WPA Today   


WPA Poster

Above: An airplane at Baltimore Municipal Airport, November 1941.  As airplanes became larger, the relatively short runways of Baltimore Municipal Airport became less adequate.  There were also problems associated with nearby obstructions and sinking spots on the runways that limited the utility of the airport (the latter problem caused by private contractors, not the Works Progress Administration--see detailed history below).  Eventually, Friendship Airport (BWI) replaced Baltimore Municipal Airport as the dominant regional airport.  Baltimore Municipal Airport closed in 1960.  (Photo taken by the Works Progress Administration, provided courtesy of the University of Maryland College Park Archives)
Airports: The Unemployed Help Maryland Soar!


Overview (a very brief history of the WPA's work on Maryland's airports)
"Airports: The Unemployed Help Maryland Soar" (beginning of detailed history)
I. Introduction
II. Airport Development in America
III. The WPA & Maryland Airports
1. Cumberland Airport
2. Hagerstown Airport
3. Detrick Field (Frederick) 
4. Salisbury Airport
5. Beltsville Airport
6. Baltimore Municipal Airport
IV. Conclusion


(NOTE: This overview, and the photos that follow, are meant for the casual visitor.  If you have an especially strong curiosity or interest in airport history, please see my detailed history--with references--beneath the photos)

      The WPA worked on seven airports in Maryland between 1935 and 1943. They were: (1) The Cumberland Airport, (2) the Hagerstown Airport, (3) Detrick Field (in Frederick, no longer in service),  (4) Baltimore Municipal Airport (no longer exists; the land where the airport operated is now the home of the Dundalk Marine Terminal), (5) Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport, (6) Beltsville Airport (no longer in use), and (7) one more that I have yet to discover.  On these airfields, the WPA built, repaired, or improved 28,646 linear feet of runway and 25 buildings.

      The WPA's work on airports was important because the Great Depression had suppressed private investment in airport development.  Additionally, the airports the WPA worked on served (along with other airports) Maryland's commercial, recreational, training, and national defense needs for decades.  And at least three of the seven airports still serve Marylanders today. 

     The WPA was not solely responsible for airport development in Maryland, of course, but did play an important role.

 Photos: The following photographs were taken by the WPA and provided courtesy of the University of Maryland College Park Archives.  Click here for more information on photo credits, permission to use, and exhibit information. 

Above: The Cumberland Airport--in Wiley Ford, West Virginia (just across the Maryland state line)--was Maryland WPA project #3914-1.  This photo from October 1941 shows workers constructing a retaining wall above a railroad tunnel that runs beneath the airport.  Today, the tunnel still exists but is no longer used.

Above: The Hagerstown Airport was Maryland WPA project #3049.  This photo, taken in October 1936 shows excavation work on the western end of the East-West Runway.  Note the WPA work sign in the foreground.

Above: Baltimore Municipal Airport--or as it was later called, "Harbor Field"--was Maryland WPA project #3927.  This photo from November 1941 shows the construction of a concrete driveway from Broening Highway to the air station (the building with the control tower on its top).  I don't know if the WPA contributed to the construction of the air station, but the building appears to have been demolished in the early 2000s, not long after the Maryland Historical Trust had noted its historical significance.

Above: Another photograph showing the WPA's development of Baltimore Municipal Airport.  This photo was taken from a terrace on the air station in October 1941.  The body of water in the background is the Patapsco River.

Above: Detrick Field in Frederick, Maryland was Maryland WPA project #3884.  It is no longer used as an airfield and the land area is now part of Fort Detrick.  This photo was taken sometime in 1941.  The WPA may have built some of the buildings at Detrick Field and some of those buildings may still exist.

Above: This photograph of a hangar at Detrick Field was taken in April 1941 and is part of the University of Maryland's WPA photo collection.  I don't know if the building still exists, or what role the WPA had in its construction; the identification card for this photo merely states "Full view of airplane hangar."  However, the WPA built hangars at Baltimore Municipal Airport and Hagerstown Airport, so it's possible they built this one as well.           

 The following is a more detailed history of the WPA's work in Maryland, for those who have a stronger curiosity or interest in Maryland's aviation history...

Airports: The Unemployed Help Maryland Soar!


