Grand Forks Municipal Airport Began in 1928

 

Grand Forks, N. D. – First steps toward securing municipal airport and landing field here were completed when the local commercial club paid R. W. Smith $500 for one year option on 160 acres of land one mile northwest of here. (The Winona Republican-Herald, Saturday Evening, June 2, 1928, Volume 28, Number 90, Page 6)

Airport Will Bring Planes. More Airmen Expected to Locate Here When New Field Is Opened. The four Travel Air planes now flying from the field at the end of Cherry street in this city are in the opinion of local airmen but the vanguard of many more planes which are expected to locate here following the opening of the new airport a mile west of Memorial Park cemetery in the near future. The planes are owned by Hubert Rueschenberg and his partner Ralph Hopkins, of Redfield, S. D., who expects to come here soon; E. M. Canfield of Fargo, John Hofstad of Grand Forks and a Fargo concern which owns the plane flown by Art Burnevik of that city. Flying activities will be transferred from the Cherry street field to the new airport as soon as the field is in condition for the purpose, which is expected to be within a week. When the new location is ready, there will be two planes available for all kinds of flying, the one now being piloted by Rueschenberg and another to be delivered here to C. E. Chaney of this city. Several other projects are in view besides the location of the two ships on the new airport, one being the arrangement with Fargo for a regular service between the two cities. With a good flying field and airplanes established here, Grand Forks will be as well equipped for air travel as any city in this part of the northwest, it is pointed out. It will be possible for a Grand Forks business man to leave the city early in the morning for the Twin Cities, transact business there during the day and return here in the evening, the trip taking about three hours each way. (Grand Forks Herald, Friday, June 8, 1928, Volume XLVII, Number 183, Page 5)

Work Proceeding On Grand Forks Airport. The work of grading and establishing of a hub from which airplanes may take off in various directions is proceeding this week at the Grand Forks airport, with prospects good that the field will be in condition for the use of planes within a short time, it was stated yesterday by J. H. McNicol, head of the airport committee. Runways which extend northwest, southwest, southeast and northeast from the hub are being worked on this week, and there is already a temporary runway east and west across the field. (Grand Forks Herald, Saturday, June 30, 1928, Volume XLVII, Number 202, Page 5)

Local Planes Start Using New Airport. Use of the new Grand Forks airport by local aviators will start today, following the moving yesterday from the old air field in the southwest corner of the city, of three Grand Forks planes to the new location for future operations. The ships moved to the airport are those belonging to John Hoffstad and Hubert Ruschenberg and the plane formerly owned by John Hippe. Allan Olson, who flew a plane belonging to A. J. Jaster of Devils Lake to Grand Forks last Friday from Omaha, returned to Omaha Monday morning and Mr. Jaster took his plane to Devils Lake. (Grand Forks Herald, Tuesday, July 10, 1928, Volume XLVII, Number 210, Page 5)

Real Airport In Sight For Grand Forks. An airport that will permit even the largest commercial planes to land and take off is in sight for Grand Forks with work already done on the new landing field a mile west of the cemeteries on the Skidmore avenue road, in the opinion of fliers who have had occasion to make use of it. According to Hugh Rueschenberg, local commercial flier, the field has already been well prepared for use by small planes so that landing and taking off can be easily accomplished regardless of wind direction. Further leveling is planned in the future. Mr. Reuschenberg and J. P. Hofstad, local pilots of Travel Air two-passenger planes formed an escort of honor for the tri-motored Fokker several miles when it left the city Thursday afternoon carrying Hanford MacNider and F. Trubee Davison from the legion convention here. The new landing field which was just occupied this week is well marked and easily found by visiting airmen. W. W. Blain, secretary of the Grand Forks Commercial club, and D. G. Kelly took off last evening for Winnipeg in a plane piloted by Hugh Rueschenberg of this city. They will return this evening. (Grand Forks Herald, Friday, July 13, 1928, Volume XLVII, Number 213, Page 5)

