Minneapolis Airport - History

Minneapolis Airport - History


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In 1931 Charles and Anne Lindbergh made their "North to thr Orient" flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul. In the 1940s the airport was used for air service to Asia. In 1947 Northwest Airlines began the "Great Circle Route" which flew over the Arctic to Japan, China, Korea, and the Philippines shortened the trip to Asia by 2,000 miles. And in the 1970s yhe flights across the Arctic saved hundreds of miles flying to Europe.

Management Operated by the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) , which was created by the Minnesota Legislature in 1943 and consists of 14 a chairman and 14 commissioners. The mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis are commissioners.

Flights Nonstop or one-stop same plane flights to nearly 135 U. S. and 15 international destinations, with 454,723 flights.

Air Carriers 8 major U.S. airlines, 2 international, 7 regional, 18 charter and 16 cargo carriers.

Passengers 23.164,874 million

Cargo 378,240 metric tons (cargo and mail)
Employment Provides 113,000 jobs.


Minneapolis Airport - History

Edward L. Scharch reported on 28 Jul 1943 to U.S. Naval Air Station Minneapolis, MN for Primary flight training. He was billeted at the airport in Minneapolis on the north end of Wold-Chamberlain Field, where the US Navy Reserve has had an aviation base since 1928.

He received about 90-100 hours flying time in 10 weeks at both 'A' Base in Minneapolis and 'B' Base in South St. Paul at Fleming Field. Ed successfully completed Primary flight training on 7 Oct 1943 and was given 7 days leave from 15 Oct 1943 to 22 Oct 1943. He was transferred to NATC Pensacola, FL for Intermediate flight training on 24 Oct 1943.

Primary Flight Training Program

There were two flight training squadrons at this air station, each had their own designated areas immediately south of the Twin Cities. Squadron 1A covered a western area with cadets flying out of Wold-Chamberlain Field, the A-Base in Minneapolis. Those assigned to Squadron 1B trained in the eastern area and flew out of Fleming Field, the B-Base in South St. Paul.

Each base handled its own flight training and maintenance of aircraft. The ground crews and other support services were house at both bases. However, cadets were billeted only at Wold-Chamberlain Field in more than a dozen large wooden barracks built by the Navy.

Although a variety of airplanes were housed at A-Base, both squadrons favored using N2S trainers built by Stearman. It was nicknamed "Yellow Peril" because of the Navy's yellow paint scheme used on their training aircraft. Also, if a cadet failed to solo within a set time he was in "Peril" of washing out of the V-5 cadet program.

Each day after breakfast, about 95 cadets assigned to Squadron 1B boarded a bus in Minneapolis and they were transported to B-Base in South St. Paul. They flew during the morning and returned to the main air station for lunch and afternoon classes. An equal number of cadets, assigned to Squadron 1A, remained in Minneapolis for flight training at the A-Base.

The student fliers practiced weaving through pylons and learned other maneuvers within their designated training area. Most planes were airborne at the same time and followed the same route within their area. All cadets flew for ten days straight, followed by two days off. Practice for night flying, takeoffs and landings, was performed only at Fleming Field after it opened in 1943.

Immediately following the end of the war, NAS Minneapolis was placed in a maintenance status from 01 Oct 1945 through mid-1946. It was placed back in operational status for the reserves on 19 Jun 1946 and became the home port for reserve patrol squadron VP-911 on 06 Jul 1946. On 01 Jul 1963, the name of the station was changed to NAS Twin Cities. In 1970, NAS Twin Cities was disestablished and redesignated Naval Air Reserve Detachment. In 1979, the facility was re-designated again, as NARC Twin Cities.

Below is a general outline of the Primary flight training program at NAS Minneapolis which Ed Scharch completed in 1943.

Base History (Wold-Chamberlain Field) Minneapolis, MN

The site of today's Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has a storied past that predates the U.S. Navy's presence, as well as any other aviation activity at this location.

Interestingly enough, the land was once the site of the failed Twin City Motor Speedway which operated from 1915 to 1917. One million dollars was spent constructing the 2-mile long, high-banked concrete oval, with six outer grand stands and three infield tunnels. Following its bankruptcy, the track was sold at sheriff's auction for $250,000.

The airport land was previously the site of Twin City Motor Speedway., 2-mile long oval, from 1915 to 1917
The airport and abandoned speedway at Wold-Chamberlain Field in 1928. NRAB Minneapolis built a new "A" hangar and moved into the old 109th hangars that same year.
Wold-Chamberlain Field's first paved runways being laid by the WPA, circa 1937. The first hangar built for NRAB Minneapolis is in center behind work crew.

Also in 1917, the Twin Cities Aero Club formed and helped recruit and train pilots for World War I. It later joined the National Guard in developing the flying field. By 1918, there was a landing strip in the middle of the deserted speedway. The Security Aircraft Company built the first hangar on the site, and it was located on the slab of the abandoned track's front straightaway.

Prior to becoming an airport the site was: Twin City Motor Speedway (1915-1917)

In 1919, the State of Minnesota sought to establish an air squadron for the Army National Guard and acquired the site of the old speedway for a new airfield. The 160-acre property became known as Speedway Field in 1920. Twin City Aero Corporation leased the site, began removing part of the concrete track for a new grass landing strip. A wooden hangar was constructed for airmail service at the center of the field.

The State funded construction of three hangars on the north end of the airfield for the newly organized 109th Observation Squadron. The buildings and landing field were located inside the perimeter of the large concrete oval. On January 17, 1921, the unit became the first National Guard aviation squadron to receive federal recognition following World War I.

