now grandly called Montgomery Regional Airport, began life in 1943 when the city undertook to build runways in a field six miles to its west. Before that, the city’s municipal airport had been Gunter Field on the East side, but the Army Air Corps took that in 1940 for use as a training facility during WW II. But as soon as work was underway at Dannelly, the Army seized on it to become one of seven auxiliary training airfields serving its Gunter Training Facility.
While ongoing construction is redoing the entrance drive and parking facilities, what you see is the result of a $40-million program which doubled the size of the terminal, provided upper-level boarding, and totally transformed its appearance.
Back in its early days, the 1950s and 60s, Dannelly was well served by Eastern Airlines. Flying was really an elegant way to travel. To be a “stu” on Eastern back then was really a feather in a girl’s cap. Men passengers wore suits, and ladies wore hat and gloves. In 1972 an Eastern flight crashed into the Florida Everglades and the line never recovered. Little Southern Airways offered excellent service after that, but one of its flights crashed into Stone Mountain ca 1976, and it folded. Delta was the natural successor after the Eastern debacle, but after a decade Delta outgrew Montgomery, began to offer third-rate service, and finally threw us over to the feeder lines. Woe is us.