No Action Taken On Airport Dedication At Monday Meeting. No action was taken in the matter of arranging a formal dedication of the Grand Forks airport at a meeting of the airport committee of the Grand Forks Commercial club yesterday afternoon. The progress of the airport was discussed and the work of improving the field will go ahead as fast as possible, it was agreed. The general sentiment of the meeting seemed to be that the most appropriate time for a dedication would be after the city has taken over the airport, probably some time during the coming year. (Grand Forks Herald, Tuesday, July 31, 1928, Volume XLVII, Number 228, Page 5)

Airport Store Robbed During Friday Night. A quantity of candy and gum was stolen from the lunch room building at the Grand Forks municipal airport some time Friday night by persons who forced the lock to enter the building, it was reported today by the sheriff’s office. Last night’s theft was the second time airport buildings have been broken into within the past two weeks. A week ago Monday night, the building owned by J. P. Hofstad, local plane owner, was broken into and a considerable quantity of gasoline, oil and valuable tools stolen by persons who have not as yet been apprehended. The intruders also set fire to a pile of old lumber close to the building, endangering the building, according to George B. Reynolds, president of the Master Aeronautical corporation which owns the structure. Don Whitman, one of the company directors, was passing by some distance from the airport about 10:30 o’clock last night and noticed the fire and also several cars parked on and near the flying field, according the Reynolds, but paid no particular attention to the matter, thinking some of the company employees had built the bonfire. Will Have Watchman. As a precaution against further loss of property and against fire at the airport, a night watchman will be put on duty at the flying field within the next few days, Mr. Reynolds said today. No clues to the identity of those who committed the theft had been found by sheriff’s office up to late Saturday night, they said. (Grand Forks Herald, Sunday, May 19, 1929, Volume XLVIII, Number 169, Page 11)

Road To Airport Will Be Graded. County Outfit to Begin Work Today on Highway Started Last Fall. Grading of the highway leading from the end of University avenue to the Grand Forks airport is scheduled to be started today with one of the county outfits under the supervision of M. B. Nelson of Manvel, county commissioner of the third district. Last year a new grade was made along the west side of the Neche line of the Great Northern railroad, extending from directly west of the end of University avenue north past the east end of the flying field, a distance of three-quarters of a mile. Cold weather prevented the completion of this work, and now it is intended that the road be widened and made smooth. Grading also is expected to be done on the road leading from the end of University avenue west to the railroad track, where it connects with the airport road. When these jobs are completed the county outfit is expected to be used to grade the road extending from the northwest corner of the fair grounds north to the bridge at the section line. (Grand Forks Herald, Wednesday, September 18, 1929, Volume XLVIII, Number 273, Page 1)

City Preparing To Buy Airport. Grand Forks city commissioners, at their meeting Wednesday noon, ordered City Attorney O. T. Owen to prepare a statement showing the condition of title of the Grand Forks airport, looking to the taking up of the option held by service clubs of the city, and the purchase of the property. (Grand Forks Herald, Thursday, October 17, 1929, Volume XLVIII, Number 298, Page 4)

Aviation Shows Steady Growth In Grand Forks This Summer And Fall. Local Air Pilots Active; Propeller Factory Established; Many Outside Planes Visit Airport In Past Few Months. The steady growth of aviation in Grand Forks during the past year is shown by the increasing activities of local air pilots, by the establishment of a propeller factory in the city which has already equipped local and outside planes with its product and by visits from many planes including the huge Stanolind, an Army Fokker plane a big Stinson Detroiter and a Lockheed Vega machine during the past summer.

Airport Purchased. Since the purchase a few months ago of an option on the 160-acre site of the Grand Forks airport by service clubs on this city with the assistance of the Commercial club, local aviators have attracted steadily increasing attention in this vicinity. The air port which is located one mile west of Memorial Park cemetery, has splendid drainage and an excellent location near the right-of-way of the Great Northern railroad, has been graded during the summer and has markers and an air indicator or “sock” erected for the guidance of pilots using the field. Although further improvements at the port have been limited by the fact that the state law does not permit the city to buy the land, the advantages it already possesses have enabled fliers to takeoff or land during practically all sorts of weather during the past few months.