In 1923, Speedway Field was renamed Wold-Chamberlain Field in honor of two local pilots who died in the war. The Minneapolis Park Board acquired Wold-Chamberlain Field from Twin City Aero Corporation in 1926. Northwest Airways won the government's airmail contract and acquired the airport's only hangar.

In 1928, the U.S. Navy began construction of a new naval reserve air base at Wold-Chamberlain Airport, Minneapolis and erected their first hangar. It was established as NRAB Minneapolis on 1 October 1928. The NRAB also acquired the three hangars previously vacated by the 109th Observation Squadron when the National Guard unit relocated to St. Paul.

The airport began offering passenger service in 1929.

Over the years, the remaining sections of concrete raceway were broken up and used as fill to level the airport's site. In 1937, the old speedway was entirely gone and Wold-Chamberlain Field had paved runways laid by the Works Progress Administration.

In 1941, rapid expansion got underway at Wold-Chamberlain Field. The Navy began transforming the NRAB into a Naval Air Station to provide Primary flight training to the influx of naval aviation cadets (V-5). When the demand for training more pilots was stepped up, the air station developed a second training squadron and separate base east of Minneapolis.

The Navy purchased an existing grass airfield in South St. Paul and immediately began construction on their second base. Fleming Field (B-Base) was a self-contained auxiliary air facility that doubled the number of cadets who could be trained at NAS Minneapolis.

The Naval Reserve Aviation Base (NRAB Minneapolis) was re-designated as a Naval Aviation Station (NAS Minneapolis) on January 1, 1943. The air station was comprised of two separate flight training areas. Area 'A' covered the west metro area of Twin Cities and cadets flew out of Wold-Chamberlain Field in Minneapolis and was designated the 'A' Base. Fleming Field in South St. was a Naval Auxiliary Air Facility (NAAF) and designated as 'B' Base.

The main base in Minneapolis provided command, logistical, pilot housing, messing and classroom support for both bases. Each base provided ground crew housing, training, services and aircraft. All of the expansion work doubled the pilot training capacity. Navy V-5 cadets who completed Primary moved onto the next training stage, and eventually assigned to aircraft carriers or other squadrons for their deployment.

Early days as NRAB Minneapolis

During World War I, the Dunwoody Institute of Minneapolis became the first civilian school in the country to train mechanics and technicians for naval service.

On August 1, 1917, the first detachment of enlisted men was received at the school in Minneapolis from the U.S. Navy's Great Lakes station of Chicago, Illinois. Altogether, the school trained 4,271 men of the Navy. After the war, a Naval Reserve unit formed in Minneapolis. The Reservists were trained by University of Minnesota instructors in a choice of mechanic, student pilot, and officer courses.

On January 17, 1921, the 109th Observation Squadron became the first of 29 National Guard aviation squadrons to receive federal recognition following World War I. The State of Minnesota funded construction of three Guard hangars that were built at Speedway Field in Minneapolis.

Eventually, the U.S. Naval Reserve was established at Minneapolis and moved into the Guard's hangars. In 1923, the airfield in Minneapolis was re-dedicated as Wold-Chamberlain Field for two local pilots who died in the war.

On October 1, 1928, the 9th U.S. Naval District established NRAB Minneapolis as a reserve aviation base. The Navy built its first hangar on the north end of Wold-Chamberlain Field. The Navy acquired three existing hangars after the Minnesota National Guard moved to St. Paul about 1931. The four hangars on the north end of Wold-Chamberlain Field became the hub of the Minneapolis air station's cadet training program.

NAS Minneapolis (A Base) Expansion

In October 1940, the Reservists at Minneapolis were called to active duty. Planning got underway at Wold-Chamberlain Field, for expansion of the Navy's small reserve air base. It was to become a U.S. Naval Aviation Station and Primary Flight School for the Navy's V-5 aviation cadet program. In preparation for the swarm of student pilots expected, it was necessary to erect buildings, install equipment, assemble aircraft, and train those who would maintain the aircraft.

Naval cadets arriving on 1 May 1941, shortly before barracks were completed at Wold-Chamberlain Field, Minneapolis, MN.
NAS Minneapolis patch and insignia
On February 15, 1941, expansion began at Wold-Chamberlain Field. Construction of a student barracks with a galley and mess hall cost $95,000. On March 1, 1941, construction for a permanent hangar and administration building began. By then, approximately one-million cubic yards of excavation had been removed from the airport site by the Public Works Administration.

Other projects included an assembly and repair shop, dope and spray booth (for fuselage), central steam plant, paint and oil storage building, garage, pump house and water storage facilities. Roads, walks, plane parking facilities (aprons) and outside services were also started. The total cost of the contract was approximately $950,000, and the work was completed in nine months by November 1941.

Immediately after December 7, 1941, preparation of plans for the Navy's rapid expansion program got underway. Construction began on January 15, 1942, and it included five barracks, one instruction building, additions to the steam plant and garage. As the Primary training program was stepped up, a 102-man Bachelor Officers' Quarters, a second instructional building, four 200-man barracks, and a students' subsistence building were all built.

Along with expansion at Wold-Chamberlain Field, several outlying fields were leased, and they were graded and seeded for use as landing fields for Navy cadet training.

The NAS Minneapolis insignia was designed by Walt Disney Studios in Hollywood, California. Disney designed similar insignias and airplane nose art for many U.S. military units, free of charge, as a contribution to the war effort.

