History of Mansfield Municipal Airport (1B9)
A group of Mansfield horsemen bought a farm on Fruit Street to create a racetrack. They named it Mineral Springs Trotting Park after the two springs located on the property. For a while John Holmes owned the popular track and then, until 1912, Frank Brawn. At times more than 40 horses were kept on the grounds.
Next, Mrs. Florence Boltz of South Main Street acquired the property. Her free-spirited daughter Martha loved flying and motorcycles. For Martha’s benefit, Mrs. Boltz hired men to turn the old trotting track into an airport.
The Boltz airport with its grass runway opened July 6, 1928. Kids admired the two private planes based there. One was orange and black, the other silver and blue. Each was an open cockpit biplane with an exhaust pipe projecting above the upper wing, two fat tires and a tail skid.
Ernest Brooks ran the airfield for Mrs. Boltz by during the 1920’s and 30’s. During these years, the airport became a Mecca for aviation pioneers near and far. The airport originally had three runways –all grass. In September of 1943, Mrs. Boltz was awarded the Harry F. Guggenheim award for aviation achievement.
In 1942 the United States Navy acquired the site as an aviation cadet-training field. The Navy flew Boeing Stearman for approximately 18 months. Mansfield was a Satellite Operation for Navy Weymouth Air Station. In 1947 (2 years after the war), the U.S. Government (war assets administration) declares the facility surplus and it is acquired by the town of Mansfield. When acquired from the U.S. Government in 1947 the facility consisted of 2 unpaved runways. In 1959, a metal hanger (still in use today) was built.
The town operated the airport until the late 1970’s. In 1971, what is called the airport’s “modern era” begins with the establishment of a 5-member airport commission to oversee airport operations. The Main Family of Mansfield operated the airport and flight school for years until the late 1970’s. Several operators attempted to run businesses after the Mains, but did not fair well. In December 1982, Powell Aviation leased the airport and operated the airport for the Town of Mansfield as the Airport manager. They also operated a flight school, maintenance shop and provided fuel.
In 1991 , the day to day operation of the airport was subleased to King Aviation Mansfield, Inc. KING continues to manage the airport for the town and operate the flight school. In 1989 the commission’s first big improvement included new runway lights, a new beacon, fencing and navigational aids. Since 1993, the airport commission has significantly improved the facility, including rebuilding the paved runway, ramps and taxiways, new aircraft fueling system and improvements to taxi way lighting. In 2006, the town completed the long awaited expansion with the addition of 2 new taxiways, new ramp for 25 tiedowns, and private T and corporate hangars constructed. Also, a new maintenance and training building was built in 2006. This building houses a new snowplow truck and grass cutting heavy duty tractor.
Today, the airport consisting of 230 acres houses 125 aircraft, has approximately 45,000 operations.