The Kansas Aviation Museum announces the release of Prairie Runways: The History of Wichita’s Original Municipal Airport. This 127 page, hardback history book,
the inaugural publication of the Kansas Aviation Museum’s Air Capital
Press, traces the history of this Kansas aeronautical and architectural
landmark through five decades of its life and times from 1911 to 1954.
Author Susan Thompson uses more than 50 vintage photos and a well-researched
narrative to tell the story.
The prairie Art Deco-styled
terminal building still stands in south central Kansas adjacent to McConnell
Air Force Base, just south of Wichita. It was dedicated in 1935
and played a pivotal role in the emergence of airmail service, passenger
air travel and aviation manufacturing in the Great Plains. Many of the
historical photos used in this book are from the library collection
of the Kansas Aviation Museum; most have never been published.
Throughout the text, human-interest vignettes dramatize the role aviation
played in individual lives.
Well-known aviation figures
Clyde Cessna, Walter Beech and Charles Lindbergh appear in the text
along with more obscure, but equally important, historical figures L.W.
Clapp, Alfred McDonald, Jake Mollendick and Jack Turner. All were convinced
this new technology, aviation, would bring prosperity to their prairie
Mary K. Sykes, project manager
for Air Capital Press, says, “This history exemplified the geological,
technological and economic requirements that early airport designers
and builders struggled with in building their ‘union stations of the
Known as “Building One”
when it was part of McConnell Air Force Base, the terminal building
is now owned by the City of Wichita. It is on the National Register
of Historic Places and is presently home to the Kansas Aviation Museum.
Air Capital Press is a subsidiary of the Kansas Aviation Museum.
The book may be purchased at the Kansas Aviation Museum gift
shop. To learn more about the chapter headings and book reviews, log