Six Pilots Here. At the present time, Grand Forks has six pilots, either licensed or eligible for some form of license and five students with a considerable number of flying hours to the credit. Local pilots include Hubert Rueschenberg and C. E. Cheney, both of whom were recently issued air transport licenses by the United States department of commerce, J. P. Hofstad, Al Bergland, George B. Reynolds and R. Hopkins.

Flying Students. The students are T. Hanson, of Edinburg; Henry L. Truelsen of Belfield, N. D.; and Frank Danner, Walter Jensen and Everett Kelly, all of Grand Forks. This group is now taking instruction from local pilots. Of the pilots, Rueschenberg and Hofstad have done considerable barnstorming this summer, in addition to local flying, their activities covering many different sections of the northwest. Cheney spent a portion of the summer taking army air training at a Kansas City airport and also did some barnstorming and taxi work from the local port.

In addition, Grand Forks air men have taken part in several air meets and airport dedications and have won a number of races during the past summer. Local pilots made a very creditable showing at the Mott air derby and won most of the events at the Richland county fair when the Wahpeton, N. D., airport was dedicated. Inspector A. Koerbling, of the United States department of commerce, conducted examinations for air transport license here in August at which time Rueschenberg passed the test. The inspector visited the local port again in October, to examine local planes as well as a machine from Manitoba which came here for reexamination for export license.

Stanolind a Visitor. The big Stanolind machine, which came to Grand Forks during the state convention of the American Legion here this summer, brought of the legion, and Past National Commander Hanford MacNider of the legion and Assistant Secretary of War F. Trubee Davison, arrived during the same week in the Army Fokker. Both these large planes were able to land here because of the good location and condition of the local airport. Other visits here during the summer and fall included those of a Lockheed Vega four-passenger machine, two Stinson Detroiter planes, a Waco from Manitoba, the “Baby Ruth” machine which bombarded the city with candy and gum and created a big stir among the “kids” of the city and a number of others. (Grand Forks Herald, Sunday, November 4, 1928, Volume XLVII, Number 4, Page 17)

Guide For Aviators Painted On Mill Roof. Aviators flying over this city may now easily determine their location with the assistance of yellow letters, fifteen feet wide and twenty feet high, standing out against the black roof of the state mill and elevator, which tell them that they are in Grand Forks and that the airport is two miles away in the direction of a painted arrow. In accordance with a suggestion made by F. Trubee Davidson, assistant secretary of war for aviation, when he spoke at the state convention of the American Legion last July, that every town should do this, the local Legion post took it upon themselves to see that this city is labeled for aviators. Although there was some dispute as to whether the work should be done this fall or next spring when the roof of the mill was due to be painted, it was decided that the painting of the sign could be done this fall and not be disturbed next spring. On Sunday a delegation of the members of the American Legion climbed to the top of the elevator section of the mill and elevator and painted the name of the city in huge letters and then painted an arrow pointing to the municipal landing field with the information below the arrow, “two miles.” (Grand Forks Herald, Tuesday, November 6, 1928, Volume XLVII, Number 5, Page 5)

Grand Forks Airport. Rapid Strides Made Toward Front Rank. Development of Past Year At Local Field Is Remarkable. With two air schools operating on the municipal airport, several planes engaged in taxi and pleasure work, business men taking lessons to become pilots, and the air route being used more and more for local business trips, Grand Forks is or bids fair to become the aeronautical capitol of this section of the country. But a year ago planes enroute to Grand Forks were compelled to land in an alfalfa field or a pasture, and a field lay all but abandoned north west of the University. Today this quarter section is the Grand Forks airport with a six plane hangar, two office buildings, and facilities for servicing and handling any plane that may land in the city.

