Monday, July 13, 2020

The State Line Airport

In June of 1962 the State Line Airport in Delmar, Delaware was dedicated.  The airport was started by several men who had an interest in flying or business.  Edward Wainwright, James H Orrell, Frank Bonsall and Ronald Hawkins were some of them.  Ed Wainwright had built the State Line complex of restaurant and motel on the Maryland side of State street.  The group leased land on the Delaware side of State street for the air strip.

As can be seen in the top photograph (from the Nabb Research Center - Walter Thurston photos) on the left are the planes and the windsock marks the runway.  To the right is what was built of the State Line complex at the time, the Delmarva Convention center had not been built. Across the highway in the crescent shape building was an air conditioning mechanical shop later it would become Deckers and after that Mikes Clearance center,  can't remember who had the gas station or the mobile home sales.  The "dual highway" was not opened until 1954 so there still was little build up of commercial property.

The airport was a success with weekend pilots and flying groups/clubs landing to have conventions or just lunch across the street at the State Line.  Ed Wainwright also had a rental car service so a person could fly in, rent a car and go to a business meeting where ever.   The Delmarva Flying Farmers Association (in 1967, 54 members) of which Ron Hawkins belonged to, flew in often.  The local radio control model plane group (MARKS) used the sir strip to operate their model planes.

In the 1970s gas rationing hit the United States and the number of weekends pilots dropped from 40 a weekend to 8.  In addition the owners of the property wanted to sell part of the land the airstrip was on.  The Town of Delmar made an attempt (1972) to buy the airport but the town taxpayers voted down the proposal.  In 1975 Sussex Trust built their Delmar Branch on the airstrip closest to State Street.  The airport continued to be used to a limit degree in to the 1980s.  In 1991 State Line Plaza opened and finished off the use of the land for an airstrip

There were various companies that tried to make a go of the airstrip such as the Delmarva Flying Service in 1964

another picture of a picture showing the airport the original is from the collection of Jerry Carr.

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