In an official letter dated 01 Apr 1941, the Commanding Officer of NRAB Minneapolis invited Walt Disney Studios to submit ideas on an insignia for the newly reclassified NAS Minneapolis.

Someone from Minneapolis suggested the design might feature a polar bear on skis and a cake of ice, or a penguin. A response and the insignia design from Vernon Caldwell at Disney Studios came back within the month.

NAAF Fleming Field ('B' Base) Established

NAAF Fleming Field was established on 20 July 1943 to provide support for NAS Minneapolis. In 1942, the Navy announced the opening of an naval auxiliary air facility and purchased McInnis Field, a small airfield at South St. Paul, for its B-Base. Fleming Field was planned by Navy Lt. H.K. Laing, and the Navy invested considerably into developing the airfield.

NAAF South St. Paul ('B' base) Fleming Field in 1947, showing 150-acre site and two 1,500-feet diameter circular runways. North pad was grass while south pad was "earthen cement."
Workers erecting the Navy's first group of four hangars (4th nearest) on north side of apron at Fleming Field, ca. 1942. Library of Congress photo
The Navy's fourth hangar of first group built on northeast corner of apron at Fleming Field, circa 1942. Library of Congress photo
Workers nearing completion of Navy's additional hangars on east side of new concrete apron at Fleming Field in 1943. Stearman N2S Kaydet "yellow perils" trainers are parked on apron.
Before the war, it was known first as Hook-Em-Cow Field and used by a local flying club. In 1939, the airfield was little more than a mowed landing strip surrounded by farms. Adrian C. McInnis bought the airfield in 1940, and he started a flight school under the federally funded Civilian Pilot Training Program. McInnis Field had only one hangar up when it was officially dedicated on September 29, 1940. Plans were announced that included building larger hangars, but the onset of World War II curbed those plans.

In September 1942, construction started on the n aval auxiliary airfield, which was all designed at the Navy Field Office in Minneapolis. The airfield was quickly transformed into an auxiliary Primary flight school for NAS Minneapolis' Training Squadron 1B. Four wooden hangars went up immediately on the north side of the concrete apron as it was being poured.

Two wooden barracks and ship's services were also constructed immediately east of the four hangars on Airport Road. The barracks only housed ground support personnel assigned to Fleming Field. One of the barracks housed WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), which was the Navy's Reserve unit for women during World War II.

Early additions to Fleming Field (B-Base) included two more hangars and assembly/maintenance shop built on the east side of the apron. A wooden platform tower, and storage facilities for water and gasoline were also added on the apron's north side. The control/signal tower was constructed using wood timber posts and dimensional lumber. A concrete apron was also built and measured approximately 780 ft. x 260 ft., and provided space for one-hundred U.S. Navy primary training aircraft.

Two diagonal taxi strips led from the apron to both the north and south landing pads. Each circle measured 1,500 feet in diameter. Student fliers simply taxied out to the center of the landing circle, revved up, and took off. The take-offs were in all directions taken as fast as students reached the center of the circle. Landings were the reverse of take-offs. Planes landed after lining up over the pylons.

Fleming's north land circle was a grass pad, and it could become packed with dirt, or snow in the winter months. Often the plane's propellers churned up clouds of dust causing visibility problems for cadets.

The south landing circle was situated on very sandy soil that gradually turned into a marsh with a small lake to its south. The circle was paved and received 200,000 square yards of a soil cement mix, but severe weather prevented its completion in the fall of 1942. A local farmer recalled how the south landing pad was built. Preparation for surfacing the field began with clearing and smoothing out the 1,500 foot diameter pad. After removing boulders and large stones, the entire circle was dusted with a layer of dry Portland cement. The top layer of sand and cement was dragged or mixed before the final step of wetting down the surface. When the mix cured it became known as the "earth cement" landing surface. The strength of the rough hardened surface was questionable but the Navy's Primary planes only weighed about 1,900 pounds.

The Navy built six Quonset-style hangars in all, numbered 2-7 (in addition to an existing hangar) and used them to house their N2S and older N3N "Yellow Peril" biplanes. The familiar barrel shaped hangars were constructed of glued laminated wood arch beams and made by Rilco Laminated Products, Inc., of Blue Earth, MN. Wood planks were used for roof decking and green tarpaper was used for roofing. The Navy constructed a total of six hangars, two barracks, a boiler room, power house and storage facilities.

In May 1943, the new Naval Auxiliary Air Field (McInnis Field) opened at South St. Paul, and it began operating as the B-Base for NAS Minneapolis. On July 20, 1943, McInnis Field was renamed Fleming Field in honor of Captain Richard E. Fleming (USMCR), a local aviator who died in the Battle of Midway on June 5, 1942. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Fleming Field was officially dedicated on January 3, 1944.

Additional Expansion and Projects

In summer 1943, NAS Minneapolis numerous projects at Wold-Chamberlain Field (A-Base) were underway. Construction began on a Link Trainer building (airplane simulator), guard house, photographic laboratory, engine test stand, a 120-bed dispensary, and storage building additions. Work was also completed on a public works building, modern fire station and a cold storage building (large enough to hold a month's supply of meat and produce for 3,000 individuals). By December 1943, a 300-foot Drill Hall was opened, as wells as an annex for the Bachelor Officers' Quarters, WAVE Officers' Quarters and Nurses quarters. A large swimming pool opened in early 1944.

Four hangars were completed under separate contracts, two hangars at A-Base Minneapolis, and two more at B-Base South St. Paul. The contract for South St. Paul included an assembly and repair shop and additions to water and gasoline storage facilities.

