Promoting and preserving the rich history of Grand Prairie, Texas. by collecting, preserving and interpreting the history through committed volunteers who translate to others while maintaining the highest standards of excellence.

Aviation Industry

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The History of Aviation in Grand Prairie, Texas

Grand Prairie has had a long and fascinating history with the defense and aviation industry. Below is an excerpt from a post on the Quiktrip Park website that chronicles the relationship between the aviation industry and the City of Grand Prairie.

In 1929, the cattle and farming community of Grand Prairie, population 1,429, welcomed the Curtiss-Wright Airport of Fort Worth – Dallas. The airport was located at Jefferson Street and Carrier Parkway and was one of several civil airports built and operated by the Curtiss-Wright Company across the country. After Curtiss-Wright operated a flight school at the field for a year, it then became the city’s Municipal Airport. In 1940, the field was purchased by the Lou Foote Flying School for military cadets. In 1942, the Navy took over the property, establishing the Grand Prairie Naval Landing Field, also known as Squadron Two.

Just southeast of Curtiss-Wright, Hensley Army Air Force Base opened in 1932. Although technically in Dallas, the base (which in 1943 was renamed Dallas Naval Air Station) would forever change Grand Prairie. In 1939, North American Aviation, an industry giant, chose a site west of Hensley Field for its new production plant.

On September 28, 1940, North American broke ground on the new plant. North American’s plant was constructed of concrete and steel and was the first windowless, fully air-conditioned and artificially lit aircraft production facility in the U.S. The plant was dedicated on April 7, 1941.

In addition to construction of the plant itself, housing had to be made available for the thousands of people that would be moving to the area to work at the plant. At the time, Grand Prairie was a town of only 1,595. In order to help meet the housing demand, the federal government built Avion Village, a $1 million housing development of 300 homes in Grand Prairie. One house in the project was built from scratch on a prelaid foundation in an incredible 58 minutes and 50 seconds.

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Meeting Schedule

Thursday, May 18 @ 11:30 am - LUNCH
Regular Meeting Bass-Hays Foundry History

Saturday, June 17, 1 :00PM-3:00PM
GPHO Dechman & Goodman Awards

Saturday, July 29, 9am - 2pm
Bus Tour of GP Historical Markers

Thursday, August 17, 6:30PM - DINNER
Regular Meeting, Program TBD

Saturday, October 7, 10:00AM - 2:00PM
Pioneer Day & Museum Grand Opening Celebration

Thursday, November 16 11:30AM - LUNCH
Regular Meeting, Program TBD

*The GPHO Board meets the second Monday of each month.

Current Officers

The board would appreciate hearing from any of our members willing to fill a vacancy on the board or serve on a committee. Your involvement in the Grand Prairie Historical Organization is valuable to us. Please email president@gphistorical.com.

Book: Historic Grand Prairie

An Illustrated History | By Kathy A. Goolsby

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