Hello Mr. Moriaty,
I just ran across your web site about the Florida airfields and you have
a nice site. I grew up in Miami and if I can, I'd like to give you some
input on your airports.
1.) Meacham Field, Key West: This field never closed that I know of. The
Navy took it over well before WW2 and it was the original Key West NAS.
After the war, the designation was transferred over to Boca Chica which
was a NAAS to Meacham. Boca Chica had started initially to be an Army
Air Field but was taken by the Navy in the Army/Navy agreement which
basically divided up Florida field locations between the two. Meacham
reverted back to the City of Key West and has been their International
airport ever since. Although a little short on the one runway, National
flew B727's in there up into the 60's.
2.) You'll pardon me for the nitpicking, but Miami Municipal Airport was
actual on the east side of LeJeune Rd. between it and the Seaboard Air
Line Railroad. The field remained abandoned and intact up until the
early eighties when a move to make it an aviation museum location
failed. The Seaboard railroad then acquired a large part of it an built
a RR Intermodal Yard there. I'm not sure when it happened; late 80's or
early 90's, but the RR closed the Yard and that's when it was converted
into that park. I think that happened when, now CSX RR sold all their
interest in the RR's there to the State from West Palm Beach south.
3.) Even though the Zepp, Akron and Macon all visited Opa Locka field
and landed in the open area on the west side of the blimp hangar, I've
been in the hangar many times and it was too small for the rigid
airships. For several years in the 70's and 80's, Goodyear would work on
their blimps in there. It was tight for them. The big rigid airships
would have been way to long and I'm sure were too tall.
Several of the airfields you listed were also major military
installations during the war, including Miami International.
Hope some of this is of interest to you.
WILLIAM MORIATY RESPONDS
Dear Mr. Benson:
Thanks so much for reading our on-line publication and taking the time to
write to us.
Any correction to my work is encouraged when the intent is to produce more
factual and accurate accounting which I thank you for below.
I stand more confused over the Key West International Airport matter after
reading your note below. If it is indeed the original Meacham Field, is
Kelly's restaurant on Whitehead Street correct to make a claim that their
building was the birthplace of Pan American World Airways? That's quite a
ways from the current day International Airport!
When I flew Sea Coast Airlines to Key West in June 2004 a former Keys native
told me that Eastern flew 727's and DC-9's into Key West, often running off
of the runway after summer thunderstorms. Those most have been spectacular
aircraft to watch on finals over downtown (although I'd have settled for Air
Sunshine DC-3's myself)!
When in the Miami area, perhaps we can get together and talk airport and
To send an email to Letters to the Editor write to: Crazedfanboy1@aol.com. Any emails sent to this address will be assumed intended for publication unless you specifically instruct me not to. I can and do respond privately, if that is your preference. Frequently, it's both ways.---Nolan