Skip to main content

This Day In Machesney History-- February 3

On February 3, 1930, Machesney Field, then known as Rockford Airport was visited by US Department of Commerce flying inspector J. E. Reed. This was a routine inspection in order to certify Machesney's flying field for official commercial and military use. This was an important step in securing government approval to use the field for air mail and passenger line service. Northwest Airways was already flying over the airport at this time and in negotiations with Machesney and the government to make this a regular line stop for the Minnesota to Chicago Route. (Contract Air Mail route 9)

Ironically, the flying inspector arrived by train. After inspecting the field, he left at noon to visit airports in Dekalb and Sycamore.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

They Paved Paradise And Put Up A Parking Lot

It wasn’t that long ago that driving up North Second Street and glancing across this field provided entirely different scenery. Instead of an empty parking lot with cracked pavement and stale walls, the landscape featured a large grass field speckled with hangars and aircraft. The sound of engines and propellers beating the air dominated the air. In the early days, one would eagerly visit the airport on the weekend for a chance to take a ride with “Mac” and see Rockford from above for only $2.50. Fred Machesney was Rockford’s first professional pilot. Nearly 92 years ago, he came to Rockford with an airplane and dream to turn his passion for flying into a full time career. His passion, eye for safety, and his astute business sense quickly endeared him to the Chamber of Commerce and local business leaders. They embraced Machesney not only as a tool to help promote local business but as a partner that could help grow the local economy. The Chamber invested in him heavily and almost

We are pioneers with a great idea...

“ " ... We are only pioneers, but we are pioneers with a great idea. Sometime in future centuries, the whole world will be revolutionized by that idea. Then it will know the value of the hope and the thrill we feel as our aero planes rise from the earth, pass through the clouds, and fly high in the clear upper air." -- Art “Bird Boy” Smith” In 1927 Frederick Machesney and his wife Mae moved North from the small farming town of Kewanee, Illinois to Rockford to begin the operation of a small regional airfield.  Over the course of the next fifty years Machesney's story would help to shape the development and thus the history of air travel in his local community and throughout the upper Midwest.  By the time he retired in the late 1970s, his field was recognized as the oldest existent single operator airport in the country.   Machesney was a skilled airman and a community leader, a man with a strong vision and the ambition to bring it to life.   In his fift

Machesney Concedes to Progress

“Forty-nine years ago I dug my first spade of ground here, and now I’m doing it again. But this’ll be longer lasting.” -- Fred Machesney, August 2nd, 1977. The headline from Rockford’s Morning Star-Register Republic paper from August 22nd, 1974 reads “Machesney Concedes to Progress”. As a researcher, I have read thousands of historical headlines over the years but none have had a personal impact on me more than the one listed above. When Machesney came to Rockford he ushered in a whole new era. For the first time in the history of the city, the airplane was now seen as a viable tool for commerce, recreation, and tourism. Business leaders could charter Machesney to take sales trips all over the region and be back home in time for dinner. Intrepid shoppers could take a shopping tour of Milwaukee and Chicago and be home the same day. Hundreds of aircraft from visiting cities and tours came through the airport during the year to promote aviation or conduct business. The possibiliti