Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:

Northwestern Utah

© 2002, © 2013 by Paul Freeman. Revised 10/18/13.



Camp Williams Airfield (added 3//18/12) - Locomotive Springs Intermediate Field (revised 10/18/13)

Low Flight Strip (revised 4/16/10) - Utah Central Airport (revised 3/18/12)

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Camp Williams Airfield, Bluffdale, UT

40.43 North / 111.93 West (South of Salt Lake City, UT)

Camp Williams Airfield was depicted as “Landing Strip” on the 1951 USGS topo map.



Camp Williams was created in 1926 as permanent training camp on 18,700 acres of land

south of Salt Lake City which had been withdrawn from the public domain in 1914.



An airfield was added at some point to the southwest of the cantonment area.

The Camp Williams Airfield was not yet listed among active airfields in the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

The earliest depiction which has been located of an airfield at Camp Williams was on the 1951 USGS topo map,

which depicted a single northwest/southeast runway, labeled simply as “Landing Strip”,

with a few small buildings on the northwest & northeast sides.



The 1958 US Airport Directory (courtesy of David Brooks)

depicted the “Camp Williams (Lehi)” airfield as having a 2,400' north-northwest/south-southeast runway.



The earliest photo which has been located of the Camp Williams Airfield was a 1958 aerial view,

which depicted the field as having a 2,400' north-northwest/south-southeast unpaved runway, with a parallel paved ramp & a few small sheds.



Aerial photos from 1959, 1965, 1971, and 1977 showed the same configuration,

but the runway appeared deteriorated & less distinct as time went on.



The 1993 USGS topo map shows that at some point between 1977-93

the previous NNW/SSE runway was replaced by a 4,700' north-northeast/south-southwest runway with a parallel taxiway.



An 8/14/93 USGS aerial photo looking south shows the Camp Williams Airfield to have a 4,700' north-northeast/south-southwest asphalt runway

with a parallel taxiway & a paved ramp on the northeast with 8 concrete parking pads.



A 1997 aerial view looking south showed that 2 small buildings had been built adjacent to the northeast side of the airfield at some point between 1993-97.

A 5/10/08 Air Force photo by Kevin Gruenwald of a member of the UT Army National Guard 19th Special Forces Group

fast roping from an Air Force HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter into an urban village at night during the UT Combat Search & Rescue Joint Integration Exercise 2008 at Camp Williams.



The last photo which has been located showing the Camp Williams Airfield intact was a 6/23/09 aerial view looking south.



An undated (pre-2012) photo of a UH-1 Huey mounted on a display pylon at Camp Williams Airfield.



An undated (pre-2012) map depicted the “Total Force Field” as having a single northeast/southwest runway with a parallel taixway,

and a ramp with several parking spots on the northeast.



The Camp Williams Airfield was evidently closed at some point prior to 2010,

as a 6/18/10 aerial view showed that construction had begun for a large complex of buildings covering the former Camp Williams Airfield.

 

The site of Camp Williams Airfield is located south of the intersection of South Redwood Road & Jordan Narrows Road.

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Utah Central Airport, Granger, UT

40.72 North / 111.97 West (Southwest of Salt Lake City, UT)

A circa 1942-45 aerial view looking north at Utah Central Airport from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).



According to Charles Furden's monograph “Runway Dust”,

Utah Central had its beginnings shortly before the Second World War.

Its creation was the brainchild & sweat of one individual, Vern Carter.

He obtained legal access to the land, walked out into the brush, staked out the runways, and graded off the weeds, brush, and anthills.

By any definition it was a small country airport.

Nothing paved & nothing fancy in the way of buildings.”



The earliest depiction which has been located of Utah Central Airport

was a circa 1942-45 aerial view in the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

The directory described Utah Central Airport as a 200 acre rectangular property having 3 gravel, clay, and loam runways,

the longest being the 2,750' northwest/southeast strip.

The field was said to have 2 wood & metal hangars, the largest measuring 56' x 52'.

Utah Central Airport was described as being owned & operated by private interests.



The 1951 USGS topo map depicted Utah Central Airport as having 3 runways, 2 parallel taxiways, and several small buildings along the north side.



A 1958 aerial photo depicted Utah Central Airport as a very healthy little general aviation field,

with a total of 25 light aircraft visible on the north side of the field, along with several rows of hangars.

There were a total of 3 unpaved runways, with the primary runway being the northwest/southeast strip.



Utah Central Airport, as depicted on a circa 1950s-60s UT Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Charles Furden).



A circa 1950s-60s photo by Charles Furden of a J-3 Cub in front of Utah Central Airport's main office.



A circa 1950s-60s photo by Charles Furden of a Ryan P-22 parked in front of the Utah Central Airport hangars.



A circa 1950s-60s road map (courtesy of Charles Furden) depicted Utah Central Airprot as having 3 runways.



