Hensley Field Improvements – Grand Prairie TX


Hensley Field is a military base and former Naval Air Station located in Grand Prairie, Texas that was established in 1928. Originally created as an Army Aviation Center, the base became home to all military service’s aviators. In 1936, Hensley Field received Works Progress Administration funding amounting to $700,000 to improve the military base’s airport and add a new runway.

The new runway would be 1000 feet long and 400 feet wide according to superintendent of WPA projects and planning, W. A. Orth. These reconstruction efforts would encourage the military to push for more reserve pilot training and refueling missions that were vital in the 1930’s-1940’s. Besides the funding allowing for better military manpower, the funding of this project helped those in the community that were unemployed due to the Great Depression. The project would allow for up to 500 WPA relief workers to be employed for the duration of the project which coincided with President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal goals of stabilizing the economy and providing the working class with immediate relief. The field has been used by the Texas National Guard since 1946 and provided training for Coast Guard and Marine Pilots, and Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Services.

The Field remained operational until 1998 and since it’s decommission the field has been utilized for a variety of functions by the city of Grand Prairie such as discovery tours and car shows, but also allowed for homeless sheltering and unrelated leases. Dallas County is currently planning a redevelopment of the former military base that would maximize benefits for the community and create a mixed-income community with a balance of jobs, housing and services.

Source notes

The Grand Prairie Texan, August 14, 1936, “New Runway Will Be Included In Airport Project”, Page 1
The Grand Prairie Texan, September 25, 1936, “First Section of WPA Improvement Work At Hensley Field Started”, Page 1
Grand Prairie Historical Museum, https://gphistorical.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=100&Itemid=186

Economic Development Briefing, chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/viewer.html?pdfurl=https%3A%2F%2Fdallascityhall.com%2Fdepartments%2Fpnv%2FDCH%2520Documents%2FHensley%2520Field%2520Master%2520Plan%2520Briefing_August%25202020.pdf&clen=2037185

Fred Harold Allison, “Majors Field and Greensville, Texas in World War II”, Houston, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 1995, https://uh.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/discovery/fulldisplay?context=PC&vid=01UHO_INST:UHMAIN&search_scope=UHMAIN_Everything&tab=Everything&docid=cdi_proquest_journals_304208988

Katherine L. Houk, “Centennial”, Grand Prairie, 2008, Pages 7-8, chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/viewer.html?pdfurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.gptx.org%2Fhome%2Fshowpublisheddocument%2F2128%2F635653631461900000&clen=15168149

Project originally submitted by Patricia Rios on December 22, 2021.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

222 Hensley Field Drive
Grand Prairie, TX 75051

Coordinates: 32.741295, -96.963880

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