A commercial airfield, air shows, air races, stunt flying and parachute jumping entertained large crowds from 1928 through 1941. Islip Airport closed in 1945 because other regional airports grew larger and drew more business. Islip Speedway was built on the property.
Dick Milligan - March 18, 1993
The Islip Airport was dedicated on August 4, 1928. In addition to the more than 15,000 people in attendance, Amelia Earhart and trans-Atlantic flier Clarence Chamberlin assisted in the opening ceremonies. Charles Lawrence, President of Islip Airport, Inc., and inventor of the Wright Whirlwind Engine was in charge of the event.
On opening day 30 aircraft participated in the air show, which included air races, flight demonstrations and parachute jumps.
Following opening day, Sunday afternoon flight demonstrations, airplane rides for $5.00 each and parachute jumps continued until the start of World War II in 1941. The field was utilized as a municipal airport for the Town of Islip from 1928 until 1946 when the Airport became the site of the Islip Speedway. The location is now occupied by Interconnection Technology, Metpath Company and Silver Lake Cookie Co., Inc.
The idea of the Islip Airport, Inc., Long Island’s first municipal landing field, was conceived by the Islip Chamber of Commerce and a committee from the Chamber consisting of Warren Haff, George Hubbs and Donald Hagerty, all of who had seen service in the air service in World War 1. In addition, almost all Islip business people and firms strongly supported the Islip Airport.
One of the reasons this site was chosen is that the Islip Airport was Long Island's first municipal landing field. In addition, it was a project supported by the 1928 Chamber of Commerce and many of the townspeople of Islip during the 1920's and 1930's.
During World War II the field was not active but radio components were fabricated there for use by the armed forces.
The Islip Airport building was reached by turning west off Islip Avenue onto Beech Street. This was confirmed in discussions with Jane Theis of Brightwaters, May 1993. Her father was Airport Manager in the 1930's and she visited and flew with him from the field many times during that period. He is (was) still alive and in his 90's and living in Connecticut. A photo of the Airport building with Mr. Theis and Mayor Walker of Brightwaters was provided to us and is shown here. We see Mayor Walker and Pilot William Thies with his Travelaire 6000B.
Also accumulated by the Society are copies of the 1930 Airway Bulletin showing the location. We have a zoning map which includes the Islip Airport, and an aerial photo of the location. While the above do not show Beech Street by name, I have in my possession a large aerial photo taken in 1972 of the Islip Speedway that shows Beech Street as the approach to the Airport. The old entrance to the Airport was located at the west end of Beech Street.