A circa 1950s-60s advertisement for Valley Airmotive (courtesy of Charles Furden) pictured 2 Cessnas in front of Utah Central Airport's office.



Utah Central Airport was still depicted as an active airfield on the 1963 USGS topo map.



Chris Dennis recalled, “Utah Central... a gravel strip, Runway 34/16, maybe about 2,100'.”



The proximity of Utah Central Airport to Salt Lake City's main airport was ultimately the reason for the little airport's demise.

When Utah Central was built, airline traffic at the main airport consisted predominantly of DC-3s, which flew relatively tight patterns.

But as larger & faster airliners became the norm, traffic patterns extended out much farther,

conflicting with the little general aviation airport only a few miles to the south.



The last depiction which has been located showing Utah Central Airport still in operation was a 1965 aerial photo.

It showed an odd juxtaposition in terms of the airport's development & health -

the eastern portion of the airport property (including the former primary runway, the northwest/southeast runway)

had evidently been redeveloped with non-airport construction.

Yet the north/south runway appeared to have been replaced with a paved runway & paved parallel taxiway.

The hangars on the northeast side were gone,

but a few hangars remained on the northwest side, around which were parked a mere 3 planes.



The last dated reference to Utah Central Airport remaining in operation came from James Price,

who recalled, “I flew my first flight at Utah Central ($5) in the summer of 1966.”



Utah Central Airport was presumably closed (for reasons unknown) at some point between 1966-70,

as it was no longer depicted at all on the 1970 USGS topo map.



In a 1971 aerial photo, all of the hangars were gone,

but the paved north/south runway remained intact.



A 1977 aerial photo showed the remains of the north/south runway still existed.



According to Chris L Dennis, “To my best recollection it disappeared in the late 1970s.”



The 1997 USGS aerial photo showed that the remains of the north/south runway had been removed at some point between 1977-93.



A 1/18/10 aerial photo showed no evident trace remaining of the former Utah Central Airport,

but ironically the area of the former north/south runway remained an undeveloped grass field.

 

The site of Utah Central Airport is located southeast of the intersection of Route 201 & South 3600 West.

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Locomotive Springs Intermediate Field, Locomotive Springs, UT

41.71 North / 112.92 West (Northwest of Salt Lake City, UT)

Locomotive Springs Intermediate Field, as depicted on a May 1930 Airway Map (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

Photo of the airfield while open has not been located.



Locomotive Springs was one of the Department of Commerce's network of Intermediate Fields,

which were constructed in the 1920s & 1930s along airways between major cities.

They were intended for emergency use by commercial aircraft.

The date of construction of the Locomotive Springs Intermediate Field has not been determined.

The earliest reference to the field which has been located

was on a May 1930 Airway Map (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

 

A 1933 Department of Commerce Airport Directory (courtesy of Chris Kennedy)

described Locomotive Springs as Site 7 along the Salt Lake - El Paso Airway.

It was described as consisting of a 2,000' x 1,900' rectangular sod field,

with boundary & approach lights, and a rotating beacon.



George Cox recalled, “My Father, Wilford Cox was employed by the Utah Fish & Game Department

and had our young family living at Locomotive Springs in 1939-40.

He trapped muskrats & managed the water flow at the Game Preserve.

According to my mother, there was a house they lived in on the north side of the runway, provided by the State,

and another long building that the employees at the airport lived in.

She said a family named Cook was there when they arrived & they left & a family by the name of Carlock moved in.

That family & 2 or 3 single men lived in the long building.

There were also 2 long vacant barracks that the CC Camp had left, possibly from the construction of the airport.

She said there was a Mr. Rose who was the boss of the airport that drove out occasionally.

She said she only remembers the airstrip being used by military men flying out to hunt ducks from Ft. Douglas.”



Locomotive Springs was still depicted as an active airfield

on the July 1940 Salt Lake City Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).



As commercial aircraft became more reliable & longer ranged in the 1940s,

many of the more remote Intermediate Fields in the Department of Commerce's network became superfluous,

and this was most likely the case with Locomotive Springs.

It was evidently closed at some point between 1940-44,

as it was not listed in the April 1944 US Army/Navy Directory of Airfields (courtesy of Ken Mercer),

and it was not depicted on the February 1945 Salt Lake City Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).



Post-WW2 USGS topo maps continued to depict the 2 runways at Locomotive Springs,

but the field was labeled simply as "Landing Strips",

which usually indicates that it was no longer an active airfield.



A 4/6/66 aerial photo depicted Locomotive Springs as having 2 unpaved runways,

and some small buildings on the northwest side.



The 1969 USGS topo map depicted the field as having a 2,000' northwest/southeast runway

and a shorter north/south runway.



As seen in the 1993 USGS aerial photo,

the desert landscape has preserved the 2 runways at Locomotive Springs remarkably well,

more than 60 years after they were evidently constructed.

The buildings had been removed at some point between 1966-93.



A 10/17/13 aerial view by Patrick Wiggins of the site of the Locomotive Springs windsock.



