Phase I: The North Wing

General Contractor - Tribble & Stephens

Architect - Howard Hill

Engineer - Richard Burr

The first phase of the 1940 Air Terminal Museum included the initial restoration of the North Wing of the Houston Municipal Air Terminal.

Right: The floorplan for the North Wing of the 1940 Air Terminal Museum. The Entry and Gift Shop are located at the site of the original Braniff and Eastern Airlines ticket counters. Aviation photographs, art and memorabilia are displayed in the Hall of Flight. The Galleries house exhibits of the museum's growing collection of aviation artifacts. The Weather Bureau offer visitors an educational overview of the historical relationship between weather and aviation. The Starliner Theater showcases video presentations about the history of flight as well as provides meeting and exhibit space.

The North Wing of the Terminal currently houses the museum's rapidly growing collection and gift shop and serves as the museum's base of operations while completing fundraising and restoration of the rest of the building.

The first phase of restoration is complete. The 1940 Air Terminal Museum opened to the public in January 2004 and is staffed by volunteer docents and guides.

Below: The current floor plan for the entire first floor of the 1940 Air Terminal Museum. Phase I restored the North Wing (on the left), and Phase II will complete the Atrium (center) and the South Wing (on the right) as well as the rest of the building.

Phase I is completed!

Phase I of the effort to save the 1940 Air Terminal was completed in January, 2004 with the opening of the North Wing to the public. It was an exciting and challenging process documented below.


December 11, 2003 - The North Wing is almost finished!

The Ticket Counter Wall that separates the North Wing from the Atrium looks amazing! Through the large windows, the view of the Atrium's polished marble floor is breathtaking. Museum visitors will truly feel as if they have been transported back to 1940 as they stand at the recreated Braniff and Eastern Airways ticket counters and experience the Golden Age of Flight!

November 14, 2003 - Construction continues

with the connection of utilites, finishing of interior doorways and openings, and construction of new restrooms. The Tribble & Stephens construction crew is working quickly to ensure that the North Wing is ready for the December 17 Centennial of Flight Celebration and Museum Sneak Preview.

October 10, 2003 - The North and South Wings are newly roofed and the entire building is weather-tight.

Trenches have been dug for the new connection of utilities to this long-vacant building. Work has begun on the Ticket Counter Wall that will separate the North Wing from the Atrium.

The terra cotta paving of the North Wing Observation Deck.

September 24, 2003 - Roofing repairs are under way.

This week, workers began removing the terra cotta tiles that have paved the floor of the North Wing Observation Deck for the past sixty-four years. Many of the tiles are intact and will be saved and reused later on in the restoration. The terra cotta tiles were used to pave both the North and South Wing Observation Decks as well as the narrow catwalk around the control tower cab.Painters have begun applying the final coat of paint to the building's exterior. The green patina of the building's copper roofing contrasts beautifully with the new pale white paint, transporting the Houston Municipal Air Terminal back in time to its original art deco splendor.

The South Wing of the 1940 Air Terminal.

September 17, 2003 - Exterior painting continues. This week, painters continued repairing the building's stucco plaster exterior and have painted a primer coat on the entire building. For the first time in many years, the building is white and more closely resembles its original appearance. Workers are replacing broken window panes and cleaning and repainting rusted window frames. Soon, the building will weatherproof and ready for more interior restoration.

Painters apply color swatches to the Houston Municipal Airport Terminal.

September 10, 2003

Exterior painting has begun! This week, workers are removing the old exterior paint from the Houston Municipal Airport Terminal and painting test patches of the new paint color options. Historial research and oral histories indicate that the original color of the entire building was a pale white. Accent colors such as salmon and tan were added during the various remodeling that took place over the years. The actual tint specification is unknown, so painters are preparing several small areas that will be used to make the final determination.

August & September, 2003 - The restoration continues.

As the terminal building awaits the next step of restoration and refurbishment, plans have been submitted to various agencies for approval and permit applications are in the works. Bright red obstruction lights have been installed on the perimeter fence in accordance with the Houston Airport System's requirements.

The Stone Floor in the Atrium Comes Back to Life!

Although the limestone and granite floor in the Atrium of the Houston Municipal Airport Terminal was covered with dirt and debris for over 30 years, it is in remarkably good condition. The Atrium is scheduled to be restored and opened to the public during Phase II of the construction and restoration project. To give us a preview of what the entire floor would look like once it was restored, a small section was cleaned and polished. Prior to the museum's opening in January 2004, the entire floor was cleaned and polished. Now, it sparkles and looks spectacular!

A cleaned and polished section of the Atrium's stone floor.  A cleaned and polished section of the Atrium's marble floor.  The Atrium Floor of the 1940 Air Terminal Museum


Restoration of the North Wing included extensive window repairs.

Although Phase 1 of the restoration focused primarily on the rehabilitation of the North Wing and opening the museum to the public, we also stabilized and preserved as much of the rest of the Houston Municipal Airport Terminal as possible for later restoration. Over the years, leaks in the roof and windows have allowed water to seep into the building and accelerate its deterioration. To halt the process, we repaired the entire roof and sealed the windows. Fortunately, most of the window panes were intact and unbroken. Rather than removing and replacing the windows, the construction team explored an innovative approach of carefully sealing and repainting each pane.

A window prior to restoration.  A window after sealing and painting.

Left (above and below): Most of the window frames were leaky and rusted.

Right (above and below): Sealing and repainting puts a fresh face on windows that were originally installed in 1940.

A window prior to restoration.  A window after sealing and painting.