I. Introduction


     The role of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in Maryland airport and aviation development is a topic that would benefit from more time-intensive research than I have been able to perform for the brief history here.  There are several problems that arise when researching this history; and these problems would require months of time and perseverance to overcome.  First and foremost is the difficulty in “teasing out” the exact role of the WPA in the construction of various airports.  A thorough review of administrative records and local newspaper archives would be required to determine what the WPA was responsible for, as opposed to what other agencies and private contractors were responsible for.


     Another major problem is access.  Airports—and areas where airports used to be—are not always completely open to the public.  A person cannot simply stroll around an airport wherever one chooses.  On top of this, airports, government agencies, and historical organizations are not always responsive to inquiry and/or knowledgeable about the history of airports, at least with respect to the WPA’s involvement.  The latter is not meant to be insulting, but merely to point out, again, the need for months of time and perseverance to garner the attention and cooperation of people who can help with—and may be essential for—research.  Airports, government agencies, and historical organizations have a myriad of other concerns besides an independent researcher’s quest for historical information and/or access to restricted areas to investigate old structures.


     Lastly (as if all the above were not difficult enough), Maryland has not always been diligent in preserving its aviation history.  Consider this from the book Maryland Aloft, written by historians Edmund Preston, Barry Lanman, and John Breihan: 

“The Maryland Historical Trust…found these (Baltimore Municipal Airport) buildings to be eligible for the National Historic Register of Historic Places, based on their innovative design features and their association with local transportation history.  In January 2000, a historical context report prepared for the Maryland Port Administration further documented the four buildings, which have subsequently been demolished.”[1] (Emphasis added)


     Despite these research obstacles, I have put together what I believe to be a good, initial history of the WPA and Maryland airports.  Utilizing (1) scholarly accounts of the WPA, (2) scholarly accounts of airport development in America, (3) the WPA photograph collection of the University of Maryland College Park Archives, (4) the Baltimore Sun Archives, (5) the Final Report on the WPA Program, 1935-1943, and a few other sources, I have been able to piece together a history that I hope others can build on.  However, from this initial research, I contend that the WPA played a significant role in Maryland’s airport and aviation history.        


 II. Airport Development in America


     Before discussing the WPA’s work in Maryland, it will be helpful to briefly discuss the development of airfields and airports in America generally.  


     Prior to the Roosevelt Administration (1933-1945), the federal government played a very limited role in American aviation.  The construction of airplanes, airfields, and airports was largely a private enterprise motivated by hoped-for profits, civic pride, and aviation celebrities like Charles Lindbergh.[2]  There was also a sort of spiritual enthusiasm for flying in the early part of the twentieth century, termed “the winged gospel” by author Joseph Corn[3]; Americans were excited by the concept of flying and where it would lead humanity.  (One can imagine a similar excitement today if ships were created that could take us to other solar systems.)


     Still, the federal government was not completely uninvolved in the evolution of aviation.  Both the Army Air Service and the U.S. Post Office prodded local governments to construct airfields and airports.[4]  And, with airplanes travelling across state lines in ever greater numbers, it was only a matter of time before some national standards and guidelines were promulgated.  One of the first major policies of the federal government was the Air Commerce Act of 1926.  This act created an aeronautics division within the Department of Commerce, as well as some regulatory powers.[5]  Interestingly, the same federal regulatory concerns we see today were present with the Air Commerce Act.  A Department of Commerce official stated in 1930: Regulations should not be so strict that the growth of the industry will be retarded…Yet at the same time, they must be strict enough to protect both the industry and the public consumer of aeronautical products and services.”[6]  


     With the stock market crash of 1929 and the subsequent depression, “commercial investment in new airports virtually halted…”[7]  And by the time Roosevelt took office in March of 1933, unemployment was nearly 25%.[8]  But there was a need to develop America’s airfields and airports further—despite the economic catastrophe—and there was also a need to get people back to work.  The two needs were connected—first with the Civil Works Administration (CWA, the WPA’s short-lived predecessor), and then with the WPA itself.  Other federal agencies would get involved in airport development, but only the CWA and—much more substantially—the WPA were designed to put large amounts of unemployed people to work on airports (as well as a multitude of other public works projects).


