Dale Mabry Field
|Dale Mabry Field|
|IATA: none – ICAO: none|
- For the World War II use of the airport, see Dale Mabry Army Airfield
Dale Mabry Field is former airport, located 3.4 miles west of Tallahassee, Florida. It was replaced in 1961 by Tallahassee Regional Airport. The land has since been redeveloped and is now the campus of Tallahassee Community College
In 1928 the City of Tallahassee purchased a 200-acre (0.81 km2) tract of land for $7028 for its first municipal airport. The land was previously a dairy farm operated (1910-1928) by Ervin Bostick Revell and Theodore B. Revell.
Once the city purchased it, it was named Dale Mabry Field in honor of Tallahassee native Army Captain Dale Mabry, killed in 1922 while commanding the Army semi-rigid airship Roma on February 21, 1922, which crashed at Norfolk, Virginia. The airport was dedicated on November 11, 1929 with its first manager being Ivan Munroe. The airfield had one grass runway and was built with the assistance of federal WPA funds. Munroe was part owner and eventually full owner of Tallahassee's first airplane and was a flight instructor. Munroe also formed the Tallahassee Aircraft Company with Jeff Lewis, Frank Lewis and Dick Weeks after serving as a Navy pilot in the Jacksonville area during World War II. The company offered flight training, aerial photography and charter service.
Atlantic Gulf Coast Airlines began commercial flights at the new airport during its first month. By 1934 the airport had 4 sod runways with the longest at 2,600 feet (790 m). (Department of Commerce Airport Directory, 1934).
In 1937 Dale Mabry Field had 2 paved runways with a single hangar at the northwest corner of the airfield. In 1938 Eastern Airlines began service from Tallahassee to Memphis, Birmingham, and Montgomery, Alabama with 4 daily flights. National Airlines began service to Jacksonville, Pensacola, Mobile and New Orleans that same year. The manager was listed as Ivan Munroe.
World War II
In 1940 U.S. Senator Claude Pepper and Florida Governor Spessard Holland influenced the Army to make Dale Mabry Field a United States Army Air Forces airfield. In October 1940 military activity began with the construction of a railroad siding and drainage improvements to overcome the swamp conditions at the site. Hundreds of laborers began clearing swampland for temporary quarters for Dale Mabry Army Air Base, in preparation for WWII. The need for a place to train pilots prompted the federal government to set a 90-day completion deadline. It was used as a fighter training base by III Fighter Command, Third Air Force during the war.
After the war ended, the wartime barracks on the field were used by male students attending the Florida State College for Women under a program called the "Tallahassee Branch of the University of Florida" (TBUF). By 1947 the Florida State College for Women returned to being coeducational and was renamed the Florida State University. The TBUF program was then discontinued. The areas of Dale Mabry Field used by these students were called "West Campus".
The airport resumed its role as a civilian airport, and was the commercial airport for Tallahassee in the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s. The encroachment of the Tallahassee urban area, however led to the need for a new airport. Tallahassee Regional Airport opened in 1961, and Dale Mabry Field was closed.
Tallahassee Community College
The land was redeveloped in the 1960s into the campus of Tallahassee Community College. The former airport and military airfield is located at what is now Appleyard Drive and W. Pensacola Street.