Sunday is always a busy day at the airport. Business men, students, women and children gather there in swarms. Many take pleasure trips in the planes over the city, others merely watch the landing and taking off of the machines, perhaps envying their more fortunate brothers and sisters who climb into the planes. Visiting planes come into the city and are guided to the port by the sign on the roof of the State Mill and Elevator which points the way to the field. A curious crowd always gathers round the air voyagers who venture into the city. You will hear technical discussions of the ships as they hover over the port before landing. Boys, men and even women, will look at a visiting plane and then catalog the make, “Waco,” “Curtiss,” or “Ryan,” will be the remark that the casual observer hears.

City Becoming Air Minded. Grand Forks is rapidly becoming air minded and the proof is at the airport. Student pilots galore flock out on the field when a plane adjustment is to be made by the pilots of the field. Small boys crowd into the circle around the plane and gaze with wonder at the work of the pilot. The red coated English coach driver with his whip and boots excited no more wonder among the boys of the countryside than does the helmeted and goggled air pilot of today. Planes operated from the local airport by the Master Aeronautical corporation and by J. P. Hofstad. The first operates a Curtiss Robin plane, and has another one to be delivered as soon as possible. Mr. Hofstad operates a Travel Air plane.

Business men of the city are taking up flying. Don Whitman, local manager of the J. C. Penney store, is taking a course of flying lessons with a view of obtaining a private pilot license. Dr. H. E. Foley expects to obtain the same kind of a license, and both will probably have planes at the local port before the season is over. John Hippee has a private plane that is being assembled and will be taken to the port in the near future. Night Captain Art Selberg of the police force expects to finish his flying instructions during the summer and gain a pilot license. Ed Stinson is another local business man who expects to fly his own craft in the near future.

Students Coming. The first of June will bring a host of students to the city to take instructions under George Lowes, chief pilot of the Aeronautical corporation. One of these will be a woman, Miss Richardson of Parshall, North Dakota, who will take lessons for a private pilot license. She has already ordered her own plane, and will have it as soon as her course is completed. The ability of George Lowes as an instructor is well known in his home state of Iowa, and two students from Estherville in that state have signed up for a course of instructions in the local school. To take care of the additional students another plane similar to the one now here will be placed in service, and George Scheley, expert air motor mechanic will be installed at the local field as chief mechanician. If a conservative estimate made by George B. Reynolds can be accepted as a criterion to go by, at least fifty students will receive air diplomas from the local school before winter weather closes the instruction period of this year. Among the students at the local port who are now taking up the course that leads to pilot licenses are Leonard Hippee, Genneth Berquist, Walter Jenson, Frank Danner, Tom Stewart and Henry Lovequist.

This is First Year. This is the accomplishment of the first year of the Grand Forks Municipal airport. A year ago the city had no airport, but through the activities of the Grand Forks Commercial Club and other civic bodies the port was secured, and it is to be the property of the city. A year ago it was impossible for the city to acquire property outside of the city limits except for the purpose of making parks, but the last legislature passed the necessary laws to allow city (cities) to secure airports. Air experts who have visited the local airport pronounce it an ideal location and speak highly of the lay of the land for port purposes. The committee that picked out the land was headed by Postmaster J. H. McNicol, and special care was taken to see that it was within the limits prescribed by the postoffice department as to the distance of airmail landing fields from the postoffice.

Another feature of the Grand Forks Municipal airport is that it is a full quarter section of land and gives a half mile runway in each direction, enough for any type of plane. The runways are being arranged so that ships may land and takeoff regardless of the direction of the wind. Speaking of the progress made at the local port, Mr. McNicol stated that Grand Forks progressed slowly when purchasing the field, and made sure that the progress made was right before going further ahead. He declared that many cities had purchased smaller tracts of land and were now finding them inadequate for the purpose. He gave much credit to the city commission for their assistance in picking out the location of the field and the interest shown in the matter before the law allowed the city to purchase the land.

