Hunting Ghost Airports of Chicagoland

Hunting Ghost Airports of Chicagoland
Mitchell Field, Lombard (courtesy

Just like humans, airports have come to life only to die -- and become shopping malls and housing developments and sometimes just empty fields, the old runways covered by corn.

The survivors, Midway and O'Hare and  Chicago Executive Airport in northwest Wheeling,  are among the best known of what were once scrappy grass and sometimes paved airports that ringed the Chicago area.

Most have been lost to history and progress.  Probably the best known and most infamous loss is that of Meigs Field on Northerly Island on Chicago's lake front.   In what is now legend, Mayor Richard M. Daley  used his "boss" powers and had Meigs Field literally X-ed out of existence, by having bulldozers carve gigantic X's in the two runways, leaving people and planes stranded.

Many of these small airports had their origin during the early days of aviation, from 1910 to 1929, such as Maywood airfield, where Charles Lindbergh landed,  and which is now the site of Hines Veteran's Hospital.  Others had their births after World War II, when there were many pilots and a lot of green land ringing Chicago.  Most are ghost airports now.

Several small airports dot Chicagoland yet, such as Clow Field, in Bolingbrook, the site of a recent crash that killed the pilot and his wife.  Another is south suburban Lockport, Lewis University Airport.

Some don't want to let these ghost airports rest in peace, and have devoted time to tracking them down and recording them for history.

Who ya gonna call for this info?

One person is former pilot Nick Selig , who is wearing his pilot ghost hunter suit and spotting the old landing strips.

Another is a  site that details abandoned ghost airports geography, north of Chicago, central Chicago and south of Chicago .

Chicago has always been a transportation hub, first by river, then by foot and rail and by air, and every-so-often it is nice to give a nod to those who flew on  before we did.

Oh, there is one other ghost airport in Chicago.  It has been on the books for about twenty years now, and that is the proposed South Suburban Airport, which exists only in the dreams of politicians and construction crews and in the nightmares of those who live in the flight path.


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