LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 3, 2014) — In celebration of National Aviation History Month, the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) dedicated a new historical marker in front of Fasig-Tipton at 2400 Newtown Pike.
Sponsored by Blue Grass airport, the marker tells two stories, that of Lexington’s second municipal airport, Glengarry Field, which was officially dedicated in 1935 and later re-named Cool Meadow Airport, and that of Fasig-Tipton, North America’s oldest Thoroughbred auction company. The histories of both entities share the same piece of land.
On May 14, 1934, the city of Lexington leased 100 acres on J. Blythe Anderson’s Glengarry Farm on Newtown Pike to build an airport. After commercial traffic was moved to the new Blue Grass Airport in 1946, Cool Meadow served as a private airport until the mid-1950s.
Fasig-Tipton moved its headquarters to Lexington in 1972 and is located on the Cool Meadow site.
More than 2,200 historical markers statewide tell Kentucky’s history. More information about the marker application process, a database of markers and their text and the Explore Kentucky History app, a virtual tour of markers by theme, is at history.ky.gov/markers. KHS administers the Kentucky Historical Marker Program in cooperation with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
The idea for placing an historic marker to commemorate the early airfield grew out of research compiled by Blue Grass Airport for its recent history book, “Blue Grass Airport: An American Aviation Story.” Released in April 2014, this book chronicles the birth of aviation in central Kentucky and the details of the two airfields preceding Blue Grass Airport.
“Lexington’s early aviation history was fascinating,” said Eric Frankl, executive director of Blue Grass Airport. “A veritable ‘Who’s Who’ in aviation came through our early airports and each of them had a role in inspiring Lexingtonians to embrace air travel and understand the impact it would ultimately have on central Kentucky’s economy. As we studied Glengarry Field/Cool Meadow Airport, we learned about Civil War history and the role Fasig-Tipton played in Kentucky’s Thoroughbred industry—all connected geographically.”
Glengarry Field’s story began on May 14, 1934 with the city’s lease of 100 acres on J. Blythe Anderson’s Glengarry Farm on Newtown Pike (current site of Fasig-Tipton). Glengarry’s fields were the location of Union troops encamped during the Civil War and near where Confederate and Union troops skirmished.
Christened as Lexington’s new airport on July 21, 1935, for several years Glengarry was the site of exciting air shows, private flying lessons, aerial sightseeing tours and a base for small local airlines. By 1940, the airport was considered ill equipped to accommodate larger commercial airplanes, and a new site for Lexington’s airport was chosen on Versailles Road. Glengarry Field became known as Cool Meadow and remained in use as a private airport until the mid-1950s.
“We knew something of the history of this land and its connection to aviation in Lexington, but learned so much more working with the airport to apply for the marker,” said Terence Collier, director of marketing for Fasig-Tipon. “We were delighted and honored that Fasig-Tipton’s headquarters were chosen to be the location for an historical marker.”
“It’s ironic that Lexington’s previous airfield was located on the property of one of our key business partners today,” added Frankl. “The airport is proud to support the Thoroughbred sales industry, both through passenger travel and the more than 600 horses transported by air ever year from LEX.”
This new marker is a part of the Kentucky Historical Society’s Historical Marker Program consisting of more than 2,200 markers. The markers provide an opportunity for communities to research, interpret and share their local history in the authentic locations where it happened and to contextualize these stories within the broader state narrative. More information on the historical markers is kept in a complete database as well as in the Explore Kentucky History app, which provides a virtual tour of markers by theme.