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  Texas : Architecture / Images : Museum :

1940 HOUSTON AIR TERMINAL MUSEUM

The Former Houston Municipal Airport Terminal and Hanger
Houston, Texas

Architect: Joseph Finger
1940

8041 Travelaire Road
(Off Telephone Road and Airport Boulevard) SE Houston


by John Troesser

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Houston Air Teminal Museum building exterior
Houston Air Teminal Museum
TE photo, August 2006
Houston Air Teminal Museum Architectural Detail Aviator

Houston Air Teminal Museum Detail
TE photo, September 2006

In the late 20s East Texas lumber and railroad tycoon W. T. Carter bought an airfield in SE Houston. As aviation switched from biplanes to monoplanes and passenger flight looked as though it was here to stay, the city of Houston decided that it needed an airfield for civilian use. Carter sold the land to the city in 1937 and Joseph Finger, who had just finished designing the Houston City Hall (1939) took on the job of designing the Municipal Airport Terminal which was finished in 1940.
Houston Air Teminal in 1999

Houston Air Teminal Museum during opening ceremonies in 1999
Photo Courtesy 1940 Air Terminal Mueseum

Trans-Texas Airways' "Cowgirls of the Air"

Trans-Texas Airways' "Cowgirls of the Air"
Photo Courtesy 1940 Air Terminal Museum

Houston Air Teminal Museum Hanger
Air Teminal Hanger just south of the Museum on Travelaire
TE photo, September 2006
The AIA Architectural Guide to Houston states that the project was completed "with assistance by the Public Works Administration." The AIA Guide (an essential volume for anyone interested in Houston History) includes the nearby aircraft hanger in its description of the property.
Houston Air Teminal aerial view

Houston Air Teminal aerial shortly after it had additions removed
Photo Courtesy 1940 Air Terminal Museum

Houston's Department of Aviation demolished buildings that had been "tacked on" to the original terminal building in 1988, bringing it back to it's 1940 appearance. The building stopped activities when it was replaced by the present William Hobby Terminal on Broadway and Airport Blvd. in 1954.
Houston Air Teminal Museum Architectural  detail

Architectural Detail
TE photo, September 2006

Houston Air Teminal Museum Architectural Detail Autogyro
Architectural Detail of a Autogyro
TE photo, September 2006
Today the terminal building houses the 1940 Air Terminal Museum. The building is being restored as a project of the Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society. For hours of operation, please visit their site at www.1940AirTerminal.org
Houston Air Terminal Museum sign
Directional sign on Telephone Road south of Airport
TE photo, September 2006
Related Articles:
  • High Over Houston, Captain A. J. High: A Positive Altitude by John Troesser
  • How Houston's 1940 Airport Helped Me Figure Out How to Keep Our Homes and Attics Cooler by Ken Rudine
    "...I received my first U S Patent based on the sight I saw the night I made my first flight from Houston Continental Airport."

    Related Subjects:
    Houston, Texas
    Texas Aviation
    Texas Museums
  • Forum
  • Subject: Houston's 1940 Air Terminal
    When I was with a paper manufacturer, we flew into the airport there a lot. I remember one day vividly. When the paper company (Southland Paper Mills) was acquired by St. Regis Paper Company of New York, Southland's pilots flew the company plane into Houston to turn it over to St. Regis. The plane's landing gear collapsed and skidded down the runway. No injuries, except to the pilots' pride. St. Regis never forgave them for giving them a wrecked plane on the last day of Southland's existence.
    Best wishes, and thanks for everything you're doing for small towns in Texas. - Bob Bowman, Lufkin, Texas, October 07, 2006
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