The Locomotive Springs airfield is located southeast of the intersection of Locomotive Road & Salt Wells Road.

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Low Flight Strip, Knolls, UT

40.79 North / 113.2 West (West of Salt Lake City, UT)

The earliest photo which has been located of the Low Flight Strip

was a circa 1943-45 aerial view looking north from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).



This was one of the many Flight Strips which were built by the USAAF

during WW2 for the emergency use of military aircraft.

The Low Flight Strip was listed on a 1943 table of 2nd Air Force Flight Strips (courtesy of John Voss),

which indicated that construction of the strip was completed in 1943.

The strip was described as consisting of a 7,130' paved runway,

with a total graded length of 9,130'.

 

Low Flight Strip was an auxiliary field of either Wendover AAF or Salt Lake AAF during WWII (according to Keith Wood).

It consisted of a single north/south runway, which was built on top of a dirt road which led north from US Highway 40.

According to Keith Wood, “Apparently they started using the road for liaison planes,

then widened it for larger planes before finally diverting the road past the western side of the runway & paving the airstrip.”



The earliest photo which has been located of the Low Flight Strip

was a circa 1943-45 aerial view looking north from the 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock).

It depicted Low as consisting of a single, wide, north/south paved runway.

It also appeared to depicted a narrower, parallel runway to the west.



The 1945 AAF Airfield Directory (courtesy of Scott Murdock)

described Low Flight Strip as a 276 acre rectangular property within which was a single 7,130' bituminous runway.

The field was not said to have any hangars,

to be owned by the U.S. Government, and to be operated by the Public Roads Administration.



The earliest aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of the Low Flight Strip

was on the 1945 Salt Lake Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

 

It was depicted as "Low FS" on the September 1949 Great Salt Lake World Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of Donald Felton).

 

The 1955 & 1965 Salt Lake City Sectional Charts (according to Chris Kennedy)

depicted it as "Low FS AF", and described it as having a 7,100' hard-surface runway.

It is not known whether the Low Flight Strip was ever reused as a civilian airfield.

 

Low Flight Strip, as depicted on the 1965 Salt Lake Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).

 

The Low Flight Strip was apparently closed at some point after 1965.



The 1977 USGS topo map depicted the runway but did not label it at all.



In the 1993 USGS aerial photo, the runway was remarkably well preserved,

considering that it was built nearly 60 years ago.

The paved runway surface had apparently been extended at some point after the runway's initial construction,

as the length of the runway pavement is 9,300' in the 1993 aerial photo.

There was also what appeared to be a small square paved ramp area,

along the west side of the northern end of the runway.

There did not appear to be any trace of any buildings at the site.

 

This field was not depicted at all (not even as an abandoned airfield)

on either recent USGS topo maps or 2002 aeronautical charts.

This seems quite strange, for a 9,300' paved runway!

 

A road now passes down the center of the runway of the Flight Strip.

This road runs between Interstate 80 (4 miles to the south)

and the Grassy Mountain toxic-waste facility which sits adjacent to the Flight Strip to the northwest.

This complex also is not depicted on USGS topo maps.



A 2005 photo by Keith Wood, looking north along the remains of the runway pavement at Low.

Keith reported, “Digging down a couple of inches through the sand covering, I hit solid pavement -

except in the center, which was pretty much pulverized by years of heavy trucks driving over it (thus to preserve the main road).”



Keith Wood visited the site of Low Flight Strip in 2005.

He reported: “The paved runway is now covered by several inches of sand,

which was done sometimes in the desert to preserve the blacktop when a field was abandoned.

This field is at the edge of restricted airspace, used for low-level training from Hill AFB,

and it's possible that it was expected to be used again.

I found no sign of ground facilities, ramp, tiedowns, etc - just the windsock & the runway.

Less than 2 minutes after I stopped on the road to start shooting, I had a van pulling up to ask what I was up to.

When I told the driver I was only shooting photos of the airstrip,

he asked if I meant to shoot the bombing range a couple of miles up the road.

He didn't know about the airstrip, and looked at the windsock pole as if finally figuring out what it was for!”



A 2005 photo by Keith Wood, looking east from the road at the windsock pole which remains erect Low.



A 2005 photo by Keith Wood of the remains of a large, illuminated wind sock pole near the south end of the strip.

Power lines followed the current road, but there was no trace of wires to the windsock.

Keith reported, “Scraps of heavy orange canvas litter the ground around the post.

The metal frame from the windsock is now a nest for some large bird, so it could be said that flight operations continue.”



A 2005 photo by Keith Wood of the remains of the light bulb which presumably sat on top of the windsock pole.

Keith reported, “A minor mystery is that the red dome on the top light of the windsock was made of plastic, which makes it post-WWII -

indicating some use after the war!”



Low Flight Strip is located 4 miles north of Interstate 80, 6 miles northeast of Knolls, UT.

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