Easton Airport Celebrates 80th Anniversary

Talbot County’s Easton Airport celebrated 80 years of service to the Eastern Shore community on Friday, July 28, 2023.

Representatives from the Talbot County Government, Town of Easton, State Delegation, Congressional Delegation, Maryland Department of Commerce, Maryland Aviation Administration, and Airport Advisory Board were in attendance, happy to present certificates of recognition, citations and resolutions, and official flags to honor the occasion.

To open the ceremony, Micah Risher, Easton Airport Manager, provided an introduction and a brief history of the Airport.

Originally constructed for use during WWII in 1942 by the military, the airport provided a front line of defense for the East Coast. It also housed German POWs during that time. According to records, the largest parcel (almost 279 acres) was purchased from Mary F. Clough for a sum of $22,500 on March 14, 1942. Adjusted for inflation, the parcel would roughly cost $421,162 today.

Operations at the airport officially began in 1943. Over the years, the airport had notable visitors including Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor, former president Richard Nixon, John Denver, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld.

Today, the airport is just over 602 acres. The original Quonset hanger remains standing.

“We have been the gateway to the Eastern Shore for many years. This airport has opened Talbot County up to the rest of the world. It has brought us visitors, who became residents, and have become volunteers and philanthropists in our community,” mentioned Risher.

“It’s a robust economic engine, that provides over 500 jobs and generates $50 million of revenue annually…Our strength has been our diversity in the ability to change with the times. When airliners were no longer viable here, the pivot was made to focus on business charters. And we’ve always been a haven for recreational aviators, adding hangers to support that recreational community.”

“Reaching 80 years is a sign that a business has reached past the contributions of a few people and has become a true legacy that spans generations,” mentioned Council Vice President Pete Lesher in his remarks. “The Airport is one of the busiest general aviation airports in the State, and is a staple in our community. It serves as a significant economic driver and provides an attractive port for aviation enthusiasts, corporate pilots, and local businesses.”

The airport supports the next generation of aviators through their Aviation Career Education (ACE) program, flight simulation and training, tours of the Airport, and the annual event, Airport Day which draws over 5,000 visitors each year.

The airport also contributes to public health and safety. The Maryland State Police use the airport as a base for their helicopter, Trooper 6. Having Trooper 6 at the airport allows for rapid response for patients to hospitals, or transportation to facilities that are not otherwise available on the Eastern Shore.

This October, the airport will break ground on the Airfield Modernization Project (Projects – Easton Airport) which according to Risher, will “lay the foundation for the next 80 years”.

Over the course of the project, 80% of the airfield will be rebuilt, with 1,000 feet safety areas on either end of the runway, new approach lighting, instrument landing systems, signage, and markings. Environment improvements will include new drainage systems and wetlands area, reduced impervious surfaces, storm water management, reduction of energy usage by 30%. The former Black and Decker location will transition into a well landscaped greenspace.

Following the remarks from Risher and the County Council, distinguished guests provided recognition. The Town of Easton Mayor Megan Cook presented a citation; Maryland State Senator Johnny Mautz presented a House Citation, Senate Resolution, and Maryland Flag on behalf of the Talbot County Delegation; Nancy LaJoice provided a certificate of recognition from the Maryland Department of Commerce on behalf of Secretary Kevin Anderson; Keith Graffius provided an American Flag that was flown at the U.S. Capitol on behalf of House Representative Andy Harris; and Alyssa Hastings presented two citations on behalf of Senator Cardin and Senator Van Hollen.

Easton Airport Advisory Board President Jack Pettit and former Easton Airport Manager Mike Henry provided some brief words before the ceremony concluded with an unveiling of artwork to honor the 80th Year Anniversary.

Created by Bay Imprint, the artwork honors the airport with a homage to the past and images of the future. Banners of the art will hang in downtown Easton to celebrate the anniversary.

For general inquiries about the Easton Airport, reach out the Easton Airport Office at 410-770-8055.

See captions and more photos from this event here.

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