo by Jason McClure, of the wreckage that remains of former hangars at Houston Gulf Airport.

 

Jason McClure reported in 2003, "My dad flew out of Houston Gulf from about 1999 through its closing.

I think the runway is still all there but the taxiway & parking lot are being torn up."



A 2004 aerial view showed all of the hangars had been scraped away, although all of the paved surfaces remained.

 

David Brooks reported in 2004, "I drove past the closed Houston Gulf / Spaceland Airport.

It is now virtually gone.

Whoever owns the land now has leveled everything for about 2 miles alongside the road.

The main runway has been broken up & about 80% removed.

The taxiway is being broken up.

So progress (urban sprawl) has taken another wonderful airfield to oblivion."



A 6/25/05 aerial view showed that the southeastern third of the runway had been covered by housing construction.



David Brooks reported in 2005, “All remains are gone now.

Roads for a large housing subdivision have been put in along with utilities, street lights,

and a large berm at the entrance (I assume for some decorative thing to be built in the front).

A sign says houses starting at $500,000 & up. Awful to see all of this urban sprawl.”



A 1/15/06 aerial view showed all remaining traces of the former airport having been covered by construction.



A March 2006 aerial view by Robert Winkler, looking north at the site of the former Houston Gulf / Spaceland Airport,

now the location of the Tuscan Lakes housing development.

Robert observed, “To lose this airport so suddenly was a real loss to the local aviation community. It was a great airport.

I drive by here just about every day, and every day it breaks my heart to see more houses.”



A 2006 photo by Paul Depperschmidt of the former runway at Houston Gulf.

Paul reported, “Last year [2006] I went back to the area & wanted to drive by my old airfield.

I had a GPS & was sure I was in the right spot. But no Houston Gulf.

I finally realized it had been absorbed by the surrounding subdivisions.

I took a couple of pictures. One is the runway as it was being torn up.

The other is of the only solid piece of anything that looked like the concrete base of the airport light.

I picked up a chunk of the runway & saved it. I plan to make it in to some type of wall hanging.”



Thanks to Paul Reinman for pointing out this field,

and to Steve Cruse for additional information.



See also:

The Citizen, 2/20/02.

The Daily News, 1/28/02.

Hitchcock Naval Air Station, Hitchcock, TX

29.33 North / 95.05 West (West of Galveston, TX)

"Hitchcock (Navy)", as depicted on the June 1943 San Antonio Sectional Chart (courtesy of Richard Doehring).



NAS Hitchcock was commissioned in 1943 as a Navy Anti-Submarine Warfare blimp base.



The earliest depiction which has been located of the Hitchcock airfield

was on the June 1943 San Antonio Sectional Chart (courtesy of Richard Doehring).

It depicted "Hitchcock (Navy)" as an airfield, but curiously did not depict a mooring mast symbol.



An excellent article by Harrold Henck provides many details of the history of NAS Hitchcock,

much of which is summarized here.



Situated close to open water yet remote from urbanized development, Hitchcock proved an ideal site for ASW blimp patrols.

It had a very similar configuration as other WW2 Navy blimp bases

(Tustin, CA, Weeksville, NC, Tillamook, OR, etc.).

The centerpiece of the base was its gigantic blimp hangar.

Hitchcock was originally intended to have 2 of the huge blimp hangars,

which were typical of WW2 Navy blimp bases, but only one was built.



An 11/30/43 photo of a Navy blimp being maneuvered with its mobile mooring mast in front of the massive Hitchcock hangar.



A WW2-era aerial view looking north at Hitchcock (National Archives photo).

Note the blimp moored to the left of the primary mooring pad.



A 1944 aerial view looking southeast at Hitchcock (National Archives photo).

A K-class blimp is visible on the mooring circle to the right of the hangar.



The massive hangar was 1,000' long, 300' wide & more than 200' tall.

With 300,000 square feet of open floor space, the hangar housed up to 6 K-type blimps.

A rail spur, extending the entire length of the hangar’s interior,

linked the facility to the town’s railroad about 2 miles away.



The entire structure was built of wood anchored on each end by 2 concrete double pillars.