Collectibles

The insignia for NAS Minneapolis was designed by Walt Disney Studios in Hollywood, California. The animation studio designed many insignias for other U.S. military units, free of charge, as its contribution to the war effort.

In an official letter dated 01 Apr 1941, the Commanding Officer of NRAB Minneapolis invited Walt Disney Studios to submit ideas on an insignia for the newly reclassified NAS Minneapolis.

Someone from Minneapolis suggested the design might feature a polar bear on skis and a cake of ice, or a penguin. A response and the insignia design (shown left) from Vernon Caldwell at Disney Studios came back within the month.


TemperatureHumidityPressure
High36 °C (10 июн, 18:53) 90% (20 июн, 18:53) 1022 mbar (20 июн, 18:53)
Low12 °C (21 июн, 06:53) 17% (18 июн, 12:53) 1000 mbar (20 июн, 18:53)
Average26 °C49%1012 mbar
* Reported 6 июн 12:53 &mdash 21 июн 12:53, Minneapolis. Weather by CustomWeather, © 2021

Note: Actual official high and low records may vary slightly from our data, if they occured in-between our weather recording intervals. More about our weather records


Commemorative history: MSP airport has its own ugly connection — Charles Lindbergh

The removal of monuments to the Confederacy has at last started a necessary debate about that which is worthy of commemoration.

As America looks afresh at its parks and street signs, courthouses and public schools, perhaps this can be the hour when the name of Charles A. Lindbergh is finally detached from Terminal 1 at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Named after his father, who served as a congressman from Minnesota, Lindbergh was, of course, the great pioneer of American aviation who spent most of his childhood in Little Falls. The impulse to venerate him — and at the state’s main airport — is at least by this measure comprehensible.

Yet even by the time the terminal was dedicated to Lindbergh in 1985, around 10 years after his death, too much was known about his political history for this gesture to be justified.

Having visited Germany several times during the 1930s, Lindbergh was a Nazi sympathizer as war approached. In 1938, he accepted the Order of the German Eagle from Hermann Göring, who would be sentenced to death for war crimes and crimes against humanity at Nuremberg in 1945. Of Adolf Hitler, Lindbergh’s wife wrote in her diary that he “is a very great man, like an inspired religious leader … a mystic, a visionary who really wants the best for his country and on the whole has rather a broad view.”

Lindbergh’s “inclination toward Fascism is well known to his friends,” columnist Dorothy Thompson wrote in 1939. Once war came to Europe, he agitated for appeasement, including as a spokesperson for the notorious American First Committee.

Lindbergh argued that Western civilization depended on American neutrality and cooperation with Nazi Germany. In an August 1940 address, he condemned “accusations of aggression and barbarism on the part of Germany,” five years after the anti-Jewish Nuremberg Laws were passed and seven after the first concentration camp for political opponents was erected at Dachau.

But Lindbergh saved his ugliest words for a now infamous anti-Semitic speech given in September 1941, in which he accused American Jews of “agitating” for war. “The leaders of both the British and the Jewish races,” Lindbergh proclaimed, “for reasons which are not American, wish to involve us in the war.” He also said of American Jews: “Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government.”

Upon his death in 1974, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency wrote that Lindbergh would be remembered as a sympathizer of the Nazi regime who “had a blind spot that allowed him to criticize Hitler’s genocidal policies while at the same time supporting Nazi theories of racial elitism. … Neither those views nor his attitude towards Jews were ever repudiated.”

In a recent interview with Moment, the writer Leon Wieseltier wisely cautioned: “When you start by erasing part of the past that you don’t like, someone else may start erasing the part of the past that you do like.”

The danger is that by choosing not to remove unjustifiable and unconscionable memorials, we become hostages to our own timidity while being bound forever by the mistakes and misfortunes of previous generations. No individual is entitled to a monument, and there is no reason for America’s towns and cities to remain mausoleums dedicated to the monsters of the country’s history. With time and consideration, we’ve not only come to better understand these men and their deeds but why they were misguidedly venerated in the first place.

This is not a call to start tearing down the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site in Little Falls tomorrow morning, but rather a suggestion that a modest alteration be made at the gateway to Minnesota. Whatever his merits in the field of aviation, that the main airport terminal continues to be named after a prominent anti-Semite and Nazi sympathizer is at once an insult and a disgrace. As Virginia debates what best to do about one of its problematic native sons, Minnesota should ask what to do about Little Falls’ own, too.

Though it remains only as a suffix, a final retitling would be the right thing to do. Terminal 1-Lindbergh should be no more.

Liam Hoare is a freelance writer based in Vienna, where he is the Europe Editor for Moment Magazine and a contributor to Metropole. He is a frequent visitor to the Twin Cities.


MSP booms in the 1950s, starts construction on modern terminal

As the Twin Cities boomed in the 1950s, the Metropolitan Airports Commission found itself working to manage fast growth at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Thousands of service men and women returned from duty overseas as World War II ended, and the 1950s saw tremendous growth in the Twin Cities area, with the population rising 26 percent during the decade to 1.9 million.

Northwest Airlines also saw its passenger numbers continuing to climb, aided by its strong market position on flights to Asia.

And Northwest wasn’t alone. Four scheduled airlines operated at MSP after WW II, and the original terminal building on the west side of the airfield became stretched beyond capacity by the mid-1950s.

The novelty of flight was still strong in 1950, the first year the airport’s observation deck was open on the west side of the airfield. The deck drew 264,000 visitors that year -- an average of more than 700 per day.

