Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:

Northern Wisconsin

© 2002, © 2018 by Paul Freeman. Revised 1/28/18.

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Arrowhead Airport / Rice Lake Municipal Airport (2nd location) (revised 12/24/17) - Blesch Field / Country Club Airport (added 1/28/18)

Colby-Abbotsford Airport (added 10/25/15) - (Original) Outagamie County Airport (revised 12/24/17) - Rice Lake Municipal Airport (original location) (revised 12/24/17)

Old Tomahawk Airport / Forrest Protection Airfield (revised 12/25/17) - River Falls Airport (revised 8/6/17)

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Blesch Field / Country Club Airport, Green Bay, WI

44.497, -88.046 (Southwest of Downtown Green Bay, WI)

Blesch Field, as depicted on a 6/2/38 aerial view (courtesy of Al Hatz).



According to Micheal Goc's book “Forward in Flight – The History of Aviation in Wisconsin”, Blesch Field was formed sometime in the early 1920s

but was fairly inactive until 1927 when a hangar was built.

It was located on Highland Avenue (now Lombardi Avenue) just west of the Fox River.

It served as Green Bay's main airport for the next 2 decades.



The only photo which has been located of Blesch Field was a 6/2/38 aerial view (courtesy of Al Hatz).

It depicted Blesch as having 3 runways, with 2 hangars on the northeast side.



Blesch Field was evidently renamed “Country Club” Airport at some point by 1943, as that is how it was depicted on the December 1943 Green Bay Sectional Chart.



According to Micheal Goc's book “Forward in Flight – The History of Aviation in Wisconsin”,

Blesch Field continued to serve as Green Bay's main airport till the new Brown County Airport (Austin Straubel Airport) was opened in 1948,

at which point Blesch Field presumably was closed.



The 1956 USGS topo map no longer depicted Blesch Field.

A building had been built over the northeast portion, but the 2 former hangars remained intact on the northeast corner.



A 1960 aerial view showed the airfield area of Blesch Field remained mostly open, but no trace remained of the runways.

A building had been built over the northeast portion, but the 2 former hangars remained intact on the northeast corner.



A 1971 aerial view showed Blesch Field's 2 hangars had been removed at some point between 1960-71,

erasing the last trace of this early airport.



A 2017 aerial view showed no trace remaining of Blesch Field.



Thanks to Al Hatz for pointing out this airfield.



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(Original) Outagamie County Airport, Appleton, WI

44.282, -88.37 (Northwest of Milwaukee, WI)

A 1938 aerial view of the original Outagamie County Airport (from the WI Historic Aerial Imagery Finder, courtesy of Al Hatz).



According to the Appleton Airport website, “1940s... With the closing of Whiting Field, pilots moved their planes to the new Outagamie County Airport on Ballard Road in Appleton.”



The earliest depiction which has been located of the original Outagamie County Airport was a 1938 aerial view (from the WI Historic Aerial Imagery Finder, courtesy of Al Hatz).

It depicted Outagamie County Airport as having 4 unpaved runways, with 3 hangars on the northwest side.



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of the original Outagamie County Airport was on the December 1943 Green Bay Sectional Chart,

which depicted Outagamie County as a commercial/municipal airport.



The earliest photos which have been located of the original Outagamie County Airport was a series of circa 1940s photos (courtesy of Lee Corbin)

showing an arch-roof hangar (marked “Outagamie County Airport”) & 2 smaller hangars, with a few light single-engine aircraft parked in front.



According to the Appleton Airport website, “Maxair was a full-service Fixed Base Operator which began operations at the old Ballard Road location in 1950.”



A 5/31/53 USGS aerial view (courtesy of Lee Corbin) showed the original Outagamie County Airport as having a northeast/southwest paved runway under construction,

with 4 hangars on the northwest corner.

The predecessor unpaved runways were still visible near the hangars on the west side.



The 1955 USGS topo map (courtesy of Lee Corbin) showed the original Outagamie County Airport as having a northeast/southwest paved runway,

with a taxiway leading to 3 small buildings on the northwest corner.



According to the Appleton Airport website, “In 1959 North Central Airlines service started with two DC-3 flights a day from the field.”



