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A LOOK BACK: Springville’s Airport

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By Derek M. Otto

If you drive down Vaughn Street in Springville, it’s hard to believe that at one point, there was an airfield there.

It is the most logical place for one; it’s some the flattest land in the area. Today, the spot is overgrown with trees, the electrical substation is there and Land Pro uses the building as its showroom.

Opening on July 4, 1945, the Springville Airport was welcomed by a large crowd of community members and local dignitaries. The airport was owned and operated by Joe Ott and Melvin Keane.  The airport had its own flying club known as the Gremlins.  Mark Krezmein, local aviation expert and FAA inspector, commented that once his older brother, Larry, took him up in a plane from the Springville  Airport, he was hooked.

For its brief few years, the airport held flight classes.  Advertising in local papers “Learn to Fly! $88.00 Government approved flight course. Springville Airport Vaughn Street.”

The airport would also be the launching point for many community members for flying trips to other local airports as in 1949 when several local couples took off from the Springville airport to get breakfast in Jamestown and enjoy the fall foliage.

The airport caused some local upheaval:  In the 1920s,  a group of wealthy Buffalo residents bought land on Middle Road and built a small resort.  The resort was for one of the latest trends of the time, nudism.  After it was learned that the airport was opening, the small nudist colony closed up shop. Remnants of the building still stand on Middle Road.

As for the airport?  By 1952, the hangar building was leased to Springville Griffith Institute to store school buses.  In 1953, the school district bought the building and used it for the bus garage until 2011 when the new transportation building on North Street opened.

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