Thursday, August 5, 2021

Panel to Discuss How Aviation Changed Southlake

On August 15, as part of the “Taking Flight: How aviation changed North Texas and Southlake” exhibit displayed currently in Town Hall, a panel of key figures of Southlake and its history will be exploring the economic impact that aviation has had on the City of Southlake.

The discussion will mainly be over the effects of D/FW International Airport on the city of Southlake, its businesses and residents. Panelists are set to include, Mayor Laura Hill, Former Mayor and current Tarrant County Commissioner, Gary Fickes, former Southlake Economic Development Director, Greg Last, President of Cooper and Stebbins, Frank Bliss, Longtime area residential realtor, Lou Hillman, and D/FW International Airport VP of Commercial Development, John Terrell. The event will take place from 6:30 PM to 8 PM, Monday, Aug. 15, in the City Council chambers, also in Southlake Town Hall.

The panel is free and open to the public.
The exhibit in the lobby of Town Hall and the Southlake Library is open to the public 10 AM – 8 PM,
Monday through Thursday and 10 AM – 6 PM Friday and Saturday. The library is closed on Sunday.

For more information go to www.SouthlakeHistory.org or call Connie Cooley at 817-223-9606.

Exhibit Looks at How Aviation Changed Southlake

For more than 100 years aviation has played a significant role in shaping North Texas. From the 1950s, 12 or more landing strips, most of them grass, allowed pilots young and old to take to the skies over then-rural Southlake.

In the 1960s, Ted and Eleanor Kasper built the Lazy K Acres airfield on their 50 acres. Today, Carrol High School sits on the site.

Since 1964 when the U.S. Civil Aeronautical Board ordered Dallas and Fort Worth city leaders to come up with an agreed upon location for a joint airport, Dallas Fort Worth Regional Airport (today’s D/FW International Airport) has had an impact on the city of Southlake, its businesses and residents.

Those topics will be explored August 15 in a panel discussion that’s part of the exhibit “Taking Flight: How aviation changed North Texas and Southlake” on display in Southlake Town Hall, 1400 Main Street, through Aug. 20.

The exhibit features colorful panels on loan from the Tarrant County Archives that chronicle area-wide aviation events from 1911 into the 21st century. Other panels tell the story of Southlake families and their grass airstrips, popular from 1950s through the 1990s.

Honorary co-chairs are Tarrant County Commissioner Gary Fickes, Southlake Mayor Laura Hill, former Southlake Mayor John Terrell, and longtime Southlake resident and private pilot Zena Rucker.

The Main exhibit is in the lobby of Town hall. Photographs, maps and aviator memorabilia from the Tarrant County Archives are being displayed with the main exhibit as well as in the Southlake Library, on the first floor of Town Hall.

An opening reception and a paper airplane event for children have been held.

A panel discussion on Aug. 1 will focus on the grass airstrips in Southlake and feature stories about a time when it was commonplace to see small airplanes flying around the area. Panelists will include Zena Rucker and her son Dooley Rucker; Kathy Kasper Frank, whose parents owned the Lazy K airstrip where Carroll High School is now; and commercial airline pilots Steve White and David “Rusty” Rhodes, who began flying as teenagers. It will take place from 6:30-8 p.m., in the Southlake Town Hall City Council chamber.

OldDfwAirportResize

This sign, circa 1968, was erected on the Grapevine Prairie as the then-DFW Regional Airport was under construction. Photo courtesy of Dallas-Fort Worth

A second panel discussion, Monday, Aug. 15, explores the impact of D/FW International Airport on the city of Southlake, its businesses and residents. John Terrell, VP of Commercial Developement DFW International Airport and former Southlake mayor will moderate. Panelists will include Southlake Mayor Laura Hill, former Southlake mayor and now Tarrant County Commisioner Gary Fickes, Cooper and Stebbins (developers of Town Square) president Frank Bliss, Greg Last, former Southlake economic development director and longtime Realtor Lou Hillman. It will take place from 6:30-8 p.m., Monday, Aug. 15, City Council chamber, also in Southlake Town Hall.

All events are free and open to the public. The exhibit in the lobby of Town Hall and the Southlake Library will be open to the public 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The library is closed on Sunday.

Watch www.SouthlakeHistory.org for any new information. Questions? Contact Connie Cooley at 817-223-9606.

(The photo featured at the top of the article shows Ted Kasper posing with his son Gary next to their antique Waco UPF-7 airplane. The Kasper family built two grass airstrips on their property in Southlake in the 1960s.)

Southlake Historical Society Seeking Stories About Aviation in Southlake

The Southlake Historical Society is gathering information about the upcoming exhibit TAKING FLIGHT. The exhibit will include panel discussions on private airstrips in Southlake and on the impact of D/FW International Airport on Southlake. Dates and the names of participants will be announced soon.

Did you fly in and out of small airstrips in rural Southlake during the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s or later?

Do you have a story about an airstrip in Southlake, Colleyville, Grapevine, Westlake, Keller, any other nearby?

Come to the Feedstore BBQ, 530 S. White’s Chapel, between 5 and 7 p.m., Monday, May 23, to share your stories with the Southlake Historical Society. You can also mark on a map the location of airstrips you remember.

For more information visit the Southlake Historical Society website.