Kent County Airport, 1960's
Madison Avenue and 32nd Street
Grand Rapids Airport
The airport had its beginnings in 1916, when the
county purchased from Kent County Agricultural Society the old fair grounds,
which are a large portion of the airport.
After the first work of preparing the field began, there was very little more invested. In 1925, William B. Stout showed interest in using Grand Rapids as a point in an airline he planned to establish. At that time the city of Grand Rapids became interested.
The Association of Commerce led a subscription drive that brought in $25,000 and this was used to remove stumps in the field, remodel the administration building, etc. to bring the field up to Mr. Stout's requirements.
31 July 1926 was the opening day of what is believed to be the first all-passenger scheduled airline in the United States when the Stout-Ford single-engine monoplane was christened "Miss Grand Rapids". The airport was dedicated to the memory of Daniel Waters Cassard, the only Grand Rapids flier killed in the first World War.
In 1928, Tom Walsh was appointed as chairman of the board's airport committee and he served in that capacity and as airport manager for over thirty years. A year later the Kohler Air Service, known for its ungainly amphibians, established direct service between Grand Rapids and Milwaukee.
During the depression, the airport grew most rapidly, through the efforts of Walsh and many other Grand Rapids air enthusiasts who obtained relief projects for grading the field, paving runways and new construction.
Created: 2 Sep 2006