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Digital Archives: The Kansas City Municipal Airport


Site of the Kansas City Municipal Airport, circa 1927.
(Kansas City Department of Aviation Archives, Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport)

Immediately north of the "Buck" O'Neil Memorial Bridge (formerly the Broadway Bridge) is Kansas City's first city-owned airfield. Its rise to fame from humble beginnings in 1926 as undeveloped property along the Missouri River and its growth to one of the nation's busiest airports places it in the annals of American aviation history.

Vintage Postcards from the Steve Noll Collection
Click on the image for additional information.

1927 Terminal

From the earliest days of airplanes, Kansas City had numerous privately owned airfields that served early hobbyists and professional pilots carrying mail for the U.S. Post Office.  In 1927, with the land acquired immediately north of the Missouri River in Clay County, Kansas City dedicated its first city-owned airport. Dignitaries, including Charles Lindbergh, attended the 1927 dedication.  By 1929 the airport was open to airline traffic, and the first terminal building had been constructed and was managed by the National Air Transport Service.

1939 Terminal

From its opening in 1929, the airfield grew with air traffic - families and business travelers, commercial operations, and private airplanes. In 1939 a new and larger terminal was built to house the airfield's administration and provide expanded services, including better dining for the air traveler and food catering service to the airlines.

1959 Terminal Expansion

In 1959 the city announced that the terminal facilities at MCI, which had already expanded beyond the 1939 building, into a terminal annex, would expand that annex by adding a North Terminal Building. In addition, a separate restaurant building would be built connecting the two terminals.

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