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During World War I, an air supply depot was constructed at Little Rock (Pulaski County) south of 12th Street near the Little Rock airport. Construction began in 1918 of the complex of structures encompassing fifty-five acres and designed to house up to 500 officers and men. The main warehouse was planned as an exact duplicate of the warehouse at Dayton, Ohio.
The depot acted as a distribution point, with raw materials necessary for the function of an air service being gathered and sent to production facilities, while finished products were stored and the parts distributed to flying fields as needed. At one point, approximately 13,000 motors were stored there. Although the depot mainly supplied equipment to flying fields in the southwest (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas), on at least one occasion, motors from Little Rock were sent to the repair depot at Fairfield, Ohio. It was one of only six supply depots constructed around the country.
The depot remained open for a time after Ebert’s Field in Lonoke (Lonoke County) was closed. It was shut down in the early 1920s. After the eastern airfields were shut down, the depot was moved to Texas to be closer to western airfields that remained open.
For additional information:Brown, Jerold E. Where Eagles Land: Planning and Development of U.S. Airfields, 1910–1941. New York: Greenwood Press, 1990.
Herndon, Dallas T. Centennial History of Arkansas. Chicago: Clark Publishing Co., 1922.
Maurer, Maurer. Aviation in the United States Army, 1919–1939. Washington DC: Office of Air Force History, 1987.
Sweeting, C. G. Combat Flying Equipment: U.S. Aviators’ Personal Equipment, 1917– 1945. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.
Sweetser, Arthur. The American Air Service: A Record of its Problems, its Difficulties, its Failures, and its Final Achievements. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1919.
William E. McAlexander Jr.Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department
Last Updated 12/27/2007
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