     The work of the WPA—on all types of projects, not just airports—was so voluminous as to almost defy comprehension.  One commentator noted: “Never before in the history of the human race has a public works program, whose principal object was the mitigation of need due to unemployment, reached the magnitude of the Work Projects Administration.  This is true, however you measure it—by persons employed, money expended, or volume of results.”[9]  With respect to airports and airfields, the WPA created or improved 5,924,625 linear feet of runways; created 484 new landing fields and improved 469 others; and built 1,366 new airport buildings while improving 2,817 others.[10]


     But outside of these raw numbers, what were the perceptions of the WPA’s work on airports? 




“When the history of civil aeronautics during its formative era if finally written, there will be a chapter on the activities of WPA which will be unstinted in its praise.” --Edgar S. Gorrell, president of the Airport Transport Association of America, 1940.[11]


“Had it not been for Works Progress Administration airport work, air traffic in the United States would have been brought to a practical stop by the advent of the big ships.” --Gill Robb Wilson, president of the National Association of Aviation Officials, referring to the longer runways needed for bigger airplanes, 1938.[12]


“Here is one of the greatest monuments to the industry and skill of American labor…the living answer of the industry of these men who found themselves unemployed through no fault of their own.” --New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, at the opening day of La Guardia Airport, 1939.[13]


     There were also critics of the WPA of course—those who felt that the unemployed were lazy and that their work was meaningless,[14] or that the WPA was an attempt at communism.[15]  But what Harry Hopkins—the first, and most well-remembered, head of the WPA—said at the Louisiana State University football stadium in 1936 (where the WPA had just expanded the size of the facility) seems applicable here: “The things they have actually accomplished all over America should be an inspiration to every reasonable person and an everlasting answer to all the grievous insults that have been heaped on the heads of the unemployed.”[16]     


 III. The WPA & Maryland Airports


     In Maryland, we know that the WPA built or improved 7 landings fields, 25 airport buildings, and 28,646 linear feet of runways.[17]  Beyond this, it becomes more difficult to determine precisely what the WPA did.  Searching the Baltimore Sun archives, I found articles linking the WPA to airports in Cumberland, Hagerstown, Frederick, Baltimore, and Salisbury.  In the book Maryland Aloft (see footnote 1), I found that the WPA was also involved in the construction of the Beltsville Airport.  I have yet to find the seventh airport (or airfield) that the WPA constructed or improved.


 1. Cumberland Airport, Mineral County, West Virginia (not far from the Maryland state line): 


     In the main building of the Cumberland Airport, on the second floor, is the Cohongaronta Gallery.[18]  Along the walls are brief narratives about the history of the airport and the surrounding area.  One mentions the WPA:


“1941: Groundbreaking takes place on the Cumberland airport which is approved by the government as a national defense project.  Works Progress Administration crews do much of the early site work.  A shortage of workers during World War II causes delays.  The airport is not completed until war’s end.”


     Reviewing old Baltimore Sun articles, I was able to piece together a more detailed history of the development of the airport. 


     In late 1940, Cumberland city officials sent plans for the airport to the WPA office in Baltimore.[19]  The project was given the "go-ahead" and later, on February 27, 1941, President Roosevelt approved $2,030,212 for the project.[20] Interestingly, it was noted that the president approved the funds on the same day that a congressman from Maryland—William Byron—died in an airplane crash in Atlanta.  Byron had long advocated for the Cumberland airport.[21] 


     On April 21, 1941, 300 WPA workers began clearing the site for the airport, and it was reported that the Mauge Construction Company (of Charleston, West Virginia) would be contracted for any work requiring the use of heavy machinery.[22]


     On May 25, 1941 a fairly detailed article appeared in the Baltimore Sun, reporting that the airport had been designed by Cumberland City Engineer Ralph L. Rizer and that the superintendent in charge of the WPA crew was William H. Rice.  The article states: Already more than 75,000 feet of timber has been cut from the site and sawed into lumber by the thrifty city fathers.”  It is not clear who the “thrifty city fathers” were, but with 300 WPA men on the job, it is a reasonable assumption that it was the WPA that cut and sawed the timber.  It is noted that the city of Cumberland had to contribute $200,000 to the airport’s construction, but: The city expects to get its $200,000 back in short order.  The Penn Central Airlines has promised that three flights each will be stopped at Cumberland as soon as the facilities are available.”  The article highlights how Cumberland’s leaders were very enthusiastic about the airport’s potential, as there were plans for a restaurant, dance hall, and hotel on the site.  The Cumberland city council wanted the airport to be a sort of community center and aviation country club.”[23]      


