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Stapelton Int'l Airport  
User currently offlineFlybynight From Norway, joined Jul 2003, 1237 posts, RR: 2
Posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 7362 times:

Is there anything left of the old Denver airport?

Heia Norge!
59 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineBA From United States of America, joined May 2000, 11198 posts, RR: 57
Reply 1, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 7203 times:

There is nothing left except for the Control Tower and a parking garage being used by the Regional Transportation District (Denver's public transportation company).

The control tower was kept as a symbol to remind people of the airport.

The parking garage is used by RTD as a park-n-ride. Customers park their car there, then catch the SkyRide bus which takes them to Denver Airport or catch other buses that go to other parts of the city.

I believe one of the Continental Hangers was converted to a bowling alley.

Stapleton is being completely redevelopped.

Check here for more info:


"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
User currently offlineDEN-HNL From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 164 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 7153 times:

This picture shows the tower and garage. Also, don't forget United Flight Training Center which is directly behind the garage in this shot. It's crazy how much work has taken place down there. The road that leads up to the rounded buildings at the top of the picture with a roundabout in it is about where the main east-west runway used to be.

[Edited 2004-02-28 19:11:14]

John Hancock
User currently offlineDEN-HNL From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 164 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 7091 times:

For the extreme airline buff geeks  Big grin, UAL's Denver reservation call center is shown in this picture. Between the Renaissance Hotel (triangular shaped 12-story building) and the fire station (3 garage doors). Under the big "N" in STAPLETON.


John Hancock
User currently offlineIflyatldl From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 1936 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 7048 times:

Isn't some part of Stapleton supposed to be used for a Public Housing tract?

Ah, Summer, Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox and Beer.....
User currently offlineFly727 From Mexico, joined Jul 2003, 1803 posts, RR: 16
Reply 5, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 6952 times:

Where is the tower????

Can't find it in the picture....

RM  Smile

There are no stupid questions... just stupid people!
User currently offlineRamprat74 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1635 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 6901 times:

I didn't know they torn down the AMR combs hangars. I use to play inline hockey in it. They had two hockey rinks in the larger hangar.

User currently offlineF9Widebody From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1604 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 6879 times:

Wow, that is a huge parking garage.  Big thumbs up


YES URLS in signature!!!
User currently offlineJeckPDX From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 255 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6831 times:

This may have been widely discussed before, but why did they relocate DIA from the Stapleton site? The facilities were in decent condition as of last time I visited the airport before its demolition. Was it a need for expansion, relocation, etc? I've looked at several sites, and I know there is a book on the subject, yet it is still unclear to me

"Beer is proof that God Loves us and wanted People to be Happy" - Ben Franklin
User currently offlineElwood64151 From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 2477 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6796 times:

Stapleton was somewhat land-locked. DIA now has room for significant expansion of facilities if necessary (see the new addition for F9 at the A gates that will be coming).

Also, from what I understand, the airport was too small for what they expected traffic to be. But I could be wrong about that.

Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13838 posts, RR: 17
Reply 10, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6739 times:

Another reason I heard for the replacement of Stapeton and to have it relocated was the problems with wind shear, a common problem with that airport due to it's close location to the mountains. Is this true?

User currently offlineRamprat74 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1635 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 6725 times:

Stapleton was really outdated. The main terminal was really bad and old. UA's concourse A&B were remodeled about five years before it closed. The ramp level on those two concourses were a real shit hole. Concourses C&D were about to fall down. Concourse E was the only bright spot for the airport. UA had gates in that concourse, but I never got to work down there.

The way the runways were laid out didn't let two planes land simultaeously on the north-south runways. There were plans to build another east/west runway on the Rocky mountain arsenal. It would take probably 30 minutes to taxi to the gate though.

Here is a picture of the two north/south runways. If you ever flown out of Stapleton on the farther North runway. You know it was a very very long taxi trip.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Chris Barrow

User currently offlineKlwright69 From Saudi Arabia, joined Jan 2000, 2483 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 6666 times:

Good topic. I did work at the old Stapleton. I never heard anything about relocating farther from the mountains due to windshear. It was mostly about space and room to grow. Sure there was space at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal cold war lethal weapons dump to the north. But it was across a freeway, so not real accessible and of course the Arsenal had its own "issues."

As far as the facilities, something needed to be done desperately. The place was so outdated it didn't even almost seem worth remodeling. Speaking of location, I don't have any exact data, but the area of the new Denver International airport had a reputation for tornadoes and bad hail since it is on the plains. However the last few years, the summers have not had much severe weather out there. Besides I am not sure the difference in distance from the mountains would make much of a difference.