Hitchcock's hangar was the last of the wooden blimp hangars to be built during WW2.



A WW2-era photo of Hitchcock's massive hangar,

with what appears to be the field's radio frequency of “329.5 KCS” painted on the roof.



Outside its massive hangar doors lay a 2,000' diameter circular concrete landing mat,

80 acres in area, used for mooring blimps.

It also had 6 smaller circular blimp mooring pads arrayed along the southern edge of the primary pad.

Other base facilities included workshops, vehicle garages, barracks, administration buildings,

a 40,000-square-foot brick warehouse,

and a recreation center equipped with auditorium, gymnasium and swimming pool.



A May 1944 photo of the interior of Hitchcock's massive hangar holding 5 K-type airships simultaneously.



Commander Charles Roland was installed as base commander & 133 personnel were assigned to the station.

The first airship arrived that year, and Blimp Squadron ZP-23 was established.

Later, detachments arrived from ZPs 21, 22 & 24, all part of Fleet Airship Wing 2.

During the ensuing year, numerous patrols were made over Galveston Bay & the Gulf of Mexico.

At its height, Hitchcock encompassed 3,500 acres & housed nearly 150 personnel,

who operated a total of 12 blimps on antisubmarine patrols,



Despite the blimp crews’ aerial vigilance, no submarine sightings were reported in the Galveston area,

and the operational life span of NAS Hitchcock was shortened.

After only 17 months of service, the base was redesignated a naval air facility in 1944, to operate heavier-than-air aircraft.

By that time, the U-boat threat in the Gulf of Mexico had diminished, and blimp patrols were no longer necessary.

 

Conventional aircraft were operated from a north/south concrete runway, 3,300' long,

visible on the east side of the base in above photograph.

After only a few months of operating conventional aircraft, the base was decommissioned again in 1944.

 

"Hitchcock (Navy) (Aux)" was depicted on the 1945 San Antonio Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss)

as a military airfield, along with the mooring mast symbol.

 

Hitchcock was disestablished by the Navy in 1947, and the base was sold as surplus.

Much of the surrounding property was bought for rice storage, cattle grazing & residential use.

The hangar was sold in 1949 to H.L. Harvey, who used it to store large quantities of rice.

It later housed oil drilling equipment, and then was used to rebuild tanks & half-tracks.

 

However, the 1949 San Antonio Sectional Chart still depicted "NAF Hitchcock (LTA)"

as an active military airfield (according to Chris Kennedy).

It was depicted with a mooring mast symbol, and described as having a 2,000' hard-surface runway.



The 1949 USGS topo map depicted Hitchcock as a military airfield.



In 1950 the Hitchcock property was purchased by oilman John Mecom.



The last depiction which has been located showing an airfield at Hitchcock was on the 1956 USGS topo map.



The blimp hangar was used for manufacturing & storage until it was heavily damaged by Hurricane Carla on 9/11/61.



The last photo to be located showing Hitchcock's massive blimp hangar before its demolition was an 11/23/61 USGS aerial view.



As a result of its hurricane damage, Hitchcock's massive blimp hangar was torn down in 1962.

The hangar’s 4 massive support pillars were too strong to be razed economically & were allowed to remain.



The airfield at Hitchcock was not depicted on the 1964 San Antonio Sectional Chart (courtesy of Bill Suffa),

but the remains of the hangar was denoted on the chart simply as "Bldg".

The hangar's support pillars still stand today as monuments to a once busy blimp base in Naval Aviation’s history.



The 1968 USGS topo map no longer depicted any airfield at Hitchcock.



The 1969 USGS topo map depicted Hitchcock's abandoned blimp mooring circle & pads, and the towers of the former blimp hangar.

Depicted in between the former hangar columns was a 100,000 square foot warehouse

which was built at some point between 1962-69.



The 1995 USGS topo map still depicted the Hitchcock blimp mooring circle & 2 smaller mooring pads to the southwest.



The 1/15/95 USGS aerial photo appeared to depict the former blimp field in a completely abandoned fashion,

with no significant redevelopment.



The hangar’s remains & a light industrial zone stand on the highway’s south side.