     After 1941, the hopes and history of the Cumberland Airport becomes less grand, even downright gloomy.  It appears that the airport needed more funds for completion, but that those funds were not forthcoming.[24]  However, it is not clear why, especially if the narrative in the Cohongaronta Gallery is correct when it states that the airport was approved as a national defense project.[25]  In any event, work slowed (and perhaps even stopped) on the Cumberland airport.  Fortunately, a special appropriation of money was eventually obtained from Congress on December 17, 1943 to finish the project (along with 23 other airports around the country).[26]  But the WPA was no longer around to help, its national termination having occurred on June 30, 1943.[27]  The Cumberland airport—according to the Cohongaronta Gallery narrative, and authors Preston, Lanman, & Breihan—was not completed until after World War II, sometime in late 1945.[28]  And though my research is not yet conclusive, it appears that the airport never lived up to the grand center of activity that the Cumberland City Council had envisioned.   


 2. Hagerstown Regional Airport, Hagerstown, Maryland:


     On August 18, 1936, it was reported that the WPA state office in Baltimore had approved plans for improvements to the Hagerstown airport, e.g., longer runways, lighting, and a hangar, and that the plans had been forwarded to Washington, D.C. for approval there.[29]  The plans were eventually approved, and the project was completed sometime in 1937, with the official opening ceremonies taking place on June 19, 1938.[30]


     According to Preston, Lanman & Breihan, the Hagerstown Airport is “One of the state’s oldest continuously operated airports,” and “has served as a testing and delivery point for important aircraft production, and also as a center for regional aviation.”[31]


     A picture of the hangar built by the WPA can be found on the website of the Hagerstown Regional Airport here, as well as on page 221 in the article “The Hagerstown Airport” (available on the same web page).  Unfortunately, the historic brick hangar was demolished in 1993.[32] 


 3. Detrick Field, Frederick, Maryland:


     The WPA’s airport work in Frederick is very “foggy.”  Some photos taken in 1941 are included in the WPA photo collection at the University of Maryland Archives, and the project is listed as #3884.  The photos show a hangar, the installation of fuel tanks, and some roadwork in front of some buildings.  The photo identification cards state “Frederick Airport,” but according to Preston, Lanman, & Breihan, “planning for the (Frederick Municipal) airport began in 1943, when the city sold its first airfield to the federal government…”  (the city's first airfield was Detrick Field, therefore we can assume that the WPA photos are of Detrick Field).[33]

     I was also able to locate a 1941 Baltimore Sun article that briefly mentions the WPA working on an airport in Frederick, providing further evidence that it was Detrick Field--not the current Frederick Airport--that received the WPA's labor.[34]   


     So, it seems that the WPA helped develop Detrick Field—which is no longer an active airfield[35]—and not the Frederick Municipal Airport that exists today.  In any event, more research is needed to clarify where, and to what extent, the WPA worked in Frederick.    


 4. Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport, Salisbury, Maryland:


     According to the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, the Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport (SOCWRA) was “created at the onset of World War II as a public works project.  Men with picks and shovels converted a farming area east of Salisbury into a Navy pilot training base.”[36]


     According to Preston, Lanman, & Breihan, “The facility was created in response to a 1940 defense plan in which the Civil Aeronautics Administration called for a large airport in the Salisbury area.  The city and county together acquired some 695 acres for the project, and the Works Progress Administration provided the labor.”[37]


     The airport was completed in November 1943, after the WPA program was terminated[38]


     There are several Baltimore Sun articles that mention the SOCWRA airport, but none go into any great detail about the WPA’s involvement.[39]  Again, more research is needed, e.g., researching local newspaper archives.   