Concourses C and D were Continental's were tired, pathetic old structures. What an embarrassment for them. But DEN was not their moneymaker, so they didn't care. Didn't have the resources to fix them either. D concourse was the old Frontier's and later was mostly dedicated to CO Express. UA's concourses, even though recently remodeled, were nothing to write home about either. The main terminal was very small and old. As someone said, concourse E was the newest concourse. It was a little better. I remember I thought it was pretty neat that it actually had plants adorning it. There was very little natural light anywhere. The cramped check-in part of the airport with the low ceiling reminded me more of a third world bus terminal without all the filth. It actually eminds me of what the ticket counter space at LAX is like today (where CO and DL operate especially, not the Tom Bradley terminal).

Someone commented that that is a big parking garage. I drive by that thing everyday. That picture is deceptive. It is a tired, small,cramped,dilapidated piece of garbage. But it is very, very heavily used since RTD has a big transit station there now.

It is my understanding that Stapleton is largest urban redevelopment in the United States today. But maybe that was before 9-11, or maybe it is just considering land area.

Yes, I remember reading that the old Stapleton did have more gates than DIA does today. I am almost certain of that. The old Stapleton had 5 concourses.

It is funny driving by the old Stapleton site. You see little reminders of the old airport. The UA center is right there, but it is surrounded by new homes, Sam's Club, WalMart, Home Depot, all right where the airport used to be.

Then across the street, there is still hotel after hotel, with thousands of rooms, just as if the old airport were still there!

User currently offlineElectraBob From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 931 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6628 times:

Klwright69 --

I wondered about all of those Stapleton Airport hotels. I have visited the Denver area twice, and both times stayed at the airport Holiday Inn, which was located on, I believe, Quebec St. I remember hotel after hotel on both sides of the street. You are right...thousands of rooms. Are these still considered "airport" hotels for DIA??...I am not sure of the distance from these original airport hotels and Denver International. Have any new hotels been built closer to DIA?

Having a smoking section in a restaurant is like having a peeing section in a swimming pool.....
User currently offlineTrijetfan1 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1128 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6568 times:

Could a plane land their if they had to make an emergency landing?

Earned PPL June 26, 2007
User currently offlineDeltaffindfw From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1493 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6510 times:

Were there bridges over I-70 that planes could taxi on? What was north of the highway?

User currently offlineDAirbus From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 596 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 6449 times:
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I visited Denver in July 2001 and drove by the old Stapleton airport on I-70. I was surprised by the amount of open space on either side. The bridges over the interstate were not only gone, I could not see any trace of them. I do remember seeing the control tower and several hotels to the south of the highway.

"I love mankind. It's people I can't stand." - Charles Shultz
User currently offlineJet-lagged From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 884 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 6384 times:

Yet bridges existing over I-70 for taxiing. What a wonderful sight, driving on the highway, and you might see a 727 or even better a fat DC-10 trundling along right above you.

The core reason for relocating Stapleton was growth - there was no room for more. Unlike many cities in the U.S., Denver fortunately still had room for a greenfield airport within a reasonable driving distance of the population centers now and in the future. Many decisions were taken before the hub structures had fully formed. I believe that at one time Denver was fourth busiest airport in the world in terms of aircraft movements.

But, then, soon after the move Continenental dismantled their hub and a weak economy and UAL added to the woes. Fewer gates were (~80) were available than at Stapleton (~104?). There was a joke - "Why did they need to move Staptleton? Because it was too big!"

But moving airports are decisions for 50 or 100 years consideration. Happy, improved traffic levels have shown that the new facility is and will be necessary in the coming decades.

User currently offlineSierraAir From United States of America, joined May 1999, 205 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 6336 times:

It has been long debated on whether Denver really did need a new airport. Denver was cramped on space and the closeness of the runways prevented simultanius approaches in bad weather, something Denver sees a lot of. DIA spaced the runways farther apart with no problems there. (an interesting piece of information is that when DIA opened, it was originally planned to have 12 runways)

A really good site with lots of Stapleton pictures is http://milehifield.topcities.com/main.html


User currently offlineRamprat74 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1635 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 6333 times:

Yes 35L went right over I-70. The taxiway for 35R went over it as well. There was actually three runways on the northside of I-70. There was a 7,700 GA one also.

He is a good view of the terminal and concourses.

User currently offlineB6A320 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 6308 times:

was the last picture taken after the airport closed??

Justin P.

User currently offlineKlwright69 From Saudi Arabia, joined Jan 2000, 2483 posts, RR: 3
Reply 21, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 6255 times:

OHMIGOD I forgot about that! At the old Stapleton if you landed to the north, and had to taxi back to the airport, it was a HELL of a taxi. That is SO true. I mean the taxi time alone could caused missed connections!!

