ELMHURST AIRPORT


Maggie K



Some people might remember that the Chicago area used to have a third airport. It was located in Elmhurst. It was located on a lot between Grand Ave. and Lake Street, and between Rout 83 and Church Road. It covered about 160 acres.

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The airport was started in 1923 because a man named Joe James landed his plane in North Elmhurst. James and Fred Bouchard, an Elmhurst resident, operated the airport. Alonzo Fischer was the prime mover behind the project. It was called the “Eagle Flying Field”. They operated the airport until James left in 1929. Then the airport was incorporated. It had flight school, support services, and commercial and private planes.

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The airport had only two runways, both grass. There were no lights on the runways for most of the time the airport existed so the pilots had to use the distance of the flares to know where to land. There was a radio tower in front of one of the runways so it was hard for pilots to land.

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In 1929 the Elmhurst Press published an article about the airport that encouraged people to join the “Humming Bird” flying club. They had free flight instruction. Before the U.S. entered World War ll The Civil Air Patrol was created. It was used in flood relief, disaster relief, and rescue missions. The Elmhurst Airport was used as a recruiting station.

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Tufts-Edgecumbe Co. became the manager of Elmhurst Airport in 1945. The company made many good changes to the airport. It improved runways and built training facilities. It also offered flying lessons and civilian classes. It was manager till 1956 because the owners did not renew the lease. The land is now part of Elmhurst’s industrial park.

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