International Airport began in 1926 with an airport committee
appointed by Mayor Snively. The decision makers at that time
where Nolte, Germaine, Horwitz, Wilson, and Scott. There task
was to decide where to locate the municipal airport. The Work
Farm site prevailed and construction began.
municipal airport was formally dedicated on September 13-14,
1930 and was christened the Williamson-Johnson Municipal
Airport. The name memorialized two important Duluth aviators.
Harvey Francis Williamson Jr. was a pilot in the Naval Air
Reserves and Conrad Gilbert Johnson was Duluth’s first pilot
killed in World War I. In an effort to be progressive, in 1961,
the Duluth Airport Authority renamed the Williamson-Johnson
Municipal Airport, the Duluth International Airport.
of Duluth were selected for the first Airport Authority Board in
November, 1939. They were John J. Woodfill, Halvar Haugen,
Howard Bush, George Welles, and Harold Lindberg. The first
airport manager was Earl "Ole" Olson. Today’s board
is Nancy Norr, John Eagleton, Robert Pearson, Conrad Firling,
Michael Lundstrom, Roy Niemi, and Roger Wedin. Brian Ryks is the
Executive Director. Their role is to take care of our city
asset, to provide safe, secure, progressive air transportation
facilities to the public, and to promote economic growth.
Within the last
79 years, aviation has changed from flying boats and water
runways to state of the art military aircraft and GPS instrument
approachs. Our airport has evolved as has aviation. Duluth
International is home to the 148th Air National Guard, Cirrus
Aircraft, Monaco Air, Lake Superior College Center for Advanced
Aviation, Federal Express, a host of small businesses, and
hangars for area pilots.
International Airport is a community of our citizens working
every day, building aircraft, maintaining aircraft, learning to
fly, guarding and defending our country, and flying the public
to their destinations.
In the next
year, we will watch our tax dollars at work building a new
terminal for the future. As a public building, the terminal will
be a reflection our community and the investments made by its
This is a time
to be proud of our aviation community and a time to anticipate
the future goals of students at Lake Superior College Center for
Duluth by road, travelers crest Thompson Hill. Arriving by sea,
the Aerial Lift Bridge raises its span and by rail, the Depot
stands proud. As part of the transportation infrastructure,
Duluth International Airport is our gateway by air and our
gateway to the sky.
Birthday Duluth International Airport.
Airways Ford Tri-Motor at Duluth, ca.1930