The rich history of Hector International Airport dates back to the pioneer
days of 1927 when Martin Hector leased the quarter of land that would
become home to what we now know as "Hector International
Airport". The history of Hector has been broken down into three
Hector Field (1927-1953)
|On September 9, 1927, Martin Hector leased a
quarter-section of land at the northwest corner of Fargo to the city for five
years at $1 per year. On April 9, 1931, Hector paved the way for Fargo's airport
with his outright gift of the land. In later years Hector and his
daughter-in-law, Mrs. Fred M. (Margaret) Hector, donated several additional
parcels totaling nearly 50 acres that were incorporated into the present airport
property, along with acreage purchased from a number of adjacent landowners.
Although the first successful airplane flight
in Fargo took place in 1911, the flight occurred at the old Fairgrounds.
Northwest Airlines (founded at what is now the
Minneapolis—St. Paul International Airport on September 1, 1926) began
scheduled weekly flights into Fargo on February 1, 1928. This was a Minneapolis
to Winnipeg flight with a stop in Fargo. Service was suspended after three
months due to opposition from the Canadian government.
It was February 3, 1931, when Northwest Airways
began its first passenger service to Fargo. A "giant" six passenger
Hamilton Metalplane settled down on the new Fargo Airport to inaugurate air
service from Minneapolis to Grand Forks and then on to Winnipeg. The
commemorative envelope is shown below.
On May 27, 1931, Fargo's Municipal Airport,
Hector Field, was dedicated. Brief showers failed to deter more than 5,000 Fargo
residents as they came to see the dedication. The Forum reported that the roads
to the airport were "choked" with cars and planes zoomed overhead.
A.T. Lynner, President of the city commission, introduced Walter Hinton,
principal speaker at the dedication. Hinton, shown right, was a Navy Lieutenant
and principal pilot on the first transatlantic flight in 1919. (The U.S. Navy's
NC-4 Flying Boat made the first transatlantic flight from May 8-27, 1919.
Lieutenant Albert C. Read accompanied Hinton on the historic flight in the
two-seat airplane. The NC-4 took off from the Naval Air Station Rockaway on Long
Island, New York and after a refueling stop, engine repairs and weather delays,
landed in Lisbon, Portugal. Hinton was also the first person to pilot a plane
from North America to South America and the first to do aerial exploration of
the Amazon on a National Geographic expedition.)
on a mission to promote civil aviation for the Exchange Clubs of the U.S., spoke
about the history of aviation.
Cash prizes were given to the first 20 pilots landing in Fargo between 10 and
11 AM. The first to arrive was J.M. Bacon of Grand Forks who reportedly landed
by clearing a fence by only 5 feet! He entertained the crowds with stunt flying
throughout the day. Other pilots similarly thrilled the crowd but three Navy
fliers from Minneapolis were reported as the best fliers of the day with their
precision formation flying.
Drum and bugle corps and bands from the AOUW lodge, NDAC, and high and
military groups performed for the dedication and squads from the local National
Guard unit marched over the field.
The dedication ended with a street dance at First Avenue between Roberts
Street and Broadway.
Pictured in two postcards below is the original
Hector Field Terminal. The Christmas card depicts the men and women
who worked at the facility. Their names (clockwise from the upper right) are
Lloyd Jensen, Cliff Gohdes, Ken Diehl, Celia Fattore, Bill Harrison, Bob Wall,
Duane Jennings, Man Johnson, John Ewald, and Wally Kuhr.
The photograph below was taken in 1938, seven
years after the dedication of Hector Field.
This picture was taken in front of the terminal building
of a Northwest Boeing 377 Stratocruiser.
Hector Airport (1953-1986)
In 1953, a new terminal and administration
building was built at a cost of $400,000. When the city built a new terminal
building in 1986, this building became an aviation office complex. The Civil Air Patrol
Headquarters are also found here.
Pictured below are two aerial views of Hector
Airport during this period.
Hector International Airport
The present terminal was built in 1986. With its construction, the terminal facility moved from the southeast corner of the airport grounds to the West central area. In 1982, Hector Field became Hector
International Airport and U. S. Customs opened an office on the field in 1985.
International Airport completed the passenger terminal expansion/update project
October 2008. The project updated the existing terminal
building and added a 5th gate, 3rd baggage claim and expanded the security
Click here to see pictures of the completed project.
Today, Hector International Airport is served by
Delta, United Express, Frontier, American Eagle and Allegiant with non-stop service to 11 cities.
- Delta offers flights to Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and Atlanta utilizing Airbus, Boeing, Embraer, and Canadair aircraft.
- United Express offers flights to Chicago O'Hare and Denver utilizing the
Canadair and Embraer regional jet aircraft.
- Allegiant operates flights to Las Vegas, Phoenix-Mesa, Los Angeles (seasonal),
Tampa and Orlando-Sanford (seasonal) utilizing McDonnell Douglas and Airbus aircraft.
- American operates flights to Chicago and Dallas utilizing the Embraer and Canadair regional jet aircraft.
- Frontier operates flights to Denver utilizing Airbus aircraft.
2013 was the busiest year in terms of total passengers for the airport. Nearly 800,000 total passengers either enplaned or deplaned at Hector International Airport.
For more news facts about Hector International Airport please visit the news section of the website.
Thank you to Ben Burns at Wayne State University and http://www.fargo-history.com
for this information.