Bristol Roundup

Remembering Bristol’s Only Airport

Stephenson_CT_34FairchildBRISTOL – Bristol’s Airport date of construction of this former small general aviation airport has not been determined. The earliest depiction of Stephenson Field which has been located was in the Boston Chamber of Commerce’s 1931 “Airports & Landing Fields of New England”.

It described Stephenson as a commercial field. The field was said to consist of a 30-acre T-shaped turf field, measuring 2,000′ x 1,700′, having 4 runways, of which the longest was the 1,950′ northwest/southeast strip. The field was said to have a 60′ x 50′ hangar. The commercial operator was the Reliable Flying Service, Inc., and the manager was Gordon Warner.

The Pilots Handbook Publishing Company’s 1931 Pilots Handbook (courtesy of Chris Kennedy) described Stephenson Field as being 1,900′ x 1,500′ in size. The Airport Directory Company’s 1933 Airport Directory described Stephenson as a commercial airport, being 90 acres in size. The field was said to consist of a turf field, measuring 1,475′ north/south by 1,380′ east/west, and it was said to have a hangar.

The Haire Publishing Company’s 1945 Airport Directory described Stephenson Field as a “class s-1” field, owned by Bristol Flying Field, Inc., and operated by Aviation School, Inc. The manager was listed as H. E. Darling. The field was said to have 3 sod strips, with the longest being the 1,600′ north/south strip, and it was said to have 3 hangars.

The 1946 USGS topo map depicted the Bristol Airport as having an irregularly-shaped outline, with 3 small buildings along the road on the southwest corner of the field. The 1954 USGS topo map no longer depicted the Bristol Airport, but continued to depict the 3 small buildings along the road on the southwest corner of the field.

The former airport now houses ESPN’s North Campus.

Content and photo provided by Chris Kennedy and Paul Freeman

 

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