Yes, the runways went over the highway. DC10's 727's and so on took off and taxied over the highway all the time. It was nothing special to us here we were so used to it.

Yes, yes, yes, the runway situation was a BIG reason among for the new airport. It was figured that delays nationwide could be reduced and eliminated if simulatenous operations could take place during less than optimal weather conditions. The Denver politicos bragged that it would never close due to a storm calling it an "All weather airport." WHAT A JOKE! The airport has been closed twice. Once in 97, and once last year. There was plenty of embarrassment.

There are numerous hotels along Quebec that used to serve the old airport. Cimmarron Suites, Red Lion, Four Points, Doubletree, The Rennnaisance (the big aztec pyramid hotel), and many, many others. These hotels still cater to airport travelers for sure. Many of those hotels cater to people going to the UAL facility across the street. One sees many crew people crossing the street. I think those hotels also now do a lot of meeting and conference business. There ARE hotels near the new airport, and more being built all the time. But the hotels near the old airport I believe have still retained a following among travelers.

User currently offlineJumboBumbo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 6219 times:

I wholeheartedly agree with those who recall the state of Stapleton prior to closing. Going to the terminal was like going back in time to the 50s or 60s, and the last time I was there C terminal was nearly deserted and D terminal was. In a way I miss it, but only as a campy novelty - the way some people miss disco, avocado colored fondue sets, and key parties  Smile/happy/getting dizzy.

BTW - I seem to remember DL and AA having quite extensive operations in DEN back in the day. Does anyone know what a rough breakdown of concourse/gate assingments was in the early to mid eighties?

Even in good weather, Stapleton could get too busy for four active runways to handle. I remember many flights in the summertime being stuck on a part of the tarmac lovingly referred to as the "penalty box" waiting to get cleared to get in line for takeoff. Additionally, Stapleton is in the Denver neighborhood of Montbello - you could get in come pretty dicey situations if you took a wrong turn. A really good memory I have as a kid is going on field trips to the Museum of Natural History (now the Museum of Science) and seeing aircraft on final to 26R/L.

User currently offlineKlwright69 From Saudi Arabia, joined Jan 2000, 2483 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 6178 times:

Back to the original post, there is absolutely nothing left of the old airport (except of course the old control tower to memorialize it).

Since I first posted to this thread, I drove near Stapleton today. It is only 10 minutes from my house. I drove down Smith Road. All the hangars and airport related buildings are demolished. CO's hanger is NOT a bowling alley. There is absolutely nothing where they stood. I take that back, Home Depot and a few other things might sit on some of the hangar land. But most of CO's hangars were further down Smith Road.

The new homes a Stapleton are beautiful showcase homes, nothing indicates a "Public Housing Tract."

I also drove down Montview, on the other side of the old airport. There is lots of open space being quickly readied for development. Funny, just off Montview there is an odd looking structure that appears to have been connected to the airport in some way. It is very old and long forgotten. The roof has a vaulting flower shape like Sydney Opera House. Of course this is a much, much smaller building! Maybe some Stapleton expert would now.

This thread brings back all the memories! The last day of Stapleton's operation my girlfriend and I went out to be there for the event. We walked around and everything was in complete tatters. We were there to see off the last flight. It was CO (a DC-10-30) flight 34 nonstop to LGW. It was quite an exciting event. The flight was packed. Hundreds of cheering and clapping people and the press were congregating around gate C-8 to see off the final flight into history of the old Stapleton. Of course, one of CO's most senior employees, Desmond Yorgin announced the departure of the flight (he has since passed on). Desmond's hire date was in the 1950's. Yes, I remember it that clearly to remember even the gate #! People were stopped along the highway to see one last flight go off the bridge.

Those were sure the days!

User currently offlineORD2PHL From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 315 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (12 years 2 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 6138 times:

Don't quote me on this but I believe the City of Denver had certain noise restrictions or planned ordinances that required the city to relocate the aiport...naturally they moved it WAY out passed Aurora so as to not run into the same problem