According to an article in the 12/15/64 Oshkosh Northwestern (courtesy of Lee Corbin),

the original Outagamie County Airport would be abandoned on 1/15/65,

when the new airport in Greenville began operation.



A 9/29/71 USGS aerial view (courtesy of Lee Corbin) showed a road having been built over the runway of the original Outagamie County Airport,

which otherwise appeared to remain intact.



A 2017 aerial view of the site of the original Outagamie County Airport showed that portions of the paved taxiway & a small portion of runway remained on the western side,

and traces of the runway remained on the eastern side.



The site of the original Outagamie County Airport is located southeast of the intersection of East Northland Avenue & North Ballard Avenue.



Thanks to Lee Corbin for pointing out this airfield.

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River Falls Airport (Y53), River Falls, WI

44.843, -92.616 (Southeast of Minneapolis, MN)

River Falls Airport, as depicted on the 1969 Twin Cities Sectional Chart.



This small general aviation airport was evidently established at some point between 1959-69,

as it was not yet depicted on the 1959 USGS topo map.

The earliest depiction which has been located of River Falls Airport was on the 1969 Twin Cities Sectional Chart,

which depicted River Falls Airport as having a mere 1,800' unpaved runway.



The 1974 USGS topo map depicted River Falls Airport as a single unpaved northwest/southeast runway, labeled simply as “Landing Strip”.



David Black recalled, “The University of Wisconsin - River Falls Airport... Two siblings graduated there in the 1980s.

I remember using the airfield with my dad. We were probably flying his PA-16 Clipper.

The field was to the southeast of the River Falls campus.”



The earliest photo which has been located of River Falls Airport was a 1992 USGS aerial view looking north.

It depicted depicted River Falls Airport as having a single unpaved northwest/southeast runway, with what may have been a few small hangars on the southeast side.

The airport appeared to be abandoned, without any signs of recent aviation use.



The last aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of River Falls Airport

was on the 1999 Twin Cities Sectional Chart (courtesy of David Black),

which depicted River Falls Airport as having a mere 1,600' unpaved runway.



River Falls Airport was evidently closed at some point between 1999-2016,

as a 2016 aerial view looking north showed no trace remaining of River Falls Airport, with the runway & hangars having been removed.



The site of River Falls Airport is located northeast of the intersection of 830th Avenue & South 6th Avenue.



Thanks to David Black for pointing out this airfield.

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Colby-Abbotsford Airport, Abbotsford, WI

44.925, -90.32 (Northeast of Minneapolis, MN)

Colby-Abbotsford Airport, as depicted on the 1953 USGS topo map.



This small general aviation airport was evidently established at some point between 1945-53,

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

The earliest depiction which has been located of Colby-Abbotsford Airport was on the 1953 USGS topo map.

It depicted Colby-Abbotsford Airport as having 2 unpaved runways, with 2 small buildings on the east side.



The earliest photo which has been located of Colby-Abbotsford Airport was a 1962 USGS aerial view.

It depicted Colby-Abbotsford Airport as having an unpaved northeast/southwest runway, with remnants of a northwest/southeast runway.

A taxiway lead to a hangar & 1 light single-engine aircraft on the east side.



The last photo which has been located showing the Colby-Abbotsford Airport presumably still in operation was a 1980 USGS aerial view.

Both the northeast/southwest & northwest/southeast runways were very distinct.

A hangar remained on the east side, but there were no aircraft parked outside.



The last map depiction which has been located showing the Colby-Abbotsford Airport was the 1988 USGS topo map.

It depicted Colby-Abbotsford Airport as having a northeast/southwest runway.



Colby-Abbotsford Airport was evidently closed at some point between 1988-99,

as a 1999 aerial view looking northwest showed that a new portion of Route 29 had been built over the northeast end of the northeast/southwest runway.

The hangar remained on the east side.



A circa 2010 aerial view looking north at the side of Colby-Abbotsford Airport showed that the hangar had been removed at some point between 1999-2010, as only the foundation remained.

The path of the northeast/southwest runway remained clear.



A 2012 aerial view looking northwest at the site of Colby-Abbotsford Airport

showed the path of the northeast/southwest runway remained clear, and the foundation of the hangar remained recognizable.