Steps All Forward. The port will soon be turned over to the city government, and will be operated as a municipal field. George B. Reynolds, president of the Aeronautical corporation declares that Grand Forks is far ahead of most cities in air preparation. He admits that there is much to be done at the local field, but states that so far, the progress made is such that no steps will have to be retraced. “If Grand Forks is not the air capital of this section of the country,” he states, “it soon will be.” Some idea of the importance of an airfield to a city can be gleaned from the fact that with the flying season hardly opened in the northwest from five to ten planes from outside the city land at the local port every week. As the season advances this number will constantly increase, as flying is rapidly increasing in this section of the county. Numerous local business men have already made trips to various places by air, and local enthusiasts state that as soon as the business fraternity fully realizes the speed, safety and convenience of air travel, it will be a common thing for a man to leave Grand Forks in the morning spend a business day in the Twin Cities and be back to his office by evening.

Regular Passenger Service. Regular passenger service is just a step ahead from the local airport, according to members of the committee who have the matter in charge. The Winnipeg-Omaha airmail, a Winnipeg, Grand Forks, Fargo, Minneapolis passenger line and even a transcontinental passenger route over the northern section of the country are being commonly discussed. Substantial business men are becoming interested in the establishment of air lines through the country, and some there are, who state that it is only a short time when all passenger traffic will be through the air. The air passenger business is thoroughly established in the eastern sections of the United States and it is slowly spreading westward to where it will meet the established air business of the west coast. A visit to the Grand Forks airport on a Sunday afternoon will convince anyone that Grand Forks is becoming air minded. It is a busy place, and attachees (attachés) of the field have a difficult time keeping back the curious spectators who would rush out on the field as planes land or hop off. (Grand Forks Herald, Sunday, May 12, 1929, Volume XLVIII, Number 163, Page 2)

Grand Forks Officially Made Airport of Entry. Washington, D. C. – (AP) – Grand Forks, N. D., has been made a temporary airport of entry, the department of commerce announced today. Action of the department of commerce will facilitate aerial travel between Grand Forks and Canadian points. (The Winona Republican-Herald, Saturday Evening, June 21, 1930, Volume 30, Number 106, Page 1)

Page 9. Opening Of Route Recalls History Of Early Flying. Hoxsey and McGoey Were First Birdmen; Landing Field Obtained in 1928. Residents of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks will hail the advent of airmail to the city as one of the great achievements of the age in which we live, but citizens of the territorial days will recall that day in 1881 when the first train cross the Red river to enter Grand Forks as another great day in the history of the city. Undoubtedly in a few years the whir of mail plane propellers will be as familiar to the populace as the whistle of a locomotive. It was only half a century ago that the coming of a railroad meant the opening of new vistas to the frontier city. Today the mail service of the iron horse is too slow and winged messengers deliver the mail with a speed that was beyond the dreams of possibility when the first train was welcomed to Grand Forks.

In the crowd that will witness the landing of the first mail plane there will be some who saw the arrival of the first bunting decked train in Grand Forks, and their minds naturally will revert to the advances that have been made in the half century between the arrival of the first train in Grand Forks and the coming of the first airmail plane. While the number that recall the coming of rails to Grand Forks will be few, the development of air traffic is known to most of the adult population of the city. The planes that will land in Grand Forks Monday will be a far cry from the crude contraption with which Wilbur and Orville Wright astonished the world on that December day of 1903 when they made a flight of some 300 feet in a heavier than air machine at Kitty Hawk, N.C.

