Newspaper articles and random written accounts can provide crucial details about a person's life, but never the whole story. So it is with Frederick Machesney. An aviator for 57 is his 79 years, Machesney passed away in Rockford, IL on December 3, 1977. At the time he closed his airfield four years earlier, it was considered the longest running single operator airport in the country. Machesney was elected posthumously to the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame in 1987. While he has been gone from Rockford for 43 years, his memory is still alive in those who knew him.
This is how you, the Rockford-area community, are vital part of telling his story. Machesney's story lives on through yours.
Your Memories are Fred Machesney's living legacy
Do you or a family member have a memory of Fred or Mae Machesney? Did you ever visit his airfield? Or perhaps remember the replica of the Curtiss Jenny airplane which hung in the Machesney Mall in the years following the redevelopment of the airfield? Sharing your memories of Fred and his airfield will help us tell his story.
Here are a few significant details to get you thinking!
- Machesney Field, located on North 2nd Street where the defunct Machesney Mall now stands
- The replica Curtiss Jenny that hung in the Mall during the 1970s and 80s.
- The closure of Machesney Field in 1973
- Groundbreaking for the new mall to bear Machesney's name in 1977
- The Root Beer Barrel, a walkup concession stand located on Machesney Field in the 1960s
- Flight training or 'hanging out' at Machesney Field
- A first flight from Machesney or at the field
- The traffic of planes flying over North 2nd Street
- Going to school across the street from Machesney Field
- Photographs the depict any person or location associated with Machesney Field
If you have a memory of any of these, or something else related to Machesney and his airfield please consider sharing them with us!
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We will follow up regarding all comments and recollections and will seek permission before using any information in public or published form, on the website, social media and the book.
Fred Machesney (left) and Nick Rezich’s (right) standing beside a Travel Air following their flyby at the Machesney Park Mall groundbreaking ceremony.