“Whats Here?” Wednesday #3
Denver Municipal Airport
Denver International Airport (DIA) is the fifth-busiest airport in the United States. In 2014, the airport served a total of 53.4 million passengers. DIA saw 4,802,776 passengers pass through its doors in June 2015 alone.
However, did you know that before DIA was built Stapleton International Airport served the larger Colorado community for air travel needs? From 1929-1995 Stapleton served as Denver’s primary airport.
The airport was created by Ira Boyd Humphreys in 1919. It was named Denver Municipal Airport and opened on October 17, 1929. It didn’t become Stapleton International Airport until the completion of expansion in 1944. It was named after Benjamin F. Stapleton (the city’s mayor mainly from 1923 to 1947 and the force behind the project when it began in 1928).
Expansion in different areas of the airport continued until 1988 (although plans began in 1980 to replace Stapleton with a new airport).
On February 25, 1995, George Hosford, Air Traffic Controller, cleared the last plane (Continental Flight 34, to London Gatwick) to depart from Stapleton International Airport.
All of Stapleton’s airport infrastructure has been removed except for the former control tower. The final structure was torn down in light of the “Central Park West” section housing development (May 2011).
Looking through a photographical history of Denver Municipal Airport gives us a good perspective as to how the greater Denver area and Colorado have evolved over the passed 100 years. It is always tough to see such incredible history and infrastructure wiped off the map but often this is a result of our own aspirations to achieve and grow. Hopefully focusing on how beautiful and strong our history is can help us to embrace and preserve the past for future generations to appreciate.
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