The North Wing of the 1940 Air Terminal Museum

July 26, 2003

Restoration of the North Wing continues with window repairs! Although Phase 1 of the restoration is focused primarily on the the rehabilitation of the North Wing and opening the museum to the public, we are also working to preserve as much of the rest of the Houston Municipal Airport Terminal as possible for later restoration. Over the years, leaks in the roof and windows have allowed water to seep into the building and accelerate its deterioration. To halt the process, we are working to repair the entire roof and seal the windows. Fortunately, most of the window panes are intact and unbroken. Rather than removing and replacing the windows, the construction team is exploring an innovative approach of carefully sealing and repainting each pane. This process has been tested on one set of windows and the results are encouraging.

July 18, 2003

Restoration of the North Wing of the 1940 Air Terminal Museum continues with repairs to the roof. The original roof, which serves as the site of the North Wing Observation Deck, is paved with decorative red tiles. Although most of the tiles are in good condition, the material under the tiles that was used to waterproof the roof has deteriorated. We would like to carefully remove and save as many of the original tiles as possible, install a new waterproof membrane, and reinstall the tiles to restore the Observation Deck as nearly as possible to its original glory.

  

July 11, 2003

Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing plans for the first phase of restoration of the 1940 Air Terminal have been submitted to the Houston Airport System for approval. Additionally, roof repairs are scheduled to begin within the next week or two. As construction continues, we are working to prepare the museum's collection of aviation artifacts and aircraft for exhibition.

The Eastern Airlines ticket counter area before asbestos abatement.  The Eastern Airlines ticket counter area after asbestos abatement.

The Eastern Airlines ticket counter area before and after asbestos abatement

Doorways and windows that had been framed in, painted or plastered over have been removed to reveal the 1940 Air Terminal's unique architectural character.

July 7, 2003

Asbestos abatement of the North Wing is finished! See the photos...

July 5, 2003

Asbestos abatement of the North Wing is almost finished! The asbestos abatement crew is working through the weekend to finish the job as quickly as possible. They are on track to complete the asbestos removal within the next couple of days.

July 3, 2003

Asbestos abatement continues! The asbestos abatement crew is making good progress on the North Wing. They plan to finish the job within the next few days. As they remove plaster, panelling, and wall board, they are uncovering the basic structural elements of the building. Several of the walls are now just bare brick block, while others are simply metal rebar. The terminal's main two-story atrium is filled with equipment, old furniture, and other construction odds and ends. As the asbestos abatement is finished, architect Howard Hill and engineer Richard Burr work to finalize the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing plans for the next phase of construction and restoration.

June 30, 2003

Asbestos abatement began today! The asbestos abatement crew began removing asbestos from the North Wing of the 1940 Air Terminal today. Trace amounts of asbestos have been found in the plaster. The asbestos crew will remove the plaster and expose the underlying brick walls.

June 30, 2003 - Great news! Today, we received a letter of confirmation that the IRS has made the Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society's 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status permanent! The Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society was originally granted 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service in December, 1999. New 501(c)(3) organizations are placed on a three-year advance ruling probationary period, after which the IRS determines whether to make the tax-exempt status permanent. Obtaining permanent 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status is extremely important to us and directly impacts our fundraising efforts for the 1940 Air Terminal Museum.

IRS 501(c)(3) Confirmation Letter

June 26, 2003

The fence is finished! The 1940 Air Terminal Museum's property is now entirely self-contained and accessible to our construction crews. Asbestos abatement is scheduled to begin next week. Once the asbestos is removed and the building is cleaned, the next step is the construction and installation of new electrical, water, sewer, and telephone service to the building. See the photos...

June 23, 2003

The leadership of the Houston Airport System was briefed on the 1940 Air Terminal Museum progress and toured the Terminal this morning. The delegation included: Richard Vacar, Director, Houston Airport System; Thomas Bartlett, Deputy Director, Operations Services; Ernie DeSoto, Manager, Media Relations; Mark Mancuso, Deputy Directory, Public Safety; Eric Potts, Deputy Director, Planning, Design and Construction; and Meg Lonero, Manager, William P. Hobby Airport.

June 21, 2003

New additions to the museum's photograph collection arrive almost daily. We recently received some of the best photos we have seen of the inside of the Houston Municipal Air Terminal in its day from Mrs. Joy Parker and her family. Mrs. Parker worked as an Eastern Airlines ticket agent in the Terminal from 1943 through 1947.

Photos:

The Eastern ticket counter in the lobby as it appeared in the 1940's.

The Eastern ticket counter in the 1940's

The same space in 2003.

The Houston Municipal Airport Terminal lobby, 06/19/03

The ticket counter space on August 16, 2008

The Houston Municipal Airport Terminal lobby, 06/19/03

The ticket counter space on September 5, 2010

The Houston Municipal Airport Terminal lobby, 06/19/03

June 19, 2003

The fence is going up! Fence posts were placed in the ground today and the construction crew has begun to cement them in place. The fence should be finished by the middle of next week. Once finished, asbestos abatement in the North Wing will begin.

June 18, 2003

Construction meeting - Tribble & Stephens hosted the third construction meeting today to review mechanical, electrical, and plumbing drawings prior to their submission for City of Houston approval. Also, the group brainstormed about long-range plans for the museum and its facilities.

June 16, 2003

We are on our way! The first step toward restoration of the 1940 Air Terminal building is the construction of the fence that will separate the site from the Houston Aiport System. Workers have begun drilling fence post holes in the concrete parking area. Once the fence is complete, we can begin the asbestos abatement of the North Wing.

March, 2003

The building is ours! City Council has approved the lease of the Houston Municipal Air Terminal building to the Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society. We can now move forward with restoration of the North Wing!

8325 Travelair Street, Houston, Texas 77061 (713) 454-1940
© Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society - A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization