1957 airport photos

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Material provided by LeRoy Rockwell, class of 1959.

Bottom row, left, is an F-89 "Scorpion," a plane built by Northrop. This is said to be the first jet plane to land in the Grand Rapids area.

Bottom row, third from the left, Lear had a long time presence both in Grand Rapids, and at the Kent County airport. Shown is one of the airport hangers used to maintain and modify airplanes for tests of equipment that Lear made for the U.S. military, as well as commercial aircraft.

Bottom row, right, notice the Capitol Airlines DC-3. 1957 was still a time when Capital Airlines and North Central, a.k.a. the Blue Goose, were the main carriers to the Kent County Airport.

Top row, left side, the airport was located on the old county fair grounds. The railroad track at the left, now abandoned, was long owned by the New York Central. Later it was owned by Conrail, then Norfolk Souther, and, as of 2011, by Grand Elk. Much of the track was abandoned in 1984. The track continues to the Steelcase proporty in year 2011, although the ties are rotted out southeast of 36th Street. Box cars are occasionally stored between 32nd Street and Eastern Avenue and also between Madison and 28th Street. In 1907 yet there was a stop by the fair grounds so people could take the train from Grand Rapids and other points.

Top row, second from the left side, shows the old Art Decco terminal building, perhaps built in the 1930s. Many a Godwin student remembers the rotating beacon on the top of the building that operated for decades. A homing device for planes, it was a familiar landmark.