For the airlines, MSP had other draws. A Mississippi River flood in 1952 prompted Northwest Airlines to look for a new location for its maintenance base at the St. Paul Airport, which was susceptible to high water.

In the mid-1950s construction started on a new Northwest Airlines overhaul maintenance base at MSP and the airline moved the St. Paul maintenance operations to the new facility in 1959. New general offices for Northwest and the maintenance base amounted to an $18 million investment and solidified MSP as the airline's home base.

In 1956, Northwest Airlines had 5,500 employees globally and was growing rapidly. Two years later, Northwest started modernizing its fleet, adding Lockheed Electras and Douglas DC-8s to the existing fleet of StratoCruisers.

By 1955 MSP had passed a milestone by serving more than 1 million passengers annually. That same year, 427 acres of Fort Snelling were deeded to the MAC, providing room for expansion of the airfield and needed facilities.

Planning the new terminal
Studies of a new, modern facility began after forecasts projected that passenger counts would reach 4 million by 1975. The airlines supported the idea of a new terminal and the entire project was designed with future expansions in mind, including space for ticket counters, offices, waiting areas and more concessions.

The new terminal came with an $8.5 million price tag and was designed to handle 14,000 passengers per day.
Compared to other airports, the key design component that set the new terminal apart was putting passenger services on the top level, with baggage and ground transportation services on the lower level.

Ground was broken in October 1958 on the east side of the airfield. The expansion plan, which totaled $47 million, also included a new control tower, access roads and upgrades to runways and taxiways.
Out front, the terminal had a new 2,500-space parking lot, also designed with room for expansion.

Police and fire service grows along with the airport
The Airport Police Department started in 1947 when the MAC hired two officers to patrol the small terminal on the west side of the airfield and the adjacent parking lot.

The job description included turning off the lights each evening before they went home.

The police department continued to add an officer or two each year during the 1950s, and then added 10 in 1962, the year the new terminal building opened. That brought the total to 25.

Police department milestones included the formation of a detective division in 1974 and a SWAT team in 1978.
For years, the police facilities were housed on the baggage claim level at Terminal 1. In 1984, police administration moved to the mezzanine level and the communications center moved to a shared space with Airside Operations.

Today, the Airport Police Department includes 115 sworn officers and 70 non-sworn personnel. They respond to a wide variety of calls as 38 million people pass through MSP annually.

In its early days, MSP relied on the Minneapolis Fire Department for fire service. In the 1950s, Minneapolis had a fire station at the Naval Air Station and responded to calls from that location.

The Air Force eventually took over the firefighting responsibilities at the airport.

With the new terminal under construction in the late 1950s, the MAC moved toward launching its own fire department. In 1961 the Air Force Fire Department’s fire equipment was transferred to the MAC. In 1962, construction of a new fire station near the control tower began.

When runway 17/35 was planned, the airport needed a second fire station, due to an FAA rule that fire crews have to be able to reach the end of each runway within 3 minutes. The MAC built a new fire station next to Terminal 2 in 2005, and the Airport Fire Department administration also is based there.

Today, the Airport Fire Department has 51 employees, including administrative staff. About 70 percent of department calls are medical-related.

The new terminal gives MSP a modern look, room to expand
After more than three years of construction, the new terminal opened on Jan. 13, 1962. An open house the next day drew a crowd of 100,000. The Augsburg College Band and the Business and Industrial Choral Society provided the entertainment.

The exterior featured the eye-catching “sawtooth” roof with 17 folds, which is still a signature component of the building. The two concourses that extended off the terminal provided a total of 24 gates for aircraft.
The upper-level roadway in front of the terminal came with a state-of-the-art built-in snow-melting system. Services in the ticketing lobby initially included a drugstore and a children’s nursery.

As with all US airports, there were no security checkpoints at MSP until the early 1970s.

Closer to the airport’s two concourses, passengers could find food services including a dining room, snack bar and coffee shop all served by a common kitchen.

Initially, the terminal’s two concourses were called Piers B and C. However, the names sounded too similar on the 1960s public address system used at MSP, and they were changed to Blue and Red – known today as Concourses E and F.

The first flight to arrive at the terminal was operated by Northwest Airlines and arrived a week after the public opening, on Jan. 21.

The projected growth in passenger numbers in the mid-1950s lived up to expectations, as the airport served 756,000 passengers in 1950, booming to 1.8 million in 1960.

The number of carriers serving MSP had continued to expand as well. Eastern Air Lines and Ozark Airlines had entered the market in the late 1950s, and Western, United, North Central and Braniff were also offering flights at MSP.

The first scheduled jet aircraft flight came through the airport on Jan. 5, 1961, as a Northwest Airlines DC-8 stopped at MSP in route to Chicago. Braniff began jet service to MSP four months later.

As the jet age arrived at MSP, neighborhoods around the airport were in the midst of the Baby Boom. As evidence, enrollment in the Richfield Public Schools went from 2,506 in 1950 to 10,055 in 1960.

With more people moving into newly built subdivisions near MSP, airport noise started to attract more attention. That noise, particularly from commercial jetliners, would play a key role in a late-1960s push to move the airport farther away from the urban center.


MSP booms in the 1950s, starts construction on modern terminal

As the Twin Cities boomed in the 1950s, the Metropolitan Airports Commission found itself working to manage fast growth at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Thousands of service men and women returned from duty overseas as World War II ended, and the 1950s saw tremendous growth in the Twin Cities area, with the population rising 26 percent during the decade to 1.9 million.