25 Klwright69 : Noise was a much lower issue compared to the other issues mentioned. Moving the airport didn't solve noise issues. Not a chance.... Now Thornton, Nort
26 SlamClick : Okay, trivia question for you . . . Where was the rotating beacon located at Stapleton. I'll be back in four or five days with the answer. Slam - the
27 Ramprat74 : And people are still buying new homes in Green Valley Ranch area. These are the people who are going to complain about the noise five years from now.
28 Milesrich : The bridges at Stapleton were "blown up" on the morning of the Friday of President's Day Weekend in 1996. They were removed to make sure the runways n
29 JumboBumbo : Didn't CO talk to the City of Denver about the possibility of keeping one or two runways at Stapleton open in exchange for not fleeing the city? I bel
30 Ramprat74 : CO did want to keep their maintenance facility open at Stapleton. The city of Denver said no. So they moved there maintenance to IAH and EWR.
31 F9Fan : There was a court settlement about noise problems at Stapleton between the Park Hill neighborhood (the neighborhood southwest of the main terminal) an
32 HAL : I spent a lot of 2000, 2001 and early 2002 teaching new hire flight engineers for Hawaiian at the UAL facility at Stapleton. We stayed at the Rennnais
33 Post contains links Ramprat74 : This website has some great pictures. http://milehifield.topcities.com/main.html
34 Jsnww81 : Stapleton was a very interesting airport indeed. From an aesthetic standpoint, the terminals really did need replacement, although from a capacity sta
35 Contrails : The pics bring back a lot of memories. I flew through Stapleton twice back in the 70's, on CO en route to/from COS. I remember having to make a lot of
36 Nyskymasters : Ramprat74, Thank you very much for listing the web address for Stapleton. I have been looking for some good pictures of the terminal inside and out. H
37 Jmy007 : Ramprat74 said: "CO did want to keep their maintenance facility open at Stapleton. The city of Denver said no. So they moved there maintenance to IAH
38 Post contains links Tom in NO : The flight on which I took two of the Stapleton aerials Ramprat74 displayed above and linked below were taken only about a week after the airport was
39 Ramprat74 : They were going to use it for line maintenance. They probably did A checks in it for awhile. CO now leases it to Frontier. CO also has a huge ground e
40 Jmy007 : Ramprat74- Thanks, I've always wondered. So if they are leasing it to Frontier, will they ever get around to removing the Contiental signs?
41 Klwright69 : Jumbo-Bumbo, the old Stapleton was NOT located in Montbello. It is by Park Hill to the west, and Aurora to the South and East. The Rocky Mountain Arse
42 JumboBumbo : Klwright69- My mistake, you're right about Montbello. However, I would say that Park Hill wasn't the nicest part of town in the 80's - East Colfax is
43 Klwright69 : Good post JumboBumbo, you certainly know the area.... I agree the redevelopment is quite cool. It is not all ticky tacky!
44 Klwright69 : I also certainly do agree.....parts of Park Hill are more difficult than Montbello. I will stop now, 99% of people don't know what the hell we're talk
45 YoungDon : Excuse me for my ignorance, but what the hell is the Rocky Mountain Arsenal? Is it some type of explosives cache or something?
46 Tcfc424 : I have spent a lot of time in the "penalty box" at Stapleton. While it was intriguing to watch a heavy taxi across the bridge, it was nice to see DIA
47 F9Fan : YoungDon, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal is where the Army stored chemical weapons from about WWII on. There are probably more chemical weapons there than
48 StevenUhl777 : Wow...there are some real Stapleton experts here! Thanks for the great information and pictures...brings back great memories. I always liked Stapleton
49 FrontierA319 : parts of Park Hill are more difficult than Montbello I'll agree to that. My family and I used to eat at the Red Baron restaurant all the time before i
50 YoungDon : So was Stapleton open before or after they started storing chemical weapons at the Arsenal?
51 CFIcraigAPA : It's kind of interesting that people mention that Stapleton was closed in part due to windshear from being so close to the mountains. Anyone aware tha
52 Post contains links and images Rydawg82 : StevenUhl777 brought up something very interesting...Good Ol' gate B16. This jetway would be brought up to the right side of the aircraft. I can remem
53 William : What will be done with the control tower other than just standing there ,and the building next to it. The city of Austin,Texas has done something simi
54 Post contains images Jmy007 : Does any one know where to find good interior photos of Stapleton? Did a search and really couldn't find any. Thanks!
55 DesertJets : There are some interesting political arrangments that led to the decision to build the new airport in Denver. The City/County of Denver is essentially
56 Jsnww81 : Interior photos of Stapleton are very difficult to find. There are quite a few on Steve Gustafson's excellent website (the link was posted further up
57 William : I remember going through there in 87 and reading the brochures pushing for a NEW airport.......What caught my eye was that the NEW airport would only
58 Rydawg82 : As far as the reconstruction of A & B...Were the old buildings torn down and rebuilt from scratch? Or were they simply built over? Either way how did
59 Jsnww81 : To answer the question about the A/B reconstruction: B was built over to allow operations to continue. Concourse A was completely demolished and rebui
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