A trip down memory lane: Old ‘Site 6’ Springboard to Growth

OLD SITE SIX — Gone is the “Limited Facilities” designation for Lake Havasu’s airport. This aerial view tells of the splendor and development of the now fully active airfield. A portion of the 6500-foot landing strip shown against the backdrop of Lake.

Editor’s note: This is the ninth in a weekly republishing of historical newspaper clippings chronicling the birth of Lake Havasu City. These stories will publish on Sunday leading up to the celebration of the city’s 50th anniversary of the development of the Irrigation and Drainage District in September 1963 that began it all. Please enjoy this trip down memory lane. Anyone that would be interested in sharing their memories of Lake Havasu City (or Site Six as the area was known) “before the bridge” is encouraged to contact the editor at editor@havasunews.com. The Today’s News-Herald be publish a commemorative anniversary issue Sept. 29.

Originally published in the Lake Havasu City Herald, May 1965:

Until very recently, air charts for the Southwest showed a field 25 miles north of Parker on the lower Colorado River as “Site Six – Limited Facilities.”

Now, however, things have changed. FAA and Jeppesen charts now show the purple circle of a fully active airfield here, designated “LHU” – Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

This sudden revision of the charts reflects the startling changes that have taken place at Lake Havasu City in the past year. Where an abandoned Air Corps landing strip and a sleepy fishing camp were the only signs of human habitation not long ago, a modern city is now taking shape.

Key Role

It’s a complete city, with industry, commercial and professional enterprises, homes, hotels, and apartments, and many recreational facilities, and the airport has played a key role in its growth.

The Army Air Corps created the landing strips during World War II to serve a rest and rehabilitation center known as Site Six for combat-weary aircrews.

After the war, the field was abandoned. Tumbleweeds took over the airstrip, and desert plants began growing through its cracks and craters.

“The Place”

When Robert P. McCulloch, outboard motor and chain saw industrialist, said “this is the place”, for creation of a new industrialist-resort city, repairing the airfield was first on the agenda.

The crossing runways were smoothed and improved, and the main strip was lengthened to 6,500 feet, paved, and made ready for all aircraft except large jetliners.

Today, the Lake Havasu City Airport is the fourth busiest field in Arizona in annual air traffic volume, exceeded only by Sky Harbor in Phoenix, Tucson Municipal, and Deer Valley with its glider activity.

Sports Activity

Recreation, an important factor in the growth of this “sportsman’s city,” is responsible for a good portion of the air traffic.

Fishermen, water skiers, boating enthusiasts, tourists, and vacationers from all over the West fly in for weekends on picturesque Lake Havasu.

Many of them keep boats and trailers here. They’ve found they can park their airplanes and be out on the lake in a matter of minutes.

The field hums with private aircraft carrying executives and businessmen involved in various aspects of the new city’s 20-year growth program.

It roars to the sound of four-engine Constellations, operated by McCulloch Properties, Inc., flying in prospective property buyers from Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Chicago, Kansas City, and many other cities in the West and Midwest.

The airport has all-night runway lighting and Unicom communication facilities on 122.8 mc.

Tie-Down

There is no charge for landing, parking, or tie-down-space.

Fueling and serving is available all day, with both 80/87 and 10/130 octanes on hand.

An official U.S. Weather Bureau station will soon be established, and a dramatic new passenger terminal building is in the planning stage.

From a scenic standpoint, the Lake Havasu City field is in a class by itself. Located on the city’s peninsula, it is almost completely surrounded by the blue waters of Lake Havasu. Weather problems are almost unknown in this sunshine heart of the nation.

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