Northwest Airlines also saw its passenger numbers continuing to climb, aided by its strong market position on flights to Asia.

And Northwest wasn’t alone. Four scheduled airlines operated at MSP after WW II, and the original terminal building on the west side of the airfield became stretched beyond capacity by the mid-1950s.

The novelty of flight was still strong in 1950, the first year the airport’s observation deck was open on the west side of the airfield. The deck drew 264,000 visitors that year -- an average of more than 700 per day.

For the airlines, MSP had other draws. A Mississippi River flood in 1952 prompted Northwest Airlines to look for a new location for its maintenance base at the St. Paul Airport, which was susceptible to high water.

In the mid-1950s construction started on a new Northwest Airlines overhaul maintenance base at MSP and the airline moved the St. Paul maintenance operations to the new facility in 1959. New general offices for Northwest and the maintenance base amounted to an $18 million investment and solidified MSP as the airline's home base.

In 1956, Northwest Airlines had 5,500 employees globally and was growing rapidly. Two years later, Northwest started modernizing its fleet, adding Lockheed Electras and Douglas DC-8s to the existing fleet of StratoCruisers.

By 1955 MSP had passed a milestone by serving more than 1 million passengers annually. That same year, 427 acres of Fort Snelling were deeded to the MAC, providing room for expansion of the airfield and needed facilities.

Planning the new terminal
Studies of a new, modern facility began after forecasts projected that passenger counts would reach 4 million by 1975. The airlines supported the idea of a new terminal and the entire project was designed with future expansions in mind, including space for ticket counters, offices, waiting areas and more concessions.

The new terminal came with an $8.5 million price tag and was designed to handle 14,000 passengers per day.
Compared to other airports, the key design component that set the new terminal apart was putting passenger services on the top level, with baggage and ground transportation services on the lower level.

Ground was broken in October 1958 on the east side of the airfield. The expansion plan, which totaled $47 million, also included a new control tower, access roads and upgrades to runways and taxiways.
Out front, the terminal had a new 2,500-space parking lot, also designed with room for expansion.

Police and fire service grows along with the airport
The Airport Police Department started in 1947 when the MAC hired two officers to patrol the small terminal on the west side of the airfield and the adjacent parking lot.

The job description included turning off the lights each evening before they went home.

The police department continued to add an officer or two each year during the 1950s, and then added 10 in 1962, the year the new terminal building opened. That brought the total to 25.

Police department milestones included the formation of a detective division in 1974 and a SWAT team in 1978.
For years, the police facilities were housed on the baggage claim level at Terminal 1. In 1984, police administration moved to the mezzanine level and the communications center moved to a shared space with Airside Operations.

Today, the Airport Police Department includes 115 sworn officers and 70 non-sworn personnel. They respond to a wide variety of calls as 38 million people pass through MSP annually.

In its early days, MSP relied on the Minneapolis Fire Department for fire service. In the 1950s, Minneapolis had a fire station at the Naval Air Station and responded to calls from that location.

The Air Force eventually took over the firefighting responsibilities at the airport.

With the new terminal under construction in the late 1950s, the MAC moved toward launching its own fire department. In 1961 the Air Force Fire Department’s fire equipment was transferred to the MAC. In 1962, construction of a new fire station near the control tower began.

When runway 17/35 was planned, the airport needed a second fire station, due to an FAA rule that fire crews have to be able to reach the end of each runway within 3 minutes. The MAC built a new fire station next to Terminal 2 in 2005, and the Airport Fire Department administration also is based there.

Today, the Airport Fire Department has 51 employees, including administrative staff. About 70 percent of department calls are medical-related.

The new terminal gives MSP a modern look, room to expand
After more than three years of construction, the new terminal opened on Jan. 13, 1962. An open house the next day drew a crowd of 100,000. The Augsburg College Band and the Business and Industrial Choral Society provided the entertainment.

The exterior featured the eye-catching “sawtooth” roof with 17 folds, which is still a signature component of the building. The two concourses that extended off the terminal provided a total of 24 gates for aircraft.
The upper-level roadway in front of the terminal came with a state-of-the-art built-in snow-melting system. Services in the ticketing lobby initially included a drugstore and a children’s nursery.

As with all US airports, there were no security checkpoints at MSP until the early 1970s.

Closer to the airport’s two concourses, passengers could find food services including a dining room, snack bar and coffee shop all served by a common kitchen.

Initially, the terminal’s two concourses were called Piers B and C. However, the names sounded too similar on the 1960s public address system used at MSP, and they were changed to Blue and Red – known today as Concourses E and F.

The first flight to arrive at the terminal was operated by Northwest Airlines and arrived a week after the public opening, on Jan. 21.

The projected growth in passenger numbers in the mid-1950s lived up to expectations, as the airport served 756,000 passengers in 1950, booming to 1.8 million in 1960.

The number of carriers serving MSP had continued to expand as well. Eastern Air Lines and Ozark Airlines had entered the market in the late 1950s, and Western, United, North Central and Braniff were also offering flights at MSP.

The first scheduled jet aircraft flight came through the airport on Jan. 5, 1961, as a Northwest Airlines DC-8 stopped at MSP in route to Chicago. Braniff began jet service to MSP four months later.

As the jet age arrived at MSP, neighborhoods around the airport were in the midst of the Baby Boom. As evidence, enrollment in the Richfield Public Schools went from 2,506 in 1950 to 10,055 in 1960.

