Van, Thanks for the article. Houston International Airport was renamed William P. Hobby airport in 1967. Delta gained access to the
airport in 1953 when they acquired Chicago & Southern who had been flying into Houston since 1950.
Different names for Hobby Airport:
1937 Houston Municipal Airport
1938 Howard R. Hughes Airport (changed back to Houston Municipal because Hughes was still alive and regulations did not allow
for federal improvement funds for airport named after a living person)
1954 Houston International Airport
1967 William P. Hobby Airport
Houston International Airport Dedicated
It was on these two days in October 30-31, 1954, that Houston produced a gala event to celebrate the new Houston International Airport terminal building. The main problem was that the building was not yet open for passengers! – and it wouldn’t be for another six months! The existing Air Terminal building, built in 1940, continued to strain against high passenger volume and a lack of parking space.
Even at that the City held a grand party with airliners on display, the Blue Angels headlining an air show and an open house for the public. Mayor Roy Hofheinz gave a speech and a ribbon was cut.
Delays leading to the opening had been significant even as construction started in 1951. The media was unhappy, the City Council was unhappy, the citizens were unhappy, the airlines were unhappy. Steel shortages early in the program threw the initial schedules off and fights with the federal government over segregation delayed the opening at the end. Since the building was federally funded there arose questions about whether segregated facilities would be included – as mandated by State law at the time. The middle fifties were roiling with segregation problems in the South and Houston’s new airport was no exception.
In the end the US government did not withhold funds and the segregated facilities were installed only to be abandoned shortly thereafter as the State law was invalidated.
The Houston International Airport terminal building finally opened in April of 1955.