I took a detour up High School Road the other day and was shocked to see the demolition has started on the old Indianapolis International Airport – previously known as Weir Cook Airport. I got to thinking about all the trips I’d made to that old airport – pick ups, drop offs, catching a plane myself. . . . lots of memories.
The original airport opened in 1931 It was named after Col. Harvey Weir-Cook of Wilkinson, Indiana, who was a US Army Air Forces pilot in World War I and World War II, where he was killed flying a P-39 over New Caledonia. He became a flying ace during WWI. It was renamed Indianapolis International in 1976. It had several additions over the years and was a fun place to just visit and watch the planes standing on the top floor of the parking garage. Or sitting in your car at the ‘overlook’ off of I-70 back in the day watching them land over the houses and cornfields that were ‘in the country’.
Do you remember when the plane crashed into the Ramada Inn located nearby? That was in 1987 and 10 people died. They never rebuilt a hotel in that spot.
I remembered taking my youngest son there to catch his plane to San Diego when he went to basic training in the Navy. I have a picture of him sitting in those hard orange chairs smoking before he got on the plane! And when he came home on leave we met him right at the gate with balloons and cake.
When I visited another son in Phoenix, I stopped at the White Castle on Washington St. to pick him up some sliders – those other passengers had to smell them all the way!
That same son was welcomed home with tears when he returned from his tour with the USMC in the Middle East.
There were happy times and sad times spent there.
When they had the big auction after the new airport opened we went to check it out. What a blast! They sold everything: security monitors, chairs, ashtrays, pictures, lost & found items never claimed.
The new airport has won accolades and been voted the best in overall satisfaction by JD Power; it’s a beautiful building – the grandkids love the moving sidewalks and running around the open spaces. But, I’ll remember the Weir Cook (who?) and the Airport Expressway (wow!) forever.