Over the years, most of the base’s original buildings have vanished,

some were demolished for redevelopment, others crumbled from neglect.

The 2-story administration building & former base water tower still stand, though.

 

James Rogerson observed in 2003, "This site has been the home of many race car testing sessions.

It was once owned by John Mecom.

He tested his many race cars using the concrete pad.

It was purchased about 4 years ago in conjunction with the Corvette Club of Houston to build a motorsports park."



Walt Fricke provided some further details about John Mecom's use of the Hitchcock base.

Fricke's Beech Staggerwing "was owned by John Mecom (Oil) & operated out of Hitchcock for years.

It has the Mecom Oil paint scheme."



A 2003 photo by David Brooks of the remains of the blimp mooring pad & hangar at Hitchcock.

 

An impressive 2003 photo by David Brooks of the remains of the former blimp hangar at Hitchcock.

 

 A 2003 photo by David Brooks of the concrete "ribs" which remain of the former blimp hangar at Hitchcock.

 

A 2003 photo by David Brooks of the remains of the blimp mooring pad at Hitchcock.

 

A 2003 photo by David Brooks of the former headquarters building at Hitchcock.

David observed: "The building I would refer to as likely a headquarters building

is still there & is undergoing restoration by someone.

In the picture, you can see work going on the left side of the building.

It appears that either new siding has been applied or paint.

The front with the chipped white paint is what I remember it looking like about 6 months ago."

 

David Brooks observed, "There are 2 brick building further into the field that are still there.

As you have documented, the hanger was damaged & then torn down.

Whomever owns the place now put in a warehouse that runs the length of the building.

It appears they made use of the 'rib' structure that can be scene on the north side of the field."

"The landing pad is in various levels of disintegration.

Some parts are gone & others are not in terrible bad shape.

The old runway is a dirt road now."

 

David continued, "The main farm road goes through the base.

Structures on the northwest side are gone.

Only a single chimney remains & the rest is a horse form & race track.

Housing is beginning to be developed in the area.

There are 'new' (not part of the NAS) structures (warehouses, other buildings, a couple of houses) at the field too.

It appears an electrical contractor is using a lot of the warehouse

and the landing pad to store electrical equipment.

Lots of junk laying around too."



A 1/31/04 aerial view showed that a small racetrack course had been constructed

over the west side of the primary blimp mooring pad.



Tim Sexton pointed out in 2004 that a company called Blimp Base Enterprises

was using the Hitchcock site to host camping for bike rallies.



A 3/31/06 aerial view showed no significant changes at the site,

with a small racecourse still present on the west side of the primary blimp mooring pad.



Mike Bell reported in 2006 that the site is now operated by GrandSport Speedway,

which hopes to construct a 1.7 mile automobile speedway track on the site of the former Naval Air Station,

using the “hundreds of thousands of tons of gravel, sand and concrete

along with a great site drainage system” left behind by the Navy.



A 2006 aerial photo by Carter Tull, looking south at the remains of the blimp facilities at Hitchcock.



A January 8, 2008 aerial view depicted an expanded racetrack

which had been constructed at some point between 2006-08 over the former blimp mooring pad.



A 2/16/10 aerial view did not appear to show any significant development of the racetrack on the western side of the blimp mooring pad,

but the eastern side was now being used to hundreds of wind turbine towers.



A March 2010 photo by Tom Townsend of the concrete towers which remain from the Hitchcock blimp hangar.

Tom reported that the site “is now some sort of International Trade Zone with nasty no trespassing signs.”



A 5/14/10 view of wind turbine towers stored in front of the Hitchcock blimp hangar remains.



Joe Wilburn of Blimpbase Interests Inc. reported in 2011 that the objects stored on the former blimp pad,

are wind turbine towers manufactured in Japan & waiting sale.

With the down turn in the economy & lack of government funding there are hundreds of these huge turbines at ports across the country.

We are in the industrial storage business & with the base location & being located out of the flood plain

we have been successful in bringing in some Fortune 500 companies & more so after Hurricane Ike.

The racetrack is to the west of my property & his business continues to grow also.”



A 7/29/13 aerial view by Joshua Jones looking northwest at the remains of the Hitchcock blimp hangar.



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