 5. Beltsville Airport, Beltsville, Maryland:


     Preston, Lanman, & Breihan report that the Beltsville Airport was active from 1941 to 1981, and was used for military pilot training, aviation club activities, and pesticide & crop dust testing.  They also report that the airfield was developed by the WPA and the Civilian Conservation Corps.[40]  Outside of this information, I was unable to locate anything regarding the work of the WPA at Beltsville Airport (an airport which is no longer in service).   


 6. Baltimore Municipal Airport (or “Harbor Field”), Baltimore, Maryland:


(As might be expected—since I made use of the Baltimore Sun archives—I was able to locate a wealth of fascinating information regarding the WPA’s work at this airport.)


     The development of the Baltimore Municipal Airport has to rank as one of the most frustrating (and thus, morbidly interesting) transportation-related experiences in Maryland history.  The site for the airport was chosen in 1928—360 acres along the Patapsco River, in Dundalk.[41]  A decision was made to use landfill (a sand-clay mixture) to supplement the land of the airport, and that was the first of two major problems, as the fill did not harden as intended, and “this basic flaw was never wholly corrected.”[42]   


     The second major problem was a seeming constant tug-of-war between the Baltimore and federal governments with respect to logistics and funding.  For example, on April 7, 1936 it was announced that the Public Works Administration (PWA) was taking the project over from the WPA, in the hopes that private contractors (paid for with Public Works Administration funds) would be able to complete the project faster, being unhindered by WPA procedures. $2,000,000 was “allocated to the project.”[43]  


     Over three years later, in the latter part of 1939, the airport was not completed and the city was asking the WPA for assistance.  There were muddy soft spots in various locations of the airport (including the runways) that had to be repaired, and drainage systems and electric cables had to be installed.[44]  Baltimore appears to have been anxious to get the job finished quickly, as major negotiations were being conducted with American Export Airlines to utilize the airport.[45]  Much of the construction delay seems to have been caused by the shoddy work of private contractors.  In 1941, an official from the Civil Aeronautics Administration stated:


“The city administration which started the job got off on the wrong foot by giving the contract to a private concern…Whoever got the contract apparently used cheap fill and that has been the trouble ever since.  We submitted a number of recommendations to the city administration of Baltimore six or seven years ago and those recommendations were ignored.”[46]     


     Still later in 1939, the construction of the airport hit another snag when the WPA made adjustments to an apparently inadequate drainage system plan, adding $300,000 to the project’s estimated cost.  If that were not bad enough, the Public Works Administration refused a request from Baltimore for $191,700 in additional funds, ruling that the money had to come from a different source.[47]  Finally, however, administrative difficulties appear to have been ironed out, and the WPA began working on the completion of the airport on November 27, 1939.[48]


     In the spring of 1940, with the airport still far from complete, the Baltimore Sun sponsored and coordinated a trip to La Guardia Airport “to give officials of Baltimore an opportunity to inspect La Guardia Field.”[49]  The inspection and luncheon that ensued were interesting for a number of reasons.  First, there were many notable attendees, such as New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, Baltimore Mayor Howard Jackson, World War I fighter pilot ace Eddie Rickenbacker (then president of Eastern Airlines), and Francis Dryden, the Maryland state director of the WPA.  A second reason the meeting was interesting is because the WPA had contributed greatly to the construction of La Guardia and the airport was then “the busiest in the world, eclipsing England’s famed Croyden and France’s Le Bourget even in their busiest prewar days.”[50]  Finally, the meeting was interesting because it highlighted just how much pressure was being placed on Baltimore to get its airport completed.  Mayor La Guardia pressured Baltimore on national defense grounds:


“The presence in this country of an efficient air transport system and modern airports certainly won’t get us into a war, but their absence might very well do just that.  What is going on in Europe today should demonstrate that.  We must have thousands of skilled pilots and mechanics—men who have had experience.  You can’t get them from correspondence schools; they have to fly and work several years to reach the proper stage of efficiency.”[51]  


     C.R. Smith, president of American Airlines, and Eddie Rickenbacker were among those stressing the economic importance of an airport in Baltimore, with Smith using the strongest words:


