Eastport Municipal Airport - Eastport ME
“The potential for the U.S. being drawn into world war 2 was the catalyst that finally resulted in Eastport being selected for the site of an airport and a seaplane base. The CAA was funding construction of a series of airfields, built to basic military specifications, across Maine and across the nation for national defense. Bangor, Houlton and Presque Isle would later become commissioned as military airfields. Sometime in 1939 or 1940, the CAA began acquiring land by eminent domain for the airport, and some test holes were dug by WPA labor in 1940. On April 23, 1941, Works Progress Administration Administrator John C. Fitzgerald announced in a speech at Houlton that he had received a telegram to proceed with construction of the Eastport airfield. The 20 men on site doing test and preparation work were expected to be joined by nearly 200 more, and completion of the first 3000-foot runway was expected by July 1. CAA approval to construct the facility had apparently been delayed for several months in early 1941 due to a WPA proposal to change the grade of the east-west runway. The April 30, 1941, Eastport Sentinel announced that construction had started in earnest on the airport the day before. WPA Superintendent Lewis Kennison gave a brief speech to the workers and told them that they should consider their work as part of the nation’s readiness. About 120 men were on site and all WPA projects in the region were closed to expedite the airfield project. The workforce was expected to rise to about 200 men. A local contractor was hired to mine gravel nearby and transport it to the construction site by rail. The first objective was completion of the 3000-foot NE-SW runway. The E-W 2500-foot crosswind runway would be built second. The July 1 proposed completion was a little ambitious and the runway was not completed until late 1941. In September 1941, progress was delayed when a decision was made to re-grade the runway from 2% to 1.5%. The airfield was finally declared finished in late 1942.” (www.borderhistoricalsociety.
W.P.A. project info:
“Construct municipal airport”
Official Project Number: 165‐1‐11‐104
Total project cost: $1,097,538.00
Sponsor: City of Eastport
Nationwide Context, Inventory, and Heritage Assessment of Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps Resources on Department of Defense Installations, July 2009 (page C-86).
Project originally submitted by Andrew Laverdiere on April 29, 2014.
Additional contributions by Evan Kalish.
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