HISTORY OF REID HILLVIEW
WELCOME TO REID HILLVIEW AIRPORT
Long before Orville and Wilbur's historic flight, the Reid name was carried over the Sierras as a member of the original Donner Party. Eventually, its origin is traced to one of the first new-borns among a group of settlers at Sutter Fort in modern-day California. The Reid name continued to be passed on, reaching two brothers, who had been captured by the aviation bug, and had aspirations of one day constructing and owning their own airport.
The Reid Hillview airport's history began long ago as a lone single runway in 1933, when Bob and Cecil Reid began building the "Garden City Airport," between San Antonio and Story Road. Officially opened in 1935, Garden City was purchased in 1937 by the state of California to make way for the building of modern-day Highway 101. After Garden City Airport closed, the Reid's began building the current airport we know and love. Named for the nearby Hillview Golf-course, and its founders, the groundbreaking of Reid Hillview Airport took place in 1939, with the first aircraft, a Kreider-Reisner 34 Bi-plane, touching down on a single dirt strip.
However, after the tragic events of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, and the subsequent declaration of war on Japan by the United States, Reid Hillview's operations would suffer great restriction. A directive was issued to close all airports within 150 miles of the Western Seaboard, which of course included Reid-Hillview, and to move all resident aircraft a minimum of 150 miles inland. However, Cecil Reid fought to preserve his airport, eventually being granted permission to keep all aircraft on the field, under the condition that they be disabled until the conclusion of the war. Cecil Reid also sought to ensure that his airport could open for operation 24 hours after the war concluded. Well, on August 14, 1945, WWII drew to a close but military officials decided that airports like Reid Hillview would not be permitted to open; however, after a slight altercation with a Major General in San Francisco, the previous arrangement was upheld.
In the years following the war, the airport began to rapidly expand. In 1946, one of the parallel turf runways would be paved over. Presence on the field would swell from 17 aircraft to 17 business known as "Fixed Based Operators."
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As the airport advanced with age, big changes were on the horizon, as the field faced a need for drastic improvements. In 1960, H.K. Freidman published a report recommending that Santa Clara County invest in the future of the airport. Taking his advice, the county would purchase the airport from Bob and Cecil Reid in 1961 for a whopping $600,000.
With this purchase and the additional $400,000 from the Federal Government, there were many major changes that took place on the airport's ground itself. The runways and ramp spaces were paved as well as runway lights installed at the airport. By 1969 the airport had five major FBOs operating and approximately 400 aircraft based on the field and annual operations of about 300,000 flights each year.
To be continued...