On July 20th, Easton Airport celebrates it’s 75th year with the unveiling of a permanent exhibit in the terminal documenting the history of Talbot County Airports. Check out the display when you fly in and learn about “Early Talbot County Airports”.
TRED AVON AIRPORT
The very first ‘airport’ in Talbot County was probably Trippe Creek. In 1921, a former WWI flyer, Capt. Ewing Easter, flew a scheduled daily flight to and from Baltimore using a seaplane, landing and taking off from the creek.
The first airport, some called it a landing site or air field, was established in 1928 at Ratcliffe Manor, just southwest of Easton on the Tred Avon River. It was listed in early aviation directories as Tred Avon Airport and served as a center for aviation on the Eastern Shore.
The Hathaway brothers, Stephen and Malcolm, created the airfield on their family estate to serve as a base for their new aviation business, the Tred Avon Flying Service. They offered charter flights, pilot training, aerial photography, fuel, and repairs. The runways were on pastureland consisting of two sod landing strips about 1,700 and 1,900 feet long. The “L” shaped airfield also had three hangars. The airfield was quite modest and had its fair share of challenging features, like a line of wire-bearing poles bordering the longer landing strip.
However, large crowds were attracted to the site on weekends to watch the Hathaways and others perform death-defying stunts such as standing on the wings of aircraft during flight. They made money by taking folks for short rides after the show. But the airport was short-lived, as Malcolm moved his business to Webb Airport sometime in 1932.
Today, the airfield is part of the housing development, Ratcliffe Farms, on the St. Michaels Road, about one-half mile from the Easton by-pass. 1.
- Preston, Edmund, Lanman, Barry A, & Breihan, John R. Maryland Aloft: A Celebration ofAviation, Airfields, and Aerospace. Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 2003.