Flashback Friday: Visual History of O'Hare International Airport

Adam Snider
May 25, 2018

January 1948 master plan for Chicago Orchard (Douglas) Airport
(by Ralph H. Burke via Northwestern University Transportation Library)



The first United Airlines plane crossing a new runway at the overhead pass in 1966
(photo by Mike Rotunno)
This week's Flashback Friday comes courtesy of the Chicago Tribune, which has a fascinating pictorial history of O'Hare International Airport as it embarks upon the largest terminal renovation project in the airport's 73-year history.

"Major changes have been a constant at O'Hare, from when construction equipment first tore up Orchard Place farmland to build a military aircraft assembly plant here in the early 1940s to the recent modernization plan's East-West runways which have cleared the way for the new terminal work," the Tribune writes.

The Tribune's visual history starts on July 25, 1942, with the Douglas Aircraft Company announcing plans to construct an assembly plant on 1,347 acres at Orchard Place, and continues all the way through March 15, 2018, with the approval of an $8.5 billion project that will include "a state-of-the-art global terminal, dozens of new gates and several additional concourses."

We've selected a few of our favorite pictures to feature in this post, but do yourself a favor and click through for the full timeline and oodles of pictures, maps and newspaper clippings about the many changes that have happened at ORD over the past seven decades.

Want to see your airport featured on the AAAE Blog? Send your historic airport pictures or videos to Adam so we can celebrate aviation's past as we look to the future.