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Houston's 1940 Air Terminal


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I wonder how many people here are aware of the work that's being done to restore Houston's original 1940 Air Terminal? This is that wonderful old three story white art deco building on the other side of Hobby Airport from the current terminal. It's the one with the control tower bubble on the roof.

http://www.1940airterminal.org/

It was designed by the same architect who designed Houston City Hall and some other public buildings in the late 1930s. Unfortunately, it was closed, abandoned, and boarded up when the larger terminal facing Airport Blvd was built in the mid 1950s.

Fortunately for us, in recent years, the Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society, with help from Historic Houston, have worked tirelessly to raise the money and do the grunt work of cleaning up and restoring this beautiful old relic. Here's a link to Historic Houston's website, with some photos of the terminal and the work they're doing. In those days it was called Houston Municipal Airport.

http://www.historichouston.org/newSite/lan...ks/virtual.htm#

The work is ongoing, and there's still much to be done, but they've progressed to the point where they now have an aviation museum on the ground floor. It has a lot of Houston aviation memorabilia and priceless old photos of Houston as it was in the 40s and 50s. Walking through the door is like walking back in time, and it's a great way to spend an afternoon. I highly recommend it to everyone who enjoys learning about the history of this town.

Edited by FilioScotia
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I wonder how many people here are aware of the work that's being done to restore Houston's original 1940 Air Terminal?

One of the "community" channels on cable often plays a program on

that terminal. It's often shown with other videos, such as ones of the

rebuilding of the Conny that is at Kansas City. They also have shown a

old video taken of Auther Godfrey while he was piloting an Eastern

Airlines Conny back in the 50's. It's kinda funny in parts of it.

They often show a in-cockpit video of the first flight of the KC Conny

after they rebuilt it. I have the Houston air terminal show recorded

on my puter, but the file size is a tad big to pass around... :(

MK

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  • 1 month later...

Bumping.

I was at the 1940 Airterminal tonight for a group function.

What an amazing building and how blessed we are that she's still standing. The plans for the continued restoration will truely make this a showplace of preservation in Houston. I encourgage everyone interested in architecture to go see building in person.

Also every 3rd Saturday they host Wings & Wheels where old cars and planes are on display for visitors to tour and touch. That event is $10 for adults and only $5 for kids and includes lunch. Proceeds help fund the restoration.

Go check it out for yourself if you haven't already. There are so few places like this in Houston.

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drew coats and gary evans have been working on this for some time. these guys are very involved in the woodlands community as well.

i'm excited to see how well this is coming along.

more info

Coats & Evans supports the aviation community through a variety of philanthropic endeavors such as:

The Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society

The Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society operates Houston's original art-deco air terminal as the 1940 Air Terminal Museum, a new civil aviation museum. The 1940 Air Terminal Museum is the centerpiece for an aggressive, creative educational outreach program sends volunteers into schools in Houston and rural Texas to use civil aviation heritage to inspire young people. The Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society is a 501©(3) nonprofit corporation founded to research, promote and preserve the rich aeronautical heritage of Houston and Southeast Texas. Coats & Evans, P.C. is a major donor to the 1940 Air Terminal Museum. Drew Coats is the president and chairman of its board of directors. Gary Evans is a vice president and director

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Great, the same guys responcible for city hall?

I believe him to be the single reason Phillip Johnson's Pennzoil Place (1&2) are praised so much.

... Its a joke, because his buildings are very boxy.

They weren't considered "boxy" when they were built. At that time they were regarded as the epitome of art deco design. I think they're still very beautiful old buildings and completely representative of the times in which they were built. Sorry you don't like them. Can't please everybody.

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  • 1 year later...

I went to this place earlier this week.

VERY COOL place and a friendly staff.

It actually looked abandoned and I thought the museum failed so the building was shuttered again. There is an old Chevy firetruck parked near the enterance to the parking lot. It is also a gem but covered in rust and just taking a beating from the elements. They should restore it and roll it into the building to sit in the lobby once major work gets completed.