“I should imagine that when your airport is finished air service to Baltimore will double and quadruple overnight.  We are anxious to do a good job for you, but we can’t with the present facilities in Baltimore.  When the new airport is completed there will be at least twenty trips daily, as compared to five or six today.  You may rest assured that when the new field is ready for use, the airlines will offer Baltimore a multiplicity of daily flights to all parts of the country.  There are today a number of smaller cities which have better air service than Baltimore, because they have adequate airports.  You will make a serious mistake if you do not provide an adequate airport as quickly as possible.  I am sure that it will be, because Baltimore couldn’t be as important commercially as it is were it not a progressive city.”[52] 


     Despite Smith’s strong and urgent words, it would not be until nearly a year and a half later that Baltimore Municipal Airport had its “first regularly scheduled commercial landing."  Thousands came for opening day on November 16, 1941, but the Baltimore Sun article reporting the event had a cryptic subtitle: “$8,000,000 Field Still Incomplete After 12 Years Of Work.”[53]   


     Between Smith’s advocacy for a swift completion and opening day a year and a half later, the Baltimore Municipal Airport project had been plagued with bad weather,[54] labor shortages,[55] and the ever-present problem of soft muddy spots on the runways.[56] Additionally, journalist E.T. Baker pointed out that politics and diminished public support had hindered the airport’s completion, writing that rival Washington-National Airport (now Reagan National Airport) enjoyed a “unity of direction, which the Baltimore airport, bandied about from one political administration to another, has never even approached.”[57]      


     Like a nightmare that never ends, Baltimore Municipal Airport’s problems did not end after opening day in November of 1941.  Preston, Lanman, & Breihan note that “In May 1942…civilian traffic was suspended when the War Department took over the facility.”  The authors also point out that the airport was hindered by nearby obstructions and “sinking surfaces,” and that Baltimore was already planning a new airport with longer runways (an airport that eventually became BWI airport).[58]  


     The sentiments of some towards Baltimore Municipal Airport were summed up humorously (and sadly) in a Baltimore Sun editorial when the airport closed at the end of 1960:


“Under normal conditions the end of such a municipal venture would call for a word of regret, but hardly in the case of Harbor Field whose downs were so numerous as to all but submerge its ups.  It was once noted in The Evening Sun that it had taken the city longer to build Harbor Field than it had taken Hitler to build the Third Reich and carry it to the beaches of Dunkirk.  For several years the airport plan seemed unable to get up off the drawing boards.  Then followed the years when it was a ‘mud pie,’ a sea of muck surrounded by a bulkhead.”[59] 


     Clearly, Baltimore Municipal Airport—like the Cumberland Airport—never lived up to its expectations.  Yet, if we, as a culture, learn by our failures, perhaps we can say that the problems associated with the Baltimore Municipal Airport informed the development and management of our successful and long-lasting BWI airport.  In this same vein, it must be remembered that the airports of the 1930s and 40s were at the youthful stage of airport development and that there were bound to be failures, not just successes.  Furthermore, it would be unfair to disregard the positive outcomes associated with Baltimore Municipal Airport.  First, it did provide commercial service, though certainly never at the level hoped for.  Second, it provided service to “private pilots and business aviation.”[60]  Third, it served as the home of the Maryland Air National Guard from 1946 to 1960.[61] Fourth, the land set aside for the airport is currently being utilized by the more trouble-free and successful Dundalk Marine Terminal (i.e., the land is not abandoned).[62] And fifth, it showed—once again—what the unemployed could accomplish when given an opportunity instead of an insult.  (Recall that the problems of the airport had little, if anything, to do with the WPA workers.  Indeed, there is no evidence that I have seen that the WPA workers did anything but perform admirably under the adverse circumstances of the airport’s development.) 


 IV. Conclusion

     By helping to construct several airports across the state that served commercial, recreational, training, testing, and defense needs in Maryland, the WPA (the unemployed) contributed significantly to Maryland’s aviation development.  Still, it can not be stated with absolute certainty just how significant that contribution was.  Further research is needed.

[1] Edmund Preston, Barry A. Lanman, and John R. Breihan.  Maryland Aloft: A Celebration of Aviators, Airfields and Aerospace (Crownsville, MD: Maryland Historical Trust Press, 2003), 54.

[2] See, e.g., Janet R. Daly Bednarek, America’s Airports: Airfield Development, 1918-1947 (College Station, TX: Texas A&M University, 2001), 5-40.

