Houston Public Library, Houston Metropolitan Research Center

City of Houston Aviation Department Collection RG.A.0005

Descriptive Summary

Creator City of Houston Aviation Department
Title: City of Houston Aviation Department Collection
Dates: 1937-1981
Identification: RG.A.0005
Quantity: 38.2 Linear feet, 37 record storage boxes, 3 document storage boxes
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library

Historical Note

The collection begins during the Great Depression, 1937, when there was little funding for the relative luxury of airports. Four years later, the country entered World War II and the airplane became the weapon of choice for waging war. The post-War result was tens of thousands of trained pilots, a nation with growing affluence, and greatly advanced aeronautical technology including radar, high octane gasoline, improved instruments and greater overall reliability of aircraft. Aircraft had been improved to the point that wingspans exceeded the length of the original Wright brothers’ flight. All of these factors increased the demand and supply of air travel by commercial carrier. This led to the increase of airline traffic and the need for airports that could handle the increased volume of air traffic.

The technological thrust of World War II, with the catalyst of the Korean conflict, led to the development of jet-propelled aircraft for the military, which spawned jet-propelled aircraft for civilian travel just a few years later. These aircraft required longer and stronger runways and larger terminals and concourses because of the increased passenger loads that jets could carry. An unfortunate byproduct was a higher level of noise, and the only way of dealing with noise in the late 1960s was to build airports far away from population centers. Again, the forces of technology and commercial requirements demanded larger and better-equipped airports. This time a new airport, Houston Intercontinental Airport, (now George Bush Intercontinental Airport) was constructed. Supposedly, Houston Municipal Airport, later Hobby Airport, would be replaced. Because of its proximity to downtown Houston and Galveston, Hobby Airport recovered and became a busy airport again. While this record group ends in 1981, the demand for greater airport capabilities did not.

Scope and Contents

This collection covers a range of activities at Houston Municipal Airport, later Hobby Airport, from 1937-1981. There are also files on the concept and development of Houston Intercontinental Airport, which was intended to replace Houston Municipal Airport. Topics covered range from dealings with airlines to counts of landings, departures and passenger flow to accident reports. Materials in this collection are primarily correspondence and inter-office correspondence, and include annual reports, blueprints/site plans, bond funds, brochures, budgets, consultant surveys, City Council of Houston motions, Civil Aeronautics Board petitions, disaster plans, drainage plans, employment records, engineering studies, Federal Aviation Agency Technical Standard Orders, instructions, inventories, invoices, leases, magazine articles, manuals, navigation charts, newsletters, notes, organization charts, parking citations, payroll records, pension plan amendments, personnel studies, photographs, policy statements, procedures, purchase orders, quotes, receipts, reports, requests for federal disaster aid, rules, schedules, specifications, spreadsheets, surveys, telegrams, telephone directory, and traffic reports.



The collection, through Box 33, is arranged in chronological order, with subjects arranged in alphabetical order within each year. Boxes 34 – 39 are more subject-specific, such as blueprints, communications regarding the proposed Houston Intercontinental Airport, and selected municipal reports. Their contents are listed in the container list at the end of this finding aid.


Access Restrictions


Use Restrictions


Index Terms

Aeronautics, Commercial--Freight--Texas--Houston
Airport authorities--Texas--Houston
Airport buildings--Texas--Houston
Airport drainage--Texas--Houston
Airport Managers Council (Houston, Tex.)
Airport noise--Texas--Houston
Airport Operators Council (Houston, Tex.)
Airport police--Texas--Houston
Airport zoning--Texas--Houston
Airports--Communication Systems--Texas--Houston
Airports--Landscape architecture--Texas--Houston
American Association of Airport Executives. Texas Chapter
Braniff Airways
Brown Express Aviation
Eastern Air Lines, inc.
Government liability--Texas--Houston
Gulf Oil Corporation
Houston (Tex.). Aviation Dept.
Houston (Tex.). City Council
Houston (Tex.). City Council. Aviation Committee
Houston (Tex.). Dept. of Public Works and Engineering
Houston (Tex.). Legal Dept.
Houston (Tex.). Purchasing Dept.
Houston Airport Terminal Association
Houston Chamber of Commerce
Houston Intercontinental Airport
Houston-Galveston Area Council
Humble Oil and Refining Company (Incorporated in Tex.)
Labor unions--Texas--Houston
Letting of contracts--Texas--Houston
Mid Continent Airlines
Municipal government--Texas--Houston
Ordinances, Municipal--Texas--Houston
Pan American World Airways, Inc.
Pioneer Air Lines
Public utilities--Texas--Houston
Runways (Aeronautics)--Texas--Houston
United States. Civil Aeronautics Administration
United States. Dept. of Commerce
United States. Dept. of the Treasury
United States. Federal Aviation Administration

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

City of Houston Aviation Department Collection. Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library.

Acquisition Information

The Aviation Department of the City of Houston donated the collection on Oct. 1, 1976. An unknown party donated newsletters from 1980-1981.

Processing Information

Processed by: Ron Drees, November 2005.

Detailed Description of the Collection

1 General Files, 1937-1943

2 General Files, 1940-1945

3 General Files, 1941-1947

4 General Files, 1943-1946

5 General Files, 1944-1947

6 General Files, 1947-1948

7 General Files, 1948-1949

8 General Files, 1950

9 General Files, 1951

10 General Files, 1951-1952

11 General Files, 1951-1953

12 General Files, 1953

13 General Files, 1954

14 General Files, 1954-1955

15 General Files, 1955

16 General Files, 1956

17 General Files, 1956-1957

18 General Files, 1957-1958

19 General Files, 1958-1959

20 General Files, 1959

21 General Files, 1959-1960

22 General Files, 1960

23 General Files, 1960-1961

24 General Files, 1961-1962

25 General Files, 1962

26 General Files, 1962-1963

27 General Files, 1963-1964

28 General Files, 1964-1966

29 General Files, 1966

30 General Files, 1966-1967

31 General Files, 1967-1968

32 General Files, 1948-1956

32a General Files, 1957-1966

33 General Files, 1939-1959

34 Bond fund, Expansion blue prints, 1963

35 Blueprints, 1942-1962

36 Blueprints, plans, correspondence, 1946-1967

37 Houston Intercontinental Airport plans, correspondence, leases, 1961-1968

38 Progress reports, 1943-1968

39 Houston Municipal Airport pamphlets, 1969-1971