It was 20 years ago today: the destruction of Chicago's Meigs Field

Meigs Fields
Light planes sit on the tarmac at Meigs Field after the runway in background was scarred by excavation equipment and closed March 31, 2003 in Chicago, Illinois. The small airport, located on the shore of Lake Michigan, was shut down in the middle of the night by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. Daley said the action was taken for security reasons. Photo credit (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) – Friday marks the 20th anniversary of the destruction of Meigs Field, when then-Mayor Richard M. Daley permanently closed the small lakefront airport.

When Chicago woke up on the morning March 31, 2003, Meigs was basically gone.

Few people at the time believed Mayor Daley's reasoning for demolishing Meigs – security concerns about airplanes flying into The Loop -- even though it came a year and a half after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Chopper 2 traffic reporter Kris Habermehl calls it "one of those head-scratching, mind-blowing moments."

It was clear later on, that Mayor Daley wanted to close the airport in order to convert Northerly Island to a park.

Interesting fact: A small plane, planning to land at Meigs the morning it was destroyed, had to be told by air traffic that it couldn’t land. The craft had to turn around.

For 55 years, the small airport hosted private and regional charter flights. Dignitaries loved it because for the convenience to downtown Chicago, and the views were spectacular.

Listen to our new podcast Courier Pigeon
Listen to WBBM Newsradio now on Audacy!
Sign up and follow WBBM Newsradio
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Featured Image Photo Credit: (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)