[3] Ibid., 7, citing Joseph Corn, The Winged Gospel: America’s Romance with Aviation, 1900-1950 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983). 

[4] Ibid.,14-40.

[5] See generally, Nick A. Komons, Bonfires to Beacons: Federal Civil Aviation Policy Under The Air Commerce Act, 1926-1938 (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989, reprinted paperback ed.).

[6] Ibid., 91, citing J.S. Marriot, “Regulating Air Commerce, Article I—Inspection,” Aviation, January 18, 1930, 96.

[7] Daly Bednarek, America’s Airports, 97.

[8] Robert A. Margo, “Employment and Unemployment in the 1930s,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 7, No. 2 (Spring 1993): 43 (Table 1).

[9] Statement by Joanna C. Colcord, director of the Russell Sage Foundation’s Charity Organization Department, in the Foreword to Donald S. Howard, The WPA and Federal Relief Policy (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1943): 15. Note the term "Work Projects Administration." This was the new name for the Works Progress Administration, beginning in 1939. 

[10] Federal Works Agency, Final Report on the WPA Program, 1935-1943 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1946): 136.

[11] Jason Scott Smith, Building New Deal Liberalism: The Political Economy of Public Works, 1933-1956 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006, 2009 paperback edition), 209, citing WPA Press Release, April 3, 1940.

[12] Komons, Bonfires to Beacons, 374, citing U.S. Congress, House, To Create a Civil Aeronautics Authority, Hearings, before the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, 75th Cong., 3rd sess., 1938.

[13] Alistair Gordon, Naked Airport: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Revolutionary Structure (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004, 2008 paperback ed.), 111, citing New York Times, October 16, 1939, p. 1.

[14] See, e.g., Jason Scott Smith, Building New Deal Liberalism, 135-159.

[15] See, e.g., Nick Taylor, American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA—When FDR Put The Nation To Work (New York: Bantam Books, 2008, 2009 paperback ed.), 422-426.

[16] Ibid., 235, citing Times-Picayune, November 29, 1936, p.1.

[17] Federal Works Agency, Final Report on the WPA Program, 1935-1943, 136.

[18] “Cohongaronta Gallery,” The Greater Cumberland Regional Airport, accessed October, 2011, http://www.cumberlandairport.com/attractions.html

[19] “Cumberland speeds plans for city airport,” Baltimore Sun, Nov. 7, 1940, p. 22, http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/advancedsearch.html.  Retrieved October 2011.

[20] “Cumberland airport project is approved,” Baltimore Sun, Mar. 6, 1941, p. 25, http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/advancedsearch.html.  Retrieved October 2011.

[21] Ibid.

[22] “Airport Leveling Begins This Month,” Baltimore Sun, May 15, 1941, p.20, http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/advancedsearch.html.  Retrieved October 2011.

[23] “Cumberland plans airport exercises,” Baltimore Sun, May 25, 1941, p. 20, http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/advancedsearch.html.  Retrieved October 2011.

[24] “Cumberland official appeal for support to complete airport,” Baltimore Sun, July 16, 1942, p. 14, http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/advancedsearch.html.  Retrieved October 2011.

[25] My research indicates that defense projects may have received rankings of importance.  If so, lower ranked projects may have been put on hold.

[26] “House revives WPA projects,” Baltimore Sun, Dec. 17, 1943, p. 7, http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/advancedsearch.html.  Retrieved October 2011.

[27] Robert D. Leighninger, Long-Range Public Investment: The Forgotten Legacy of the New Deal (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 2007, paperback ed.), 71. 

[28] Edmund Preston, Barry A. Lanman, and John R. Breihan, Maryland Aloft, 94.

[29] “Airport project is approved,” Baltimore Sun, August 18, 1936, p. 4, http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/advancedsearch.html.  Retrieved October 2011.

[30] Kent A. Mitchell, “The Hagerstown Airport,” American Aviation Historical Society Journal, Vol. 48, No. 3 (Fall 2003): 215-229, 222.

[31] Edmund Preston, Barry A. Lanman, and John R. Breihan, Maryland Aloft, 49.

[32] Kent A. Mitchell, “The Hagerstown Airport,” 229.

