Today marks 100 years since the inception of St. Louis Lambert International Airport. On June 18, 1920, Major Albert Bond Lambert and the Missouri Aeronautical Society leased 170 acres of farmland in north St. Louis County to serve as an airfield for St. Louis. Today, it is the oldest continuously operating commercial airport in the U.S.
In addition to being a commercial airport, the Lambert site has proved useful for manufacturing companies. From 1928 to the present, more than 10,000 airplanes have been built there, including parts of the Gemini and Mercury spacecrafts. Daniel Rust says it’s unprecedented to have this kind of manufacturing at a major hub for commercial air traffic.
He adds that its consistent operation in north county is also unusual — no other major metro areas in the country have had their airport in the same location that long.
Rust is the author of “The Aerial Crossroads of America: St. Louis Lambert Airport and Flying Across America: The Airline Passenger Experience.” He is a transportation expert currently teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
He previously worked at the University of Missouri-St. Louis as a professor studying transportation and logistics. His commute to the campus passed right by the airport, sparking his interest in studying its history and impact.
On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, Rust joined host Sarah Fenske to delve deeper into St. Louis Lambert International Airport’s 100 years and its ups and down throughout the years.
Listen to the full conversation:
To celebrate this milestone, the airport marked the occasion with special solo music performances beginning at 11 a.m. Thursday. The airport also unveiled a rendering of a glass artwork honoring Major Lambert to be installed in the fall of 2020.
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.
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