Charles Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927 dramatically increased worldwide interest in aviation. To participate in this new and potentially significant technology, the City of Lubbock established a municipal airport about five miles north of downtown. Land was purchased in 1929 and a brick hangar with Art Deco features was completed in 1930. The small airport was in operation by the end of that year. A well-known contractor in the area, W.G. McMillan Construction Company, was awarded the contract to construct the hangar. When completed, the building featured solid masonry construction, with cast concrete details and parapet caps on the front and south facades to add style to the utilitarian structure. The main portion of the hangar was a curved roof design supported by steel truss girders.
The airport primarily served local aviation needs but was periodically utilized by the military, with rare commercial flights. Grass landing strips were used until the mid-1930s. In 1938, a federal grant from the works progress administration (WPA) led to the construction of concrete runways adjacent to the hangar. In the late 1930s or early 1940s, a second hangar made of sheet metal was added to the complex. In 1941, as the U.S. prepared to enter World War II, the city offered the Army the use of the municipal airport.
The South Plains Army Flying School (later South Plains Army Airfield, or SPAAF) operated here from 1942 to 1945 as an advanced training base for the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) Combat Glider Training Program. In 1948, the city regained control of the airport and a new terminal building opened north of this building in 1950.
Recorded Texas Historical Landmark