This wonderful image appeared in the Springfield News & Leader on November 15, 1953. The plane is the venerable DC-3. The colonial style building is the first terminal.
The story accompanying the photo is a detailed account of the airport’s first eight years of existence. Here’s how the story described the airport’s financial situation:
“…our airport is a pocket sized port compared with the mammoth fields like Chicago’s Midway, or Boston’s Logan or New York’s Idlewild. Yet if our airport must be termed small, it can also be called efficient and distinctive. It’s distinctive because it is in the black, without the backbone of direct tax support. It’s in the black because it is efficient.”
In the years since 1953, many things have changed. The first terminal is gone and DC-3s are seen mainly in museums and air shows. One thing hasn't changed—our airport still operates efficiently and in the black, “without the backbone of direct tax support.”
By the way, the reporter who wrote the story still works for the paper: Hank Billings.