Thursday, February 7, 2013

Urban Ghosts - The Lost Airfields of NE Ohio

Our last blog examined the history of aviator Cook Cleland and the Willoughby Airport.  Three other airports have been lost to time and their story is presented today.  They are Martin Factory Airfield, Casement Airport, and Chardon Airfield.

            Martin Factory Airfield / Great Lakes Aircraft Company Airfield

Originally situated in the Nottingham Road corridor of Euclid and Collinwood, the airfield first appears in 1918.  Glenn L. Martin was the founder.  The earliest known photo dates back to 1921.  Martin sold his manufacturing based airfield to Detroit Aircraft in 1928.  Now known as The Great Lakes Aircraft Company Airfield, production of TG1 naval torpedo bombers and Sport Trainers (1929) became the staple of its early years.  The Great Depression affected sales and the airfield fell victim to permanent closure by 1936.

                                           Casement Airport - Painesville, Ohio

As of 2010 a road intersects near Mantle Road and Rt. 2 on the site where t-hangers once stood marking this urban ghost.  Casement Airport began circa 1960-62 under the ownership of R.W. Sidley.  Mention of flight lessons on the Sidley Farm were recorded as early as 1963.  The Readers Digest published an article about Larry Wilson and his Cessna 172 ferrying passengers from Casement Airport to Cleveland Hopkins.  Its early hey-day gave way to some lost history as the era of 1968-70 and beyond offer sketchy mention of the site.  A 1972 flight guide did show various states of its 2 runways and hangers.  Casement airport was mentioned again in 1982 in local aviation records but it appears the airfield diminished in use and importance in the ensuing years.  Casement officially closed in 2000.

                                                          Chardon Airfield

Today Chardon Airfield is still visible on the northwest corner of Rt. 322 & Rt. 44.  Closed somewhere between 1987-94, its history is sketchy at best in many ways.  The Chardon Airfield's birth is uncertain.  History suggests 1943 but 1949 is also bantered about.  What is known is that its original site was not the current field which became operational in 1952.  The current field had three grass runways and four buildings.  In the 1950s and 60s the Ohio National Guard based their L-19s there.  Walter Best, who quarried land nearby was the private owner.  In time Bill Meyer took over and Richard Gilmore, flight instructor/mechanic was the last known owner operator.  In 1982 Geauga Air Service ran glider operations from the site.  Chardon Airfield closed its doors sometime after 1987.

information gleaned from


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