With more people moving into newly built subdivisions near MSP, airport noise started to attract more attention. That noise, particularly from commercial jetliners, would play a key role in a late-1960s push to move the airport farther away from the urban center.


History

Sioux and Ojibwa peoples were early inhabitants of the region. The Franciscan missionary Louis Hennepin visited the area in 1680 and named St. Anthony Falls, which later provided power for grinding flour for Fort Snelling (1819 now a state park), a military outpost at the confluence of the rivers. The village of St. Anthony developed on the east side of the falls. Settlers had begun occupying U.S. military-reservation land on the west side of the river in 1849 in 1855 the government gave these illegal squatters patent rights, and the village of Minneapolis was incorporated in 1856. Its name was derived from the Sioux word minne, meaning “water,” and the Greek polis, for “city.” St. Anthony was chartered as a city in 1860 and Minneapolis in 1867 the two cities merged as Minneapolis in 1872.

The falls were an important factor in the city’s early economic growth as a lumber and flour-milling centre. By 1870 Minneapolis was the country’s top producer of flour. The lumber business reached its height in the late 19th century, when logs from the forests of the north jammed the river. As wheat growing in the northwest increased, flour milling superseded lumbering as the leading industry (the last lumber mill closed in 1919). Railroads, which multiplied connections with Chicago and the south and with the east through Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, were completed in the late 19th century. After World War I the availability of lower freight charges by means of Great Lakes shipping shifted much of the export flour trade to Buffalo, New York, though Minneapolis remained the headquarters for some large milling companies. In the second half of the 20th century, the city remained one of the nation’s primary wheat markets the Minneapolis Grain Exchange was still one of the largest cash exchange markets in the world.

The population of Minneapolis grew steadily from the late 19th to the mid-20th century, reaching a peak of 521,718 in 1950. The number of people subsequently began declining until about 1990, when the city population basically stabilized. At the same time, the population of the Twin Cities metropolitan area increased rapidly, fueled by the movement of thousands from city to suburbs. Throughout the city’s history the great majority of its residents have been of European (notably Scandinavian) ancestry, but that proportion has been decreasing, and the number of African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics has been growing blacks now constitute roughly one-fifth of the population.

Minneapolis garnered national and international attention on August 1, 2007, when the Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River collapsed unexpectedly during rush hour, causing 13 fatalities and nearly 150 injuries. A year later the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the bridge had collapsed because of a design flaw. The incident sparked nationwide concern for the safety of the country’s infrastructure.


TemperatureHumidityPressure
High36 °C (10 июн, 18:53) 90% (20 июн, 18:53) 1022 mbar (20 июн, 18:53)
Low12 °C (21 июн, 06:53) 17% (18 июн, 12:53) 1000 mbar (20 июн, 18:53)
Average26 °C49%1012 mbar
* Reported 6 июн 12:53 &mdash 21 июн 12:53, Minneapolis. Weather by CustomWeather, © 2021

Note: Actual official high and low records may vary slightly from our data, if they occured in-between our weather recording intervals. More about our weather records


10. One of the trendiest neighborhoods in the Minneapolis was once a home to many old warehouses.

The North Loop neighborhood got its name from a segment of the old streetcar system that once traveled from the Minnesota-Wisconsin border to Lake Minnetonka. The area was very industrial, so in order to service all of the companies and their employees, a loop around the warehouse district was created. In fact, many of these old warehouses are included in the Minneapolis Warehouse Historic District which is on the National Register of Historic Places. In the 1980s and 90s, the old warehouses were renovated for artists, with some containing over twenty studios. The popularity that the artists brought to the area caught the attention of developers and the warehouses were refurbished as condominiums and apartments. New developments such as Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins, and the brand-new concert venue, The Filmore Minneapolis, are also doing their part in making the North Loop Neighborhood a very desirable place to live while keeping the history of the area alive.


Minneapolis Park History

Is that a lake?

This photo illustrates the difficult history of Diamond Lake. It doesn’t look like a lake at all — and it might not have been. The 1938 annual report of the park board refers to “the dry lake bed at present.”

Diamond Lake, center, looking northwest. Pearl Park is upper right and the future Todd Park at center right. Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun are near horizon. (Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board)

I recently received an email from a reader who lives near Diamond Lake who commented on the differences in how Diamond Lake is treated from other Minneapolis lakes in that there is no hiking or bicycle trail all the way around it. Many perceive the west shore to be private property. In fact, the entire lakeshore is park property. The photo above is undated, but I think it was shot in the 1940s. According to Hennepin County property records, the houses on the east side of Pearl Park were built in 1938.

At this time Todd Park — the dark area north of 57th Street at Portland — was referred to simply as the “east swamp.” It was dedicated as a “park” on the plat of the neighborhood, but it was, on average, 12 feet below the grades of surrounding streets.

Filling and grading Pearl Lake. View looking west from near 54th St. and Portland Avenue, likely taken about 1936. (Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board)

Pearl Lake was filled in 1936-37, with dirt from extensive runway excavation and construction at Minneapolis Municipal Airport, which the park board owned and operated at the time. The runway construction and lake filling were both WPA projects. About 200 men and 75 trucks were assigned to the project in 1936. About one foot of peat was peeled off the old lake bed, a couple feet of airport fill smoothed over the skinned landscape, and the peat reinstalled as a top coat.

In the 1938 annual report of the park board, superintendent Christian Bossen wrote that Diamond Lake had almost dried up in the 1920s due to development and low rainfall, but, “With the separation of the storm water drainage from the sanitary sewers, the City Engineer is now using and expects to use to a greater extent Diamond Lake as a storm water reservoir.”