[33] Edmund Preston, Barry A. Lanman, and John R. Breihan, Maryland Aloft, 98, 60.

[34] “Work On 18 Frederick WPA Jobs To Be Halted,” Baltimore Sun, June 25, 1941, p. 22, http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/advancedsearch.html.  Retrieved October 2011.

[35] Edmund Preston, Barry A. Lanman, and John R. Breihan, Maryland Aloft, 60.

[36] “Transportation,” Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, accessed October, 2011, http://www.salisburyarea.com/bizgov/transportation.html.

[37] Edmund Preston, Barry A. Lanman, and John R. Breihan.  Maryland Aloft, 88-89,

[38] Ibid., 89.

[39] “$380,000 approved for new shore airport,” Baltimore Sun, Aug. 2, 1941, p. 4; “$62,670 more allocated for Salisbury airport,” Baltimore Sun, Oct. 2, 1942, p. 6; Hulbert Footner, “Shore metropolis stands ready for peace or war,” Baltimore Sun, Dec. 30, 1942, p. 26; “New airport is dedicated,” Baltimore Sun, Dec. 12, 1943, p. 13; James F. Waesche, “Salisbury—More than meets the eye,” Baltimore Sun, June 11, 1967, p. FD1. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/advancedsearch.html.  All retrieved October 2011.

[40] Edmund Preston, Barry A. Lanman, and John R. Breihan, Maryland Aloft, 75 & 78.

[41] Ibid., 53.

[42] Ibid.

[43] “PWA decides to complete city’s airport,” Baltimore Sun, Apr. 7, 1936, p. 24, http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/advancedsearch.html.  Retrieved October 2011. It should be noted here that funds from the Public Works Administration were more "open-ended" with respect to the recipient's choice of labor, than were funds from the WPA. A high percentage of WPA funds were required to be used for the employment of people on jobless relief rolls. 

[44] “May resume work on airport in week,” Baltimore Sun, Aug. 30, 1939, p. 22, http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/advancedsearch.html.  Retrieved October 2011.

[45] “Local airport may be used by export line,” Baltimore Sun, Oct. 27, 1939, p. 30, http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/advancedsearch.html.  Retrieved October 2011.

[46] “CAA ‘washes hands’ of new city airport,” Baltimore Sun, Aug. 6, 1941, p. 22, http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/advancedsearch.html.  Retrieved October 2011.

[47] “PWA refuses city $191,700 airport funds,” Baltimore Sun, Oct. 28, 1939, p. 22,  http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/advancedsearch.html.  Retrieved October 2011.

[48] “Project to finish airport started,” Baltimore Sun, Nov. 28, 1939, p. 24, http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/advancedsearch.html.  Retrieved October 2011.

[49] “Airport here urged as step for defense,” Baltimore Sun, May 11, 1940, p. 26, http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/advancedsearch.html.  Retrieved October 2011.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Ibid.

[53] “15 liners land in opening day at airport,” Baltimore Sun, Nov. 17, 1941, p. 22, http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/advancedsearch.html.  Retrieved October 2011.

[54] “City airport certified as defense work,” Baltimore Sun, July 31, 1940, p. 22, http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/advancedsearch.html.  Retrieved October 2011.

[55] “Two week lag in hangar job laid to WPA labor dearth,” Baltimore Sun, Nov. 19, 1940, p. 22, http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/advancedsearch.html.  Retrieved October 2011.

[56] Supra note 54.

[57] E.T. Baker, “Story of two airports, Potomac and Patapsco,” Baltimore Sun, Nov. 24, 1940, p. M2, http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/advancedsearch.html.  Retrieved October 2011.

[58] Edmund Preston, Barry A. Lanman, and John R. Breihan, Maryland Aloft, 54.

[59] “A debt remains,” Baltimore Sun, Dec. 28, 1960, p. 14, http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/baltsun/advancedsearch.html.  Retrieved October 2011.

[60] Edmund Preston, Barry A. Lanman, and John R. Breihan, Maryland Aloft, 54.

[61] Capt. Wayde Minami, “Harbor Field Was Maryland Air Guard’s First Post-War Home,” Air National Guard, 175th Wing Public Affairs. Last modified April 7, 2010. http://www.175wg.ang.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123188756.

[62] Ibid. 


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