Points in History
- The first airport in Cleburne was Cooke Airport, which was located on the present site of Cooke School. The airport was opened shortly after World War II.
- Land was soon leased east of the present airport for a new location in the mid-1950s. The landing strip was comprised of grass and was only about 1,600 feet long.
- An old Santa Fe boxcar was first used for an airport office and soon metal T-hangars were built. Smudge pots were used for runway lights.
- In the early 1960s, the present-day airport was started. Today, Cleburne Regional Airport has a runway 5,700 feet long and 100 feet wide. It supports aircraft up to the size of business jets.
Pictured to the right is “Old Soggy No. 1,” the first airplane built in Texas (as shown on East Henderson Street in Cleburne). At the controls is “Slatts” Rodgers, who built it with the help of John C. Fine, shown standing by the plane. The intersection shown is East Henderson and Wilhite Streets looking north on Wilhite. The six-cylinder, 100-horsepower engine was purchased in St. Louis for $750.
The airplane construction was started in a building near the site of the old post office, or what is now Cleburne City Hall and was finished in Keene. It was pulled to Cleburne from Keene by a pair of mules. It took six hours. Rodgers recouped some of his expenses by building a big wall around the plane and charged 50 cents admission to see it. In three days, he made $700 and was ready to fly!