1940 Air Terminal Museum

Houston, United States

1940 Air Terminal Museum


The 1940 Air Terminal Museum is a museum located in Houston, Texas, United States, at William P. Hobby Airport. Collections are housed in the original art deco building which served as the first purpose-built terminal for passenger flight in Houston. The museum currently exhibits several collections focusing on Houston's civil aviation history and is operated by the Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society (HAHS), a recognized Texas 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

The museum is housed in the Houston Municipal Airport Terminal building, a streamline moderne airport terminal built with Public Works Administration (PWA) funds in 1940. The terminal building is among the few surviving examples of classic art deco airport architecture from the 1940s. The terminal served Houston during the years when air travelers dressed in their best and embarked for destinations aboard roaring prop liners like the Douglas DC-3 and the Lockheed Constellation. Designed by architect Joseph Finger (who also designed Houston's City Hall), the terminal was designed to meet Houston's growing role as a center for air commerce in the late 1930s. The terminal served as the only commercial air terminal for Houston until 1954, and was subsequently used by various tenants until 1978. In that year, Hobby Airport's manager James Delong proposed demolishing the 1940 terminal to free up ramp space, but enthusiasts blocked the demolition. The terminal was then unoccupied for nearly 20 years.

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