Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dale Mabry Airfield Project Paper #17

Dale Mabry Airfield was purchased by the City of Tallahassee from Ervin and Theodore Revell in 1928. Originally, the airfield was a dairy farm, which operated from 1910-1928. Local officials chose to name the property Dale Mabry Field in honor of Tallahassee native Army Captain Dale Mabry. Captain Dale Mabry was killed while commanding the Army Airship “Roma” which crashed in February 22nd, 1922.

When first purchased, the airport contained only one grass runway with Atlantic Gulf Coast Airlines occupying it. The airport also offered flight training, charter services, and aerial photography. By 1934, the airport had 4 sod runways and in 1937 Dale Mabry Field had a single hangar with two concrete runways and began flying to Memphis, Montgomery, Jacksonville, and New Orleans.

In 1940, U.S Senator Claude Pepper proposed the airfield be used for military purposes for World War II. In October, the airfield was officially named a United States Army Air Forces airfield and the military began building a railroad and improve the airfield drainage to fix the terrible swamp conditions.

Many people worked vigorously to clear the swampland around Dale Mabry Field, which was to be completed in a 90-day deadline so the Army could immediately begin training pilots for the war. After the work was completed, the airfield was used as a training base for III Fighter Command, Third Air Force during the war.
After the war, the airfield was used as a “Tallahassee Branch of the University of Florida” for students. By 1947, the school was renamed the Florida State University and the areas used by the school on the airfield were called “West Campus.”

The airport remained the commercial airline airport for Tallahassee in the 1940’s and 1950’s but due to expansion by the city and schools, the airfield needed to be relocated to a different place and in 1961 Dale Mabry field was closed and Tallahassee Regional Airport opened.

In 1960, the land was redeveloped into the campus of Tallahassee Community College and with that being said, I can say I go to school on an ex military airfield used in World War II.