Right now, you can only have access to the lower left wing of the building. It costs $2 for each adult but well worth it. I had the whole place to myself that day. You can also walk outside the back door and sit to watch the planes land/take off.

I'm soooo glad they saved this building and are restoring it with a grassroots effort instead of corporate sponsorship that results in freakin TOTAL DISASTERS like what happend to JSC NASA and more recently to the San Jacinto Museum.

Edited by LarryDallas
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Great, the same guys responcible for city hall?

I believe him to be the single reason Phillip Johnson's Pennzoil Place (1&2) are praised so much.

... Its a joke, because his buildings are very boxy.

I think they are great buildings...classic designs that should be preserved....

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What's cool as well, is that if there are enough staff on hand, you can get a "VIP" tour of the closed off parts. A couple of months ago, I was fortunate to go behind the glass and explore the unfinished areas, and got to go up in the old control tower. Talking about nostalgic! I imagined the controllers clearing Connies, DC-3's, Braniff BAC-111's and mant other types of aircraft to land. It was way too hot, so me and the guide were only up there for about 5 minutes. I highly recommend a visit. It's not always that you get to step back in time...........

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What's cool as well, is that if there are enough staff on hand, you can get a "VIP" tour of the closed off parts. A couple of months ago, I was fortunate to go behind the glass and explore the unfinished areas, and got to go up in the old control tower. Talking about nostalgic! I imagined the controllers clearing Connies, DC-3's, Braniff BAC-111's and mant other types of aircraft to land. It was way too hot, so me and the guide were only up there for about 5 minutes. I highly recommend a visit. It's not always that you get to step back in time...........

Do you have contract info on who to see for a VIP tour?

I'd love to see the old tower and go up to the terrace. Oh, and what did the VIP tour cost?

The day I went there was one guy at the desk where you walk in and one guy outside doing some work on the plane nose cut that is in the parking lot.

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I remember doing research on this building. I found some old Houston Post issues that talked about the terminal opening and they had posted the entire daily passenger manifest on the front page! The list was by name and destination or point of origin. They did this for about a week or two and then it moved further back in the newspaper. Finally, just like the Space Shuttle, the whole thing lost its shine. We barely know the names of any of the passengers anymore much less if it's even working. This is the way of things...

Edited by jwphillips2
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The 1940 Air Terminal is a great Art Deco building, one of my favorites in the city. Everything from the pleasing proportions of the lobby to the small decorative details is indicative of Finger's high quality work. If you ever get the chance, I definitely recommend taking the full tour. There are so many neat spaces in the building, and the tower has a fantastic view of the skyline.

I am glad to see that more people are starting to appreciate this building and the history around it. The people leading the restoration effort have grand plans, including the construction of Finger's unimplemented landscape plan for the building, as well as the restoration of some of the houses across the street. Surviving Art Deco airport terminals are very rare, so this building could end up becoming an aviation museum unlike any other in the country.

Edited by Dan the Man
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Do you have contract info on who to see for a VIP tour?

I'd love to see the old tower and go up to the terrace. Oh, and what did the VIP tour cost?

The day I went there was one guy at the desk where you walk in and one guy outside doing some work on the plane nose cut that is in the parking lot.

All you have to do is ask. You can only go if there is more than one person and of course if they are able to do so (i.e. they don't have to do museum stuff). All you have to do is sign a waiver. I would mention that you have heard you could do so. It also hleps if you go up there occasionally. You can also sign up to volunteer and then be assured going up there.

Edited by Mikeytex
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I will go back for sure!

Here are some photos of the place the day I went.

Exterior

DSCN2107.jpg

Main Hall

DSCN2100.jpg

Main Hall Floor

DSCN2099.jpg

How it once looked

DSCN2102.jpg

An Exhibit Area

DSCN2103.jpg

Sorry, no close up pics with me or my family in them....stalkers, crazy people, etc online prohibit this.

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