Workshop of the World

stories of industry in & around Philadelphia

Cable supported roof structure to provide clear span space inside, TWA Maintenance Hangar (1955).
Architecture by Ballinger. Engineering by Ammann and Whitney. HAER

Philadelphia Airport
, 1937
Island Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19153

John Mayer, Workshop of the World (Oliver Evans Press, 1990).

In 1925, the City of Philadelphia officially entered the field of air transportation by providing the Pennsylvania National Guard the use of 125 acres of land in the Southwest section of the city for training purposes. Expectations for a larger airfield grew with the $3 million purchase in 1930 of the then-derelict Hog Island Shipyard from the U.S. Government.
The Depression delayed development of the project until 1937 when construction of the Terminal Building and landing field began in earnest. On June 20, 1940 the Philadelphia Municipal Airport formally opened and provided service for 40,000 passengers in its first year of operation.
Other important dates in this airport's history include the 1953 construction of a new terminal building; 1972 construction of 10,500 foot all-weather runway and high-speed taxiways; and the 1977 $300 million improvement project to build the four separate terminal buildings for domestic operations. In 1987, 15.5 million passengers used the airport.
The original hangar and terminal building still stands on Island Avenue, just south of the Overseas Terminal.

1  Philadelphia Department of Commerce, Division of Aviation, Unpublished History of the Philadelphia Airport, n.d.

Update May 2007 (by Joel Spivak):
Still in operation.

History of the Philadelphia Airport

Historic American Engineering Record - TWA Maintenance Hangar