Addison Airport was established in 1957 by a group of Dallas businessmen led by John Murchison and W.T. “Bill” Overton. These two men, along with Toddie Lee Wynn, Jr., James I. DeLoache, and W.D. DeSanders, served as the original Directors of Addison Airport, Inc., the private corporation formed to develop the new airport. Groundbreaking ceremonies for the $2,291,000 project – financed entirely with private funds – were held on March 16, 1957. The original airport featured a 4,500-foot long by 100-foot wide asphalt runway (Runway 15-33) and a 3,200-foot long by 200-foot wide packed turf crosswind runway (Runway 3-21) on a 400-acre site in the largely undeveloped northern suburbs of Dallas.
From the very beginning, Addison Airport was focused on serving the needs of business aviation. At the grand opening ceremony, a sign welcomed attendees to “the World’s Largest Exclusively Executive Airport” while press releases billed it as a “haven for the executive flyer”. Site selection was based in large part on a survey of aircraft owners: the site was purposely chosen because it was conveniently close to those who owned private aircraft, the majority of whom lived in or near North Dallas.
Eventually the primary runway was extended to its current length of approximately 7,200 feet and significant development occurred on both the west and the east sides of the runway. While the original runway length of 4,500 feet was sufficient to accommodate most of the business aircraft in use at the time – including the Douglas DC-6 and the Lockheed Super Constellation – it was not long enough to accommodate the small private jets that were growing in popularity. The runway extension enabled the airport to serve private jets.
By the mid-1970’s, a number of smaller airports closer to downtown Dallas – including the Park Cities and Highland Park airports – had been overrun by development and closed. The FAA, recognizing the importance to the national air transportation system of smaller airports serving business and private aviation interests, took steps aimed at protecting Addison Airport from suffering a similar fate. In 1976, the FAA approached the Town of Addison with a proposal for the Town to acquire the airport and become its public sponsor. The Town eventually agreed to the proposal, and with the assistance of an FAA grant providing 90% of the $8 million purchase price became the new owner of Addison Airport in 1976.
Below are a series of photos that show just a handful of the most memorable events and projects that have taken place here over the years.
Click any thumbnail image to view a slideshow