Tuesday, November 9, 2010

1960's Memories of Skyline Drive Part 3

One of the things I associate with those early years on E. Skyline Drive is something that many Lorainites will also remember: the airport at the northwest corner of Meister Road and Leavitt Road.

City directories at that time list it as being called the Lorain City Airport and it was also known as Long's Airport.

The reason that this airport is so much a part of my memories is because our house on E. Skyline Drive was directly in the line of approach for the landing strip. (If you look at the map at left, the runway points downward to the 'S' in SKYLINE which is where our house was.)

Consequently, my family would constantly see small planes coming in diagonally across the sky, coming in for a landing. It was a sight that we would get very used to. My brother Ken humorously compared it to watching a bunch of 5 O'Clock Charlie's (from the well-known M*A*S*H episode).

At least once, our proximity to the airport resulted in some excitement. A plane unexpectedly (and loudly) landed in the field a few hundred feet from our house. I still remember running over to the plane along with everyone else to see what happened. I can't remember why the pilot was forced to land there, but my family still talks about 'when the plane crashed by our house'.

The airport closed in the early 1970's, bringing to a close Lorain's long era of municipal and private airports. It was replaced by a Clarkins department store at the site around 1973 or so.

It was rather comical that a few years after the airport closed, we continued to see airplanes making the familiar approach for the runway that was no longer there!

The Clarkins store eventually closed as well. Today the airport site is the P.C. Campana Industrial Park, home for a variety of companies and organizations, including Fastenal Co., Skylift and the Lorain Preparatory Academy.

The former Clarkins store

Looking at the site today, a newer Lorain resident might find it hard to believe that an airport was there for so many years and that Lorain actually had a need for one.

Next: The Farmer


-Alan D Hopewell said...

When we lived at Leavitt Homes (66-67), my brother Mike and I used to walk south on Leavitt Road to watch the planes take off and land. Also, the circus used to perform out there at the Airport in the summer.

Drew Penfield said...

I'm too young to remember the airport but my father has many memories of it, including taking at least one flight from there. I do have vague memories of going to the Clarkins when I was very little. I had completely forgotten about that until I read it here.

Jenna van Wyler said...

Nice pictures! I'm trying to put together bits and pieces about Clarkins stores, primarily the one by me, in Euclid. Yours looks quite a bit nicer than mine, and my pictures are 5 years old. Yikes!

Jenna van Wyler said...

And just now I'm realizing you've already posted in my blog. Nothing gets by me =p

Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

They must have been fighting a cross wind if they were coming in diagonally. I lived on the other side of Leavitt and remember them coming in pretty much straight on.

Dan Brady said...

All I know is the planes always came in from the same direction (southeast) and they flew directly over our backyard towards the airport. It was a pretty common occurrence. I checked a few of the aerial shots on HistoricAerials.com and one of the runways lines up with our house on Skyline almost perfectly.

vondapeters66@gmail.com said...

My father-in-law passed away in the 80. But he had a private plane and lived on Brenner Drive, I still have alot of the Navigation Charts from the airport. He landed there and also in our backyard in what is now Booker and Jenna Housing when it was still feilds.