At this location on June 5, 1933, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, dedicated Douglas International Airport as the first international airport in the United States.
Designed by J. P. Sexton as the first and only truly international airport in the America's, Douglas International Airport began operations in 1929. The Douglas airfield was connected with the Auga Prieta, Mexico, airport by a common north-south runway.
Early air travel between the United States and Mexico required planes to be cleared both for entry and exit of their respective countries. In other border cities, that meant a "hop and a skip" from one country's airport to the other country's airfield. With DIA, planes could land in one country, pull back the wide gate on the barbed wire fence on the border, and taxi across to the other county. Then, after clearing customs, pilots and passengers could resume the flight to their destination.
In 1929, the first Women's Air Derby, a transcontinental air race for women pilots (Amelia Earhart, among them), included Douglas as one of its stops. In October 1930, Douglas was a stop on the first transcontinental airmail route. Douglas International Airport became a successful commercial airport with regular airline service.
By the late 1940's most commercial traffic went through Bisbee-Douglas International Airport, about 9 miles north of Douglas. Douglas International Airport lost its international designation, and became Douglas Municipal Airport.
On December 30, 1975, Douglas International Airport was added to the National Register of Historic Places.