The site of Colby-Abbotsford Airport is located southwest of the intersection of Route 13 & Oak Road.



Thanks to Brandon Vlasak for pointing out this airfield.

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(Original) Rice Lake Municipal Airport, Rice Lake, WI

45.486, -91.737 (Northeast of Minneapolis, MN)

The original Rice Lake Airport, as depicted in its original location (SSW of the town) on the 1934 Twin Cities Airway Map.



The Rice Lake Municipal Airport was originally located south-southwest of the town of Rice Lake.

The date of construction of the field is unknown.

The earliest reference to the field which has been located

was in the 1934 Department of Commerce Airfield Directory (according to Chris Kennedy).

It described Rice Lake Airport as consisting of a 1,320' x 1,275' sod field.



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

described Rice Lake Municipal Airport as being 1 mile south of the center of the town.

The airfield was described as consisting of a 1,320' x 1,275' sod landing area.



The earliest photo which has been located of the original Rice Lake Airport was a 1938 aerial view (from the WI Historic Aerial Imagery Finder, courtesy of Al Hatz).

It depicted Rice Lake as having 3 unpaved runways, with a hangar & 4 light single-engine aircraft on the northeast side.



The last photo which has been located of the original Rice Lake Airport

was a circa 1943-45 aerial view from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

It depicted Rice Lake as a square grass landing area.



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

described Rice Lake Airport as being located 1 mile south of the town,

and described it as having a 1,500' unpaved runway.



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock)

described Rice Lake Municipal Airport as a 39 acre rectangular field within which were 3 sod runways,

the longest being the 1,500' northeast/southwest & northwest/southeast strips.

The field was said to have a total of 7 hangars, the largest being a 60' x 40' wood structure.

Rice Lake was said to be privately owned, but operated by the City of Rice Lake.



At some point between 1945-48, the Rice Lake Municipal Airport was apparently replaced by the larger Arrowhead Airport a mile to the southeast.

A 1948 aerial photo of the site of the original Rice Lake Municipal Airport showed some of the buildings remained, but the runway layout was barely recognizable



A 2015 aerial view showed no trace remaining of the original Rice Lake Municipal Airport.



The site of the original Rice Lake Municipal Airport is located southeast of the intersection of Coleman Street & Macauley Avenue.

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Arrowhead Airport / Rice Lake Municipal Airport (2nd location) (RIE), Rice Lake, WI

45.478, -91.722 (Northeast of Minneapolis, MN)

A 4/21/48 USGS aerial view of Arrowhead Airport.



At some point between 1945-48, the Rice Lake Municipal Airport was apparently replaced by the larger Arrowhead Airport a mile to the southeast.

A 4/21/48 USGS aerial view depicted Arrowhead as having a north/south grass runway.

Two light planes were visible near some small buildings on the northwest side,

and a single floatplane was visible on the lakeshore at the south end of the runway.



The 1951 USGS topo map depicted Arrowhead Airport as having 2 unpaved perpendicular runways & several small buildings along the north side of the field.



At some point between 1951-78, Arrowhead Airport was evidently expanded significantly toward the north,

and renamed Rice Lake Municipal Airport, as that is how it was depicted on the 1978 USGS topo map.



The 1982 AOPA Airport Directory (courtesy of Ed Drury) described Rice Lake Municipal Airport as having a single 3,700' asphalt Runway 18/36.

The operator was listed as Lakeland Aviation.



The last depiction which has been located showing Rice Lake Municipal Airport still operational

was on an 11/30/84 airport directory (courtesy of John Kielhofer).

It depicted Rice Lake as having a 3,725' paved Runway 18/36 with 2 ramps & several small buildings on its west side.



In 1995, a new & larger Rice Lake Regional Airport was built 5 miles southwest of the town of Rice Lake,

and the old Rice Lake Municipal Airport was presumably closed at the same time.

The old airport was depicted as an abandoned airfield on the 1998 Wisconsin Aeronautical Chart.



In the 1998 USGS aerial photo, the runway at Rice Lake was marked with several closed "X" symbols.

