Teterboro Airport, Teterboro New Jersey
Teterboro is the oldest operating airport in the New York & New Jersey metropolitan area. Walter C. Teter acquired the property in 1917. During World War I, North American Aviation operated a manufacturing plant on the site. After the war, the airport served as a base of operations for Anthony Fokker, the Dutch aircraft designer. The first flight from the present airport site was made in 1919. During World War II, the Army and Air Force operated the airport. The Port Authority purchased it on April 1, 1949 from Fred L. Wehran, a private owner and later leased it to Pan Am World Airways, and then to its successor organization, Johnson Controls, for 30 years until December 1, 2000, when the Port Authority assumed full responsibility for the operation of Teterboro.
Since the 1950s, Teterboro Airport has been creating large economic benefits and job opportunities in the local community. Since 1970, the Port Authority has invested $116.6 million dollars to upgrade the airport's facilities and open new areas of service to the aviation community.
The airport embraces its own history and that of the entire aviation industry with the inclusion of the Aviation Hall of Fame & Museum of NJ on the airport grounds. Founded in 1972, it is the first state aviation hall of fame in the nation, honoring the men and women who brought outstanding aeronautical achievements to the state.
Teterboro takes its name from Walter C. Teter, a New York investment banker, who bought hundreds of acres of swamp in the early 1900's with the notion of building a racetrack. The town of Teterboro was created by special legislation in 1917 by annexing sections of three towns. But when the state Racing Commission failed to approve the plan, Mr. Teter sold half of the property to an aircraft corporation, which built the facility. The Port Authority took control of the airport in 1949, and over the next six years acquired about 60 houses and farms in Moonachie and Hasbrouck Heights to expand it.
Over the years the suburban airport and its occasional prop-driven planes became a fixture in the shadow of Manhattan. But as it changed -- from the early days of aviation when Anthony Fokker, the Dutch aircraft designer, set up shop and luminaries like Floyd Bennet and Amelia Earhart tested planes overhead -- so, too, did feelings about the airport, from romantic curiosity to open hostility. "As kids, we would bike from Rutherford to Teterboro, and we'd go into the old control tower and watch Art Linkletter land his plane," said Carol Skiba, a legal secretary and member of the coalition. "It was cool. But not now."