HOME   ABOUT US   HISTORY   CONTRIBUTIONS   BOARD   CONTACT US   PRESS   LINKS

The aviation industry soared in the post-World War I ear. The Great War marked the first time significant numbers of aircraft were used as weapons of war, and great strides had been made in the design and engineering of military planes. After hostilities ceased the civilian aircraft industry flourished. Timing could not have been better for the construction of Hanger One in Glenview and the accompanying airstrip that was initially built to become the Chicago area's premier commercial airport. Recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Hangar One is central to the history of aviation.


Wall Street in the early 1920s was on a roll, money was plentiful, and lifestyles reflected the good times. Passenger-carrying commercial airlines were gaining popularity. Charles Lindbergh's solo transatlantic flight in 1927 captured the hearts and minds of the American public as nothing had before. Planes and the people who flew them generated enthusiasm much as rock concerts and athletic events do today. As the Roaring Twenties came to a close, the stock market collapsed. Black Friday, October 29, 1929, ushered in the Great Depression.

Chicago was already a center for aviation by the end of the 1920's, where nearly thirty private and public airports dotted the metropolitan area. The city's primary municipal airport, Chicago Metropolitan Airfield (later renamed Midway), was established in 1927, but the skies above the field were often smog-bound as a result of the city's coal-burning industrial plants, railroads, and homes. The lack of clear air made flying a challenge for the aviators of the day, and when the Curtiss Flying Service began to look for a location to build a modern state-of-the-art airport in the Chicago area, they looked for property outside of the city's "smoke belt". The search ended in Glenview, where Curtiss purchased 450 -acres of local farmland for construction of its new field.

Glenview was neither geographically nor socially a part of Chicago's North Shore, which was an enclave of country retreats for wealthy members of the city's business and industry. The village was, however, part of the area known as "West North Shore". Located in Northfield Township, Glenview traced its beginnings to the 1830s as an agriculturally based community. Immediately following World War I much of the former farmland became a playground for the wealthy. A cluster of golf courses surrounded the village, including the Ouilmette Club (now North Shore Country Club), Glen View Club, and the public courses of Pickwick and Chesterfield. Polo fields were connected with some of those clubs. A race track was planned as part of the Glenview Field and Turf Club, located west of Waukegan Road and south of Willow Road, adjacent to the grounds of the Convent of the Holy Spirit. An airfield was the ideal addition to the exclusive area.

next page

Go to page
[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]