The airport was otherwise still intact, with the entire runway remaining,

and several taxiways leading to a number of small hangars on the west side of the runway.



A 6/1/05 USGS aerial view looking northeast showed that the midsection of Rice Lake Municipal Airport was cut at some point between 1994-2005, and land has been cleared.

Several hangars remain intact on the west side of the runway.



The site of Rice Lake Municipal Airport is located southeast of the intersection of East Orchard Beach Lane & Kern Avenue.

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Old Tomahawk Airport / Forrest Protection Airfield, Tomahawk, WI

45.474, -89.744 (Northwest of Green Bay, WI)

A 1938 aerial view of the original Tomahawk Airport (from the WI Historic Aerial Imagery Finder, courtesy of Al Hatz).



The date of construction of the original Tomahawk Airport has not been determined.

The earliest depiction which has been located of the original Tomahawk Airport

was a 1938 aerial view (from the WI Historic Aerial Imagery Finder, courtesy of Al Hatz).

It depicted the field as having a single unpaved east/west runway, with a hangar (with “Tomahawk” painted on its roof) on the southeast corner.



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of the original Tomahawk Airport

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



The earliest photo which has been located of Tomahawk Airport

was a 9/25/40 aerial view looking west from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

It depicted Tomahawk as having a grass east/west landing area.



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock)

described Tomahawk Airport as a 37 acre irregularly-shaped field

within which was an asphalt, sand, and gravel all-way field, measuring 1,500' northeast/southwest.

The field was said to have a single 120' x 100' concrete, brick, and steel hangar.

Tomahawk was described as being owned by the State of Wisconsin, but not currently in operation.



The 1948 Green Bay Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy)

described "Tomahawk" as having a 1,500' unpaved runway.

Chris Kennedy also noted that the 1948 chart depicted "another airport just across town to the east called Werner,

another one about two miles southeast of town called Allard,

and a seaplane base across the lake called McLaren - lots of airports for a small town."



A 5/28/50 USGS aerial view of Tomahawk Airport showed it to have an open grass landing area.

The dark building on the southeast side had the letters “Tomahawk” & an airport circle marking.



At some point between 1948-54 the airfield was apparently renamed "Forrest Protection",

as that is how it was labeled on the November 1954 Green Bay Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

The field was described as having a 3,000' unpaved runway.



An aerial view looking north at the Tomahawk "Forrest Protection Airport",

from the 1960 Sky Eye Wisconsin Airport Directory (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

The runway had apparently been paved at some point between 1954-60,

as the field was described as having a single 3,200' paved runway.

Note the Marin Tomahawk & Western Railroad which crossed right over the paved runway.

The remarks said "Field owned by Wisconsin Conservation Dept. & the Owens-Illinois Glass Co.

It is not a municipal field but transient aircraft may use the field."



The 1960 Jeppesen Airway Manual (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

depicted the Forrest Protection Airport as having a single paved 3,200' Runway 7/25,

along with a former unpaved crosswind runway.

Two buildings (hangars?) were depicted on the southwest & southeast sides of the field.

The remark said "Railroad crosses runway."



The original Tomahawk Airport was apparently closed at some point prior to between 1960-64,

after being replaced by Tomahawk Regional Airport (3 miles to the west).



The 1966 USGS topo map depicted a single east/west runway at the site of the original Tomahawk Airport,

labeled simply as “Landing Strip”.



On the 1982 USGS topo map, the original Tomahawk Airport was no longer depicted,

but was rather depicted simply as an open unmarked area.



On the 1990 USGS topo map, the original Tomahawk Airport was simply labeled as “Landing Strip”.



As of the 1992 USGS aerial photo, the airfield consisted of a single 3,600' paved runway,

which occupied almost the entire width of a peninsula jutting into Lake Mohawksin.



The original Tomahawk Airport was depicted as an abandoned airfield on the 1992 Sectional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Ed Drury).



The original Tomahawk Airport was no longer depicted at all on 2002 aeronautical charts.



A December 30, 2005 USGS aerial view looking northwest at the site of the original Tomahawk Airport showed the remains of the paved east/west runway

as well as traces of the former crosswind runway.



The site of the original Tomahawk Airport is located at the western end of West Somo Ave.

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