Early Flying Recalled. Grand Forks residents recall the wonder of the occasion, but like most of the rest of the world it was dismissed as a freak performance, a circus stunt. Older inhabitants recalled the experiences of Prof. Langley and dismissed the matter from their minds. Still the Wrights had found “something,” and a few years later the citizens of the Grand Forks district flocked to the fair to see Archie Hoxey and his flying crate. Hoxey made the first flight in North Dakota at the Grand Forks fair of 1910. He was an attraction, and few spectators of those early flights of Hoxey, Ralph Johnstone, Lincoln Beachey and others who soared in “flying crates” realized that they were more than daredevil hippodrome performances. Tom McGoey, premier birdman of the Northwest, brought the possibilities of flying a little closer to Grand Forks residents with the first plane owned in this city. Tom is one of the few pioneers of the air who has lived to see aviation become a commercial reality. It was not until the World war that flying came into its own. Hundreds of youthful soldiers in all parts of the world were initiated into the arts and mysteries of aviation, and planes became an actuality in the world at large.

Army Fliers Aid Cause. With the signing of the armistice in 1919 army flyers returned to their homes and talked aviation. The romance of the war was in the air and J. Myron Bacon, Harry Scouton of Inkster, Don Payne, Lloyd Campbell, Reinhold Jacobi, the late Harold Barnes and other men who piloted army aircraft spread the gospel of flying in Grand Forks. Numerous fliers appeared in the city during the subsequent years. Some took passengers for a ride, but the science remained more or less of a novelty and it was not until 1927 that Grand Forks began to think seriously of the new mode of transportation. The Grand Forks Commercial club had maintained an aviation committee for a couple of years prior to that but it had done little more than note the spread of airmail and commercial lines over the nation. By 1927 the possibilities of commercial flights had been well established and Grand Forks men realized that the city must provide for a new transportation development. During that year Al Berglund, John Hoffstad, Art Burnevick and other aviators made visits to Grand Forks in old army Jenny planes, and many citizens visited the improvised landing field southwest of the city to take their first flights. J. H. McNicol was chairman of the aviation committee of the Commerce club. He had but one vision and that was an adequate and modern landing field for Grand Forks.

Seeks Donated Field. For some time he corresponded with Thomas D. Campbell, former resident of the city, relative to the grant of a tract of land across Belmont road from Lincoln Park for use as a city airport. Mr. Campbell did not care to donate a quarter section and Mr. McNicol was determined that the Grand Forks port should not be less than that. In February of 1928, W. W. Blain, secretary of the Commercial club attended the meeting of the Minnesota commercial club secretaries and Colonel L. H. Brittin, who then was with the St. Paul association addressed the meeting on the advantages of cities securing suitable airports. Mr. Blain had an interview with the colonel, who just then was entering the aviation field, and he promised to visit Grand Forks and aid in the selection of an airport. Lat in March of 1928, Charles (Speed) Holman, chief pilot of the Northwest Airways, Inc., of which Colonel Brittin is vice president and manager came to Grand Forks in place of the colonel. He was taken on a tour of the various sites suggested for the port by members of the Commercial club committee which included in addition to Mr. McNicol, E. J. Lander, Dr. H. H. Healy, Dr. H. W. F. Law and Edgar Berg. A. I. Hunter was president of the club at that time. Approves Present Field. Mr. Holman approved the 16 acres of land lying northwest of

Page 14. the city and steps were taken to secure it for an airport to be owned by the city of Grand Forks. This land was held by the Reginald Smith estate. Steps were opened to secure it for the city, but the state laws prohibited cities of North Dakota from purchasing land outside of the corporate limits for any purpose except public parks. John L. Hulteng, president of the city commission, took the matter up with the North Dakota League of Municipalities and a bill was drafted for submission to the 1929 session of the legislature. This was subsequently passed, but the members of the aviation committee in 1928 were not willing to delay the acquiring of an airport site for another year and proceeded with negotiations for the tract. In the meantime the interest of Grand Forks in air matters was advanced further by the visit to this city of the Stanolind, huge tri-motor Ford monoplane owned by the Standard Oil of Indiana. The officials of the company invited the business men and civic leaders of the city to make flights with them for the purpose of demonstrating the possibilities of air transport. There was no airport for the giant plane to use and it landed and took off from the alfalfa field of J. D. Bacon’s Lilac Hedge farm adjoining the fairgrounds.

