Mississippi Mid-Century: Jackson Municipal Airport

JACKSON , MISSISSIPPI, ALLEN C. THOMPSON MUNICIPAL AIRPORT . . . This modern jet age airport offers hotel, restaurant, gift shop and newsstand facilities, as well as housing airline offices.

JACKSON , MISSISSIPPI, ALLEN C. THOMPSON MUNICIPAL AIRPORT . . . This modern jet age airport offers hotel, restaurant, gift shop and newsstand facilities, as well as housing airline offices.

New Airport Dedication Set Next Wednesday

Open House From 9 til 5

Officials and civic leaders of Jackson will proudly dedicate a highly anticipated modern new airport at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 24th. Keyed to the jet age, the outstandingly impressive new facility may be viewed by citizens and visitors during an extended Open House from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Dedication ceremonies will be held on the south bridge of the terminal building. Following an invocation by Rev. Carey Cox, pastor of First Baptist Church, Brandon, and Presentation of the Colors, short addresses will be given by Hon. Allen Thompson, Mayor of Jackson; Hon. John Bell Williams, United States Representative and William J. Schultze, representing the Administrator of Federal Aviation.

Airport Authority Chairman R. Baxter Wilson will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

Following dedication, the “Blue Angels,” famous naval flying team, will perform a 45-minute acrobatic and precision flying exhibition.

The fine new terminal as well as special displays of commercial aircraft will be on exhibit during the Open House.

Air National Guard facilities and special military exhibits, located at the north end of the airport, will be open to the public beginning at 1:30 p.m. until 5 p.m.

Air Guard Dedication

United States Senator John Stennis will give the dedicatory address during the dedication ceremonies for the Air National Guard at noon. The ceremonies will be held at a luncheon for federal, county and local officials and other invited guests. Attendance is by ticket only.

To be held in the aircraft maintenance hanger [sic], the program will include an invocation by Chaplain Edward R. Dowdy, a welcome address by Lt. Col. George M. McWilliams, Commander of the 183rd Aeromedical Transport Squadron, Air National Guard and introduction of guests by Major General William P. Wilson, Adjutant General of Mississippi.

Formal presentation of the facilities will be made by Major General Winston P. Wilson, Deputy Chief of the National Guard Bureau; acceptance by Governor Ross R. Barnett.

For expedition of traffic during the Open House, elaborate plans are being made by Jackson Police Department working in cooperation with Mississippi Highway Patrol and local Air Police.

Modern To the Last Word

New Jackson Airport is designed to provide the latest word in efficiency, convenience and safety for today’s traveler. Built at a cost of some $8 million, it may eventually cost up to $13 million as further additions are made. Present planning already includes a parallel runway, an additional airplane parking apron and a general aviation hanger.

Present facilities include sheltered loading areas for automobile passengers arriving or departing from the terminal, a modern and spacious waiting room, restaurant and snack bar facilities, broad concourses for passengers moving to and from aircraft, a 120-foot high control tower and space for the Jackson Weather Bureau.

Guard Facilities

Air National Guard facilities provide home for the 183rd Aeromedical Transport Squadron. Built at a cost of some $2,200,000.00, the military installation includes a massive hanger for aircraft maintenance and buildings housing headquarters, supply issue, motor vehicle maintenance, crash-fire and engine build-up facilities.

Come Early

Captain T.A. Turner, airport manager, urges everyone in Jackson’s area to come early and inspect the terminal and displays prior to the dedication and air show.

Adequate parking facilities have been arranged and police units will be on hand to direct.

Members of the Jackson Airport Authority, under whose supervision the facility operates, in addition to Mr. Wilson, are: Thad Ryan, Vice-Chairman; Purser Hewitt, Earl Fyke, Sr. and Merle Mann.

Northside Reporter, July 18, 1963, p. 1-2



Categories: Architectural Research, Jackson

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9 replies

  1. I have been told there is an interesting (and sordid) story about why the airport was built east of Jackson at this site instead of a location west of the city, part way between Jackson and Vicksburg. The east site had a lot of geotechnical problems. Does anyone know the history or the politics?

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    • What I could find in the newspaper archives was sketchy, but here it is: 1955, the Jackson Airport Commission chair said there was no need for a new terminal or to enlarge the facilities. During the 1959 campaign for Democratic nomination for Governor, then Lt. Gov. Carroll Gartin accused Ross Barnett of profiteering, stating that Barnett bought land wanted by the new Jackson airport, and sold it to the city for a 50% profit. He alleged Barnett bought a tract of land in the airport area in 1956, for $24,030 and sold it to the city for $36,000 seven months later. Jackson Airport Commission defended the selection of the site near the city limits in Rankin County as one that “offers room for expansion” and that flight patterns for take off and landing were over “swamps and uninhabited woods.” In 1961, the city asked for federal funds to construct the new facility. During the construction, the FAA withheld funds because the contract called for desegregated facilities, and the “local officials have not accepted this provision.”

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  2. Does anyone remember when there was a TRAVELODGE hotel inside the airport? It was on the southside of the west end of the terminal.

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  3. Photograph circa late 1970s. Newest vehicle that I can identify is a 1977 or ’78 Ford LTD on the right.

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    • When I came to work at Jackson Airport in October ’83, the Travelodge hotel was still operating. Not long afterwards (don’t remember exactly when) Travelodge vacated and the airport authority continued to operate the hotel, apparently at a loss, since the rooms were eventually turned into rental office space.

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      • As of August 1985, when I moved to the state, the hotel was gone, or at least I do not remember seeing any signs or indications that a hotel was available.

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  4. Really enjoyable post! Love looking at the cars in the parking lot. When our daughter was little, she always wanted me to take her to visit the “crown” on top of the airport (air traffic control tower).

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