In The Beginning
Airport is the largest privately owned airport open to the public in the
country and was started in 1945 by Dewey and Maude Cable. It is
presently owned and operated by their children and grandchildren.
the beginning, as World War II marched to its conclusion, Dewey set
about making his dream of having his own airport a reality. He
considered several different locations in what is now the Inland Empire
area, finally settling on 80 acres of rocks and shrubs north of Foothill
Boulevard, between Upland and
Dewey talked the owner into selling it to him for $8500, which was much
less than he had been asking originally. This took all of Dewey and
Maude's savings, and the banks wouldn't loan them money to develop the
airport because the property, being watershed, was subject to flooding.
Being the resourceful person he was, Dewey turned around and sold twelve
acres to the Holliday Rock Company for $8,500, which gave him the money
he needed to start construction. Another forty acres was purchased in
1948 and the final twenty acres in 1956.
When it came time to start runway construction, Dewey was again
frustrated by uncooperative banks and unwilling contractors.
Contractors, looking at the rugged terrain with deep gullies, huge
boulders, and rocks of all sizes, said it would cost a fortune to build
the runways and quoted accordingly. That didn't stop Dewey. He went
ahead and built them himself.
rented two bulldozers and a carryall, and bought an old pull grader.
With the help of his wife, two children, and some hired help he began
construction on the first runway in March 1945. Thirty days later (for a
fraction of the cost one contractor wanted) the first 1200 feet of
runway was completed.
Dewey had chosen to fill one of the eroded north-south ravines first,
because it was the easiest to do. This became runway 1-19. Of course, it
did have a steep 3.5% gradient, and the prevailing winds were across the
runway instead of parallel. But that wasn't a problem for an experienced
pilot like Dewey. Besides, the important thing was that he could use it
now, while the other longer runway was being built!
Dewey used the dozer to clear the boulders and the grader to level the runways. Maude, his wife, drove a truck and hauled equipment. Roger, who was seven, marked outlines for the runway, which was no easy task because he was not tall enough to be seen from one point to another. Many times he had to stand on the top of the old Model T truck. Millie was thirteen and kept track of topsoil being delivered from the nearby rock quarry at fifty cents a truckload.
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