America’s Hub

Jan 2 2013 @ 8:00am

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Edward McPherson pens a sprawling homage to Dallas:

Dallas is an underdog. Landlocked, not blessed by a navigable waterway, Dallas made itself into a transportation hub by sheer will. Charles Lindbergh, at a banquet in Dallas in September of 1927, told the city, "Keep your airport—it will place you among the commercial leaders of the world." A midcentury scene: an aviation company is considering moving to Dallas. The president of the company is heard saying the runways at Love Field aren’t long enough by 2,000 feet. Three hours and forty minutes pass. The phone rings; it’s the city council. Thanks to an emergency bond measure, crews will begin lengthening the runways on Monday.

But Dallas eventually outgrew Love Field and built itself a bigger airport, Dallas-Fort Worth International, which opened in 1974 and now sprawls some twenty-seven square miles, making the airport the third largest (in terms of size) and fourth busiest (in terms of takeoffs and landings) in the world. You could fit JFK, LAX, and O’Hare within its boundaries and still have room to park. Thanks to DFW, the people of Dallas are within four hours of every major U.S. city in the lower forty-eight.

("Dallas' 1946 urban plan (somewhat comically) assumed that most people, by the year 1980, would be commuting to work by air. … The super airport would eventually become D/FW Airport," by Justin Cozart)