Option on Field Secured. Without waiting for the state legislature to pass the bill authorizing the purchase of airports by cities the Commercial club decided to purchase an option on the land recommended by Mr. Holman. This was done late in the summer of 1928. The price of the option for one year was $500 and the Commercial club guaranteed $100, with the Merchants association, the Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis club each contributing a similar amount. Herbert Ruschenberg, a pilot, had come to Grand Forks some time before this with a Travel Air plane and was making flights over the city. He and John Hofstad, who employed Al Berglund as a pilot, immediately moved their planes to the new airport and established operations there. A small workshop was erected and Grand Forks had an airport with taxi service operating. By this time the legislature had passed the law enabling the city to acquire the land for the airport and late in the summer of 1929 the city of Grand Forks acquired title to the land, paying $8,000 for the 160 acres. Since the city owned the port it has been under the control of City Engineer E. L. Lium, who has mapped out runways, supervised the construction of buildings and taken charge of the grading and smoothing of the port. Interest in aviation in Grand Forks had been further stimulated in May of 1929 by the stop of the St. Paul-Winnipeg Goodwill Air tour, which drew thousands of spectators to the airport. Mr. Holman was the chief attraction at this meeting with an exhibition of stunt flying.

Whitman Becomes Interested. During the summer of 1929 Don E. Whitman, became interested in aviation in Grand Forks. The Grand Forks Air Transport was formed and a training school for pilots opened. Two Curtis Robin planes and a seven passenger Stinson-Detroit plane was brought to the city. A hangar and office building were constructed and aviation was established in the city on a sound basis. Possibilities of winter flying in this latitude were demonstrated the following winter when the Arctic air patrol of the United States army stopped here on its winter test flight from Selfridge field, Mich., to Seattle. All of the ships landed here in January of 1930 with only a broken ski on one plane to mar the performance.

During the summer the Canadian-American Airlines opened weekly passenger service through the city between the Twin Cities and Winnipeg. This was continued until fall when the line was sold to the Schlee Brock concern who later withdrew from the field. The summer of 1930 brought the National Reliability tour to Grand Forks and the city was treated to another air holiday. Officials of the tour were highly pleased with the accommodations of the Grand Forks port and the manner in which the tour was handled. Grand Forks residents were given an opportunity to see the latest in planes. The city was named a temporary airport of entry for ships to and from Canadian points and during the last year hundreds of planes have stopped at the port for service and customs clearance or inspection.

Seek Mail Service. From the opening of the port the officials and Commercial club heads had used every effort to obtain airmail service to the city. Colonel Brittin had become head of Northwest Airways and was interested in extending the Chicago-St. Paul line to Winnipeg with passenger and mail service. Last spring this concern established weekly passenger service through the city which has been maintained since. Monday it will change to daily service both ways with mail and passenger accommodations. Two factors were given much credit for the development of the airport by air officials. One has been the attitude of the city commission toward securing proper facilities for handling air service in Grand Forks and their cooperation with the Commercial club committee. The second is the county commission, which arranged for the grading and graveling of roads connecting the city with the airport.

The preparation for the landing of the first airmail in Grand Forks started actively about three years ago. Since that time a field of 160 acres, a half mile in each direction has been secured. It has been surfaced and put in shape to handle the largest planes in winter or summer. Complete service facilities for planes have been secured and air company officials and government inspectors have stated that few cities have better airport possibilities than Grand Forks. On December 2 of last year fire swept the machine shop and office of the transport company, destroying several planes and causing loss of about $10,000. Immediately following the blaze, Mr. Whitman and J. M. Bacon, who had become associated with him in the aviation venture, announced that the rebuilding of the destroyed structures would start at once. New buildings were put in place and when government officials made the preliminary inspections for the opening of airmail through the city, complete satisfaction was expressed with the facilities offered in Grand Forks for the servicing and repairing of planes. (Grand Forks Herald, Sunday, February 1, 1931, Volume 50, Number 80)

 

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