Flight Blog


May 6 marks the 10th anniversary of the airport’s current terminal. To mark the birthday we’re spending the next few weeks looking back at the airport’s previous terminals.

Our previous post ended with the photograph that begins this post: three men looking at what appears to be building site plans for the airport’s second terminal. It’s 1961. The man in the middle is the airport’s second director, Lester Jones.

The second photo is from 1962 or 1963. It shows the second terminal being built right in front of the first terminal. It’s an interesting photograph for several reasons, but we want to point out is that that it shows us where the photo of the three men was taken.

Take a look at the enlarged area of the terminal photo. See the travel trailer the trio stood next to? The trio photo was taken in the area between the trailer and the chain link fence.

The photos document continuous change: the old radar tower goes away. The control tower is torn down. Parking lots get bigger. Check out the comparison views in photo nine. It shows the second terminal in about 1970. Then you see the same view as shown on Google Maps today. The last five photos show an airport brochure from about 1965.

In next week’s post we’ll continue our look back at the second terminal. By the time it was retired, in 2009, it didn’t bear much resemblance to the way it started out in 1964!


Click for bigger version

The airport's second director, Lester Jones, stands in the middle.




The trio was photographed standing next to the
travel trailer which served as the airport cop shop.


C.1964. The second terminal under construction.


C.1964. The second terminal under construction.


C.1964. The second terminal shown after completion.
This photo was on the cover of the Springfield phone book.


A post card from the mid 1960's shows the second terminal.


c.1970. The Delta airliner is a Convair 240.
The hanger building in the background still stands.
It's now home to Premier Flight Center,
and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Check it out in the comparison photos.


Photo on the right c.1970.
Image on the right is from Google Maps
and shows what the view looks like today.


We spy two 1967 Ford Galaxies.
Anyone see any cars newer than that?
Right now we're going to call this 1967!


The second terminal in the mid 1970's.


Airport brochure, c.1965.


Airport brochure, c.1965, page 2.


Airport brochure, c.1965, page 3.


Airport brochure, c.1965, page 4.


Airport brochure, c.1965, page 5.



Our airport’s “new” terminal is almost 10 years old. It opened May 6, 2009.

Depending on your point of view, it seems like yesterday, or ages ago. Either way, the building isn’t that “new” anymore and things have changed a lot in the past ten years.

That being said, it's a good time to begin looking backwards and forwards. Over the next five weeks we’ll share photos of the airport’s historic terminals, along with the current one.

You’ll notice that there’s a constant at the airport: change. As our first director, Lester Jones, put it, “There are two kinds of airports: obsolete and those under construction.”

Begin at 5000 West Kearney Street — the location of the airport’s first and second terminal buildings.

The first photo shows the airport's first terminal building in July 1945. That’s the month the airport opened. The white frame colonial style building was meant to be temporary, but it served for 19 years! Notice how quickly it changed. Additions and annexes popped up, then a control tower, quickly followed by a radar tower.

The last photo foretells big changes. That’s Lester Jones in the middle, the airport’s first director. It’s November 1961. We’re not sure, but the trio appears to be looking at site plans for the second terminal. But wait, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. That will have to wait until the next post!

The airport's first terminal in July 1945. Click for a bigger version.


Wildlife control in 1951. The first terminal is in the background. Click image
to see bigger version.


The airport's first terminal seen here in the 1950s. Click for bigger version.


Troop movements in the 1950s. Click image to bigger version.


Radar equipment being installed in the 1950s. Click for bigger version.


The first terminal in 1958, seen from an arriving airliner. Click for bigger version.



The first terminal, 1958. Click for bigger version.


The first terminal seen here in 1958. Check out the 23 window VW bus! Click image for 
bigger version.


November 1961. The airport's first director, Lester Jones, stands in the middle.





The federal government shutdown hasn’t had a significant impact on security checkpoint wait times at our airport — not yet.

In the past few days, the folks who run airport checkpoints (TSA) report that about 7% of the national work force hasn’t shown up for work. Compare that to 3% last year. Presumably, the uptick is due to workers not showing up because they’re not being paid.

With twice as many workers absent it seems logical that checkpoint wait times should go up dramatically. But so far, they really haven’t. Why? Probably this: at most North American airports January is the slowest month of the year. When I say slow, I mean fewer people are flying.



At our airport January passengers numbers are less than half what they are during the busiest month of the year, which is June.

Bottom line: we haven’t seen checkpoint slowdowns yet because it’s the slowest time of the year.

This doesn’t mean long lines won’t eventually form; it’s a matter of time. How long will the shutdown last — will it run into the busy time of the year? How long will TSA employees show up without a pay check? How long can they afford to show up?

Think about all that if you’re flying during the shutdown. Take a long look at the TSA folks in the checkpoint. And thank them.

And think about the workers at the Federal Aviation Administration. They staff the control towers at airports; they direct air traffic in the sky.

And let’s not forget the National Weather Service. Its weather forecasts help guide pilots through weather’s uncertainty.

And finally …

If you know a federal worker make sure they know about a loan program announced on Monday by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and the Multipli Credit Union. Federal workers who live or work in Christian, Dade, Dallas, Greene, Lawrence, Polk and Webster counties are eligible for the loan program.

Click here for more information about the loan program.