Lens on History: Welcome to Rochester, Minnesota

May 9, 2018 GMT

Northwest Airlines took over the routes of Universal Airways in 1929. At that time, the Rochester Airport was a grass-covered field and the passenger building was at the corner of Third Avenue and 14th Street Southeast. Passengers were driven out to the flying field and then waited in a hangar until they could get on their flight.

In 1939, Northwest served 10,000 passengers a year in Rochester and helped fund a new passenger terminal and space for radio guidance equipment. As other airlines came to Rochester, additions were made for new offices, ticket counters and a restaurant. The public was invited to go out to the airport for Sunday brunch and to watch the airplanes.

Even though they still had to walk in the rain, snow and cold, mid-century travelers were greeted by a truly modern facility and an odd ear of corn water tower.