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City of Houston Aviation Department Records

Identifier: RG A 0005

Scope and Contents

This collection covers a range of activities at Houston Municipal Airport, later Hobby Airport, from 1937-1981. There are also files on the concept and development of Houston Intercontinental Airport, which was intended to replace Houston Municipal Airport. Topics covered range from dealings with airlines to counts of landings, departures and passenger flow to accident reports. Materials in this collection are primarily correspondence and inter-office correspondence, and include annual reports, blueprints/site plans, bond funds, brochures, budgets, consultant surveys, City Council of Houston motions, Civil Aeronautics Board petitions, disaster plans, drainage plans, employment records, engineering studies, Federal Aviation Agency Technical Standard Orders, instructions, inventories, invoices, leases, magazine articles, manuals, navigation charts, newsletters, notes, organization charts, parking citations, payroll records, pension plan amendments, personnel studies, photographs, policy statements, procedures, purchase orders, quotes, receipts, reports, requests for federal disaster aid, rules, schedules, specifications, spreadsheets, surveys, telegrams, telephone directory, and traffic reports.


  • 1937-1981

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from RG A 0005 City of Houston Aviation Department Records must be obtained from the Houston Metropolitan Research Center or the appropriate copyright holder.

Historical Note

The collection begins during the Great Depression, 1937, when there was little funding for the relative luxury of airports. Four years later, the country entered World War II and the airplane became the weapon of choice for waging war. The post-War result was tens of thousands of trained pilots, a nation with growing affluence, and greatly advanced aeronautical technology including radar, high octane gasoline, improved instruments and greater overall reliability of aircraft. Aircraft had been improved to the point that wingspans exceeded the length of the original Wright brothers’ flight. All of these factors increased the demand and supply of air travel by commercial carrier. This led to the increase of airline traffic and the need for airports that could handle the increased volume of air traffic.

The technological thrust of World War II, with the catalyst of the Korean conflict, led to the development of jet-propelled aircraft for the military, which spawned jet-propelled aircraft for civilian travel just a few years later. These aircraft required longer and stronger runways and larger terminals and concourses because of the increased passenger loads that jets could carry. An unfortunate byproduct was a higher level of noise, and the only way of dealing with noise in the late 1960s was to build airports far away from population centers. Again, the forces of technology and commercial requirements demanded larger and better-equipped airports. This time a new airport, Houston Intercontinental Airport, (now George Bush Intercontinental Airport) was constructed. Supposedly, Houston Municipal Airport, later Hobby Airport, would be replaced. Because of its proximity to downtown Houston and Galveston, Hobby Airport recovered and became a busy airport again. While this record group ends in 1981, the demand for greater airport capabilities did not.


38.5 Linear Feet (37 record storage boxes, 3 document storage boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection, through Box 33, is arranged in chronological order, with subjects arranged in alphabetical order within each year. Boxes 34 – 39 are more subject-specific, such as blueprints, communications regarding the proposed Houston Intercontinental Airport, and selected municipal reports. Their contents are listed in the container list at the end of this finding aid.

Acquisition Information

The Aviation Department of the City of Houston donated the collection on Oct. 1, 1976. An unknown party donated newsletters from 1980-1981.

Processing Information

Processed by Ron Drees, November 2005.

City of Houston Aviation Department Records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Houston History Research Center Repository


African American History Research Center
Houston Public Library
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
Houston History Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002