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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Few people may realize Dallas Love Field is 97 years old this month.
The airport’s history comes to life inside the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas.
Museum director Bruce Bleakley says, “Love Field has one of the richest histories of any airport.”
Among the airplanes hanging from the museum’s ceiling is a model pilots trained on during World War One.
Bleakley says, “The Curtis Jenny, JN4, was the first kind of airplane to fly from Love Field.”
That was in 1917.
Ten years later, Dallas hosted aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh, who had just completed the first ever flight from New York to Paris.
Bleakley says, “Lindbergh praised the airport and said it was one of the best in the United States.”
During Lindbergh’s visit, the city designated it as Dallas’ official municipal airport.
The army originally named the facility Love Field after pilot Moss Lee Love, who died while training elsewhere in 1913.
Bleakley says, ”There was a phenomenal amount of activity here at Love Field in World War Two as this became the largest air transport command base in the United States.”
The airport celebrated in 1959 with Lady Bird Johnson as she launched the first jet service, an American Airlines 707.
But after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in November, 1963, the airport played host to one of the most solemn days in history.
With first lady Jacqueline Kennedy standing by his side aboard Air Force One, Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as President.
Bleakley says, ”LBJ became the first President to be sworn in on an airplane, the first person to be sworn-in in the state of Texas, and the first President to be sworn in by a woman.”
By the 1970’s, Love Field was thriving when it came to the number of take-offs and landings. “Love Field was the 10th busiest airport in the world, not the nation, the world”, Bleakley says.
But when DFW Airport opened in 1974, Braniff moved it’s headquarters there from Love Field.
The other airlines followed suit except for Southwest.
Bleakley says, “I think it can be said that Southwest and Love Field are kind of joined at the hip.”
Bleakley believes Monday will be one of the most significant days in Love Field history, when flight restrictions there fade into the past after 35 years.
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