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New Castle County Airport (Greater Wilmington Airport)
Laid out in farm fields at sleepy Hare's Corner, Delaware's first public airport was just begun when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 (see also Dover Air Force Base, DV18). The U.S. Army leased it for a dollar a year starting in 1942 and hastily built seventy-nine buildings in ninety days, 300 in a year. New Castle Army Air Base housed 5,000 men. From here, bombers and fighters came and went from Europe, and C-54 Skymasters ferried supplies to India. Little, if anything, survives of the wartime facilities. A control tower and terminal were built postwar (1954–1956, W. Ellis Preston). The terminal has lost some of its original touches, but retains colored terrazzo floors and plate-glass windows. A stair with aluminum handrails leads past a big aerial photograph taken in the 1950s of a sparsely developed New Castle County to an observation deck overlooking the runways. Nationwide, few terminals of this vintage survive intact.
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