If you visit Stanton Airfield (SYN) in southeast Minnesota, you may think you’ve stepped back in time.
The airport, created in 1942 to provide primary flight training for Carleton College students preparing for military enlistment, has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The privately owned, public use airport, once known as Carleton Airport, still has grass runways and a World War II-era wooden and concrete hangar.
The airport, which is 30 miles southeast of Minneapolis, is one of the busiest glider ports in the Midwest, according to Tom Rent, airport director.
“We have about 2,000 glider flights in the summer,” he says. “The fact the airport was never modernized, such as having the runways paved, makes us unique. We are one of the last privately owned, public use airports left in Minnesota.”
After the war the college leased the airport to Malcolm and Margaret Manuel, who eventually bought the property. The Manuels owned the 160 acres until 1990, when they sold it to the newly formed Stanton Sport Aviation Corp., of which Rent is a member.
“When we bought the property, it became our intent to protect the airport from encroachment and to maintain it as a place to have fun,” he says.
Rent said that the listing on the National Register of Historic Places makes the airport part of the national parks system. Corporation members hope that information about the airport will start showing up on tourism and recreational literature.