| Historic Site
| 111 E. Koenig Lane
When people think of airports in Austin mostly they think of
Meuller and Bergstrom, and not much else. But Austin is actually littered with airports that have long since been abandoned. One of those just just a stones throw from Meuller, the haile Airport.
From 1939 to 1948 Doc Haile ran an airport in what is now the neighborhood of Skyview. The small facility was on 50 acres and primarily used for general (i.e. not commercial) aviation. During the war some GI training apparently also took place.
The only remaining sign of the airport is one of its metal hangers. The decaying structure now serves as storage space for Howard Nursery on Koenig Lane. Please note that the hanger is NOT open to the public and one should not approach it without permission. The folks at the nursery are all incredibly nice, so just ask if you can take a closer look.
|'Haile Flying Service' can faintly be read over the hanger door.|
The hanger was constructed of a metal frame with a corrugated metal surface that is attached to the frame with metal wire punched through the paneling. It's not really built to be permanent, but it still does its job today.
Over the large hanger door one can still make out many of letters that read "Haile Flying Service". Inside there is a large central area for plane storage. Around it, spaces that must have been used for offices or storage spaces occupy walled off areas where the ceiling was lower. A couple of painted instructions are still visible including, "...must strictly adhere to civil air regulations" and "Please put money in box". Airport usage fees may have been on the honor system!
Update (May 28, 2006): On a visit to Howard Nursery today I discovered that they are going out of business on or before June 30 (probably depending upon how quickly they can sell their remaining inventory). Howard Nursery has served Austin since 1912 and will be sorely missed. There will unfortunately be one less option for gardening supplies other than the big box home improvement stores. If you're looking for deals, the remaining merchandise at the nursery is 30% off.
What this means for the remains of Haile's Airport is unknown, but the most likely outcome is that the old hangar will be torn down when the land is sold and plans are drawn up for some new use. So the clock is ticking on your chance to see this piece of Austin aviation (not to mention gardening) history.
I was pleased to find a printed copy of the Haile Airport writeup from AustinExplorer.com on their wall earlier today. Apparently, enough of you came into the store asking about the hangar that they went on the Internet to research how the word had gotten out!
Wings Over Austin, by Walter E. Long
The backside of the hanger showing the dense growth around the structure and the sloping walls on the side. (Photo by
A few painting instructions can still be read inside the hanger. (Photo by
A wide angle view of the interior of the hanger. Note the extensive metal lattice work above. (Photo by
Update- Haile Hanger / Howards Nursery
User: Bobby Schreiber
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Born a Brackenridge baby back in 1975, I'm so proud to call myself a native Austinite. If you weren't born here, but now reside in Greater Austin, I'm still glad you're here and pleased to meet you. Now, for the enthusiasts who search the nooks and crannies of Austin longing for bits of the past that we would all like to see preserved, there is a silver lining along the gray cloud that hovers over the what I now call the Zilker"condo"park, the former home of the Mobile Manor RV Park just south of the river. Alright, with that out of the way, in regards to the Haile Hanger / Howards Nursery site, it is with great pleasure that I'm able to share that this tract of land will be reopened, as a nursery, a complete soil yard, and the hanger and all available space in between will be filled to the brim, wall to wall with reclaimed/salvaged/restored bldg. materials. Folks, a true Austin architectural treasure hunting ground and garden one stop. There are so many improvements on the way to this site, please stop by and see me day after day in hopes that year after year we'll get to know one another and prolong eminent domain or another empty shell of a condo project gone south. I'll be in the hanger or on the grounds working to breathe some life back in the soil starting yesterday and am happy to take a breather from the moderately warm temps we've had hanging around this summer and fill any interested Howards patrons or fellow Austinites ears full of the great things to come. Come by and see a revolution in the making, as literally every bit of the inventory is 100% salvaged or reclaimed and came from the very homes and buildings that USED to be down the road from me or down the road from you. Alright my friends, am looking forward to seeing you there.... better yet, bring the whole family and your neighbors to boot....
Backyard Nursery & Salvage Co.
111 E. KOENIG LN.
Austin, TX 78751
Austin, Cleared for Takeoff: Aviators, Businessmen, and the Growth of an American City (Jack and Doris Smothers Series in Texas History, Life, and Culture)
Kenneth B. Ragsdale
List Price: $30.00
Our price: $21.31
Austin, Texas, entered the aviation age on October 29, 1911, when Calbraith Perry Rodgers landed his Wright EX Flyer in a vacant field near the present-day intersection of Duval and 45th Streets. Some 3,000 excited people rushed out to see the pilot and his plane, much like the hundreds of thousands who mobbed Charles A. Lindbergh and The Spirit of St. Louis
in Paris sixteen years later. Though no one that day in Austin could foresee all the changes that would result from manned flight, people here—as in cities and towns across the United States—realized that a new era was opening, and they greeted it with all-out enthusiasm.