The 1938 annual report contains a detailed description of what the park board hoped to accomplish around Diamond Lake. It provides the details of an important chapter in the history of the lake and the neighborhood.

David C. Smith

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First shipment of merchandise by air lands in a Minneapolis park

Another first for a Minneapolis park: The nation’s first commercial air shipment landed at The Parade near downtown Minneapolis on May 8, 1920.

This entry in the proceedings, or minutes, of the Minneapolis park board on May 5, 1920, had puzzled me from the time I first saw it a couple of years ago.

Petitions and Communications

From Dayton Company —

Requesting permission to have the two airplanes bringing freight from New York to overcome the embargo to land on The Parade Friday morning.

Commissioner Gross —

Moved that the request be granted under the supervision of the Superintendent of Parks.

Adopted

Dayton’s Express air merchandise shipments arrived from New York at The Parade, May 8, 1920 (Charles J. Hibbard, Minnesota Historical Society, HE1.21 p53)

Only recently did I look up newspapers from the time to see if the event was mentioned. When I read the coverage in the Minneapolis Tribune, I knew I had seen a photo of the event somewhere and went straight to the Minnesota Historical Society’s Photo Collection, one of the most interesting places on the Internet. Sure enough, there were two photos of the event recorded by the superb photographer Charles Hibbard.

Dayton’s air merchandise shipment was unloaded after the plane was towed, minus wings, from The Parade to Dayton’s store on Nicollet Ave., May 8, 1920. The man on the plane is likely Ray S. Miller, the pilot who flew from New York via Buffalo. (Charles J. Hibbard, Minnesota Historical Society, HE1.21 p52)

This is the story of a retail innovation by Dayton’s (now Target) and another small part in history played by Minneapolis parks.

In April 1920, a wildcat strike by railroad switchmen in Chicago eventually spread to railroads and rail yards throughout the country causing a near shutdown of national transportation. Even after the strike had ended goods had piled up around the country threatening food and fuel shortages in a kind of gridlock from New England to the Pacific Northwest. While the Interstate Commerce Commission, White House and Congress grappled with the problem and eventually reinstituted some World War I-era government controls on railroads, the department store of George Draper Dayton developed an innovative plan: it would ship goods from New York City to Minneapolis by airplane.

The Minneapolis Tribune announced Dayton’s intentions April 30, 1920 along with the news that two airplanes had already left the Curtiss airplane plant in Buffalo, New York bound for Roosevelt Field on Long Island. The planes would commence their journey west as soon as they were loaded. The Tribune also noted the interest in the flight by Minneapolis Postmaster E. A. Purdy, who asked the company to give him all particulars on the flight. United States airmail service from Chicago to Minneapolis was scheduled to begin two months later on July 1. And none too soon. The Minneapolis post office had just set a record on April 8: the first time it had handled 100,000 packages in one day.

Dear Target, Thank you. Yours Truly, FedEx and UPS

In the next day’s edition, the Tribune reported that the plan to fly merchandise to Minneapolis had attracted considerable attention. The New York American had carried a story of the flight by which a half-ton of goods was to be transported aboard two Curtiss Oriole airplanes. “The plan is described as a pioneer step in shipments of goods by plane,” the Tribune reported, “and is declared to bear the possibilities of an extensive development of the use of aircraft for freight-carrying purposes.”

On May 2 the Tribune ran photos of the two dapper pilots, Ray Miller and Charles Keyes, who had traveled to New York to pilot the planes back to Minneapolis. In this edition the Tribune claimed that the effort by Dayton’s had attracted the attention of both New York and Chicago retailers.

Perhaps the weather was not good or it took a long time to load 1,000 pounds of merchandise, but the planes didn’t depart New York until May 6. The May 7 Tribune reported that the pilots had flown through a blinding snowstorm over the Mohawk Valley before arriving in Buffalo the night before and were expected to arrive in Minneapolis the morning of May 8.

“Permission for the airplanes to land on The Parade grounds has been granted by the Board of Park Commissioners,” the Tribune reported. “The wings will be removed and the airplanes will be towed through the streets to Dayton’s store.”

And they were — as Charles Hibbard showed us.

While Target’s history website portrays the air shipment as a response to empty shelves in Dayton’s store, and it may have been, it was also a carefully constructed publicity campaign — from the daily press coverage, including photos of the pilots, to painting “Dayton’s Express” on the fusilages. The planes could have landed at the Speedway Airport, later Wold-Chamberlain Field, and the merchandise trucked to the store. Landing the planes in a park in the center of the city and then hauling them wingless into downtown for unloading made a good story that much better. Very clever.

Of course, in later years the park board became heavily involved in aviation. In 1927 the park board acquired the land of the fledgling Wold-Chamberlain Field in Bloomington and built it into a world-class airport. The park board turned the airport over to the Metropolitan Airports Commission in 1944, but retained title to about 600 acres of land at the center of the airport.

This was not George Dayton’s first encounter with the park board. When the Street Railway Company’s pavilion on park land beside Lake Harriet burned down in the spring of 1903, George Dayton was on a committee for the Retailers Association that worked with the park board and Street Railway to build a new pavilion. The Street Railway Company decided not to build a new pavilion itself but to contribute the $15,000 it collected in insurance on the burned building to the park board. The remaining $15,000 the park board needed to build a new pavilion? It was loaned to the park board on attractive terms by Dayton and the other retailers.

(See earlier post on the original plans for The Parade by Warren Manning.)