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Curtiss Airfield

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Parent Category: Building & Zoning
Category: Landmarks Preservation
Curtiss Airfield
Curtiss Airfield

In 1928, Rogers Airport was opened on the southwest border of Valley Stream. About a year later, it was purchased by Curtiss-Wright and several millions of dollars were invested before the Curtiss Airport became operational. The airfield consisted of three asphalt runways in a triangular layout in the middle of a large grass field. A row of six substantial hangars lined the west side of the field. Hundreds of planes used the facility daily, along with famous aviators like Charles Lindbergh and Wiley Post. At the time, Curtiss Airport was the largest commercial airport on Long Island.

In 1933, only three years after Curtiss Airport opened, the worsening conditions of the Depression reportedly led to the airport's closure. The Columbia Aircraft Company – which had been formed in 1929 by Charles Levine, Giuseppe Bellanca and Clarence Chamberlain to acquire the rights to a Wright Aircraft designed by Bellanca – evidently continued its operations, and the "closure" only referred to the operations of the public airport.

During World War II, the Grumman Aircraft Company of Bethpage developed the J2F Duck floatplane. Under pressure of growing demand for its more urgently needed fighters and dive-bombers, Grumman had to farm out the Duck. Production was shifted to the Columbia Aircraft Corporation, which built the J2F-6 at their Valley Stream factory from early 1942 until the end of World War II. The airport was also the location of Naval Reserve Aviation Base Valley Stream.

In 1946, Columbia Aircraft Company was acquired by Commonwealth Aircraft. Unfortunately, Commonwealth Aircraft went bankrupt in 1947 and it is not known if the Columbia Airfield was ever used again.

In 1956, the Green Acres Mall (one of Long Island's first malls) opened on the north side of the former airport property. The former hangars were spared and remained standing for another three decades.


https://toh.li/landmarks-preservation/curtiss-airfield
Printed from TOH.LI - The Official Web Site of the Town of Hempstead