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How Was Denver Stapleton?  
User currently offlineTurboTristar From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (15 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 2064 times:

How was this old Denver airport? I'm told when I was two, I went to Stapleton with my mom and grandpa. But of course, I don't remember. I think that airport is haunted for some strange reason. It might be because it was half blown up, or maybe just because no one ever uses it anymore, and all of the equipment and stuff inside has nothing but dust covering it.

16 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineCody From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1963 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (15 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 1965 times:

I loved Stapleton. It made for easy connections, and it had a lot of history. Continental, Frontier, and Denver Ports Of Call all had large maintenance facilities there. The last time I was at Stapleton was about three years ago. I sat by the barb wire fence for about four hours and tried to imagine the good old days. All of the airlines mentioned above still had their hangars standing. I wonder if they are still there?

User currently offlineTommyBoy From United States of America, joined May 2000, 154 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (15 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 1955 times:

I lived right accross the street from Stapleton for a few months in 1976 as my wife and I were in the process of moving to Denver from Reno, Nevada. I was woke up EVERY morning at 5am by a United DC-10 taking off right over my house...I think it was a training flight.

It was a great airport to watch the airplanes..as a matter of fact, they had rooms with theater style seating that overlooked the tarmac..you'd pay a dime to go thru the turnstyles and could sit there all day.

I have a picture of a Texas International DC-9 that crashed at Stapleton sometime in the late '70's.

I left Denver in 1981, haven't had the chance to go back since '83, and often wonder what their doing with Stapleton or the land it's on since Denver International opened up.

User currently offlineBA From United States of America, joined May 2000, 11200 posts, RR: 57
Reply 3, posted (15 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1934 times:

Sadly Stapleton is almost gone, there are a few buildings left which will soon be gone. I heard they plan to keep the control tower just as a symbol of the airport. The last runway is almost gone. Here is a photo taken by AirNikon from a United Airlines Airbus A319-100 of what is left of Stapleton:

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © AirNikon

"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
User currently offlineNJTurnpike From United States of America, joined May 2000, 580 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (15 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1917 times:

I was in Denver last month. The driver that picked me up from the current airport and drove me into the centre of town, took a detour past Stapleton to avoid traffic on the freeways. It was really interesting to see the remnants of the old apron and runways, and to imagine what it must have been like. Beside the runways were still a couple of the taxiing signs, and just the vague impression that this was once a very busy place. I wish I could have had the opporutnity to see Stapleton whilst it was still in operation.


User currently offline367-80 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 51 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (15 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 1927 times:

I lived for fourteen years (1973-1987) near the intersection of 23rd Avenue and Monaco Boulevard in Denver, which is about a mile west-southwest from the threshold for Stapleton's runway 8R. I developed my love of airliners from watching the regular stream of arrivals on 8L and 8R, or departures on 26L/R, from my house.

In terms of proximity to aircraft movements, Stapleton was a pretty good spotters' airport. In addition to the aforementioned observer's theater (which closed in the late 1980s, well before the airport itself closed), the airfield had a number of good perimeter spots, particularly along the south side of the airfield at the approach end to 26L. The southern perimeter fence lay a mere 500 feet from 26L; on summer days you could smell the burning rubber as the aircraft touched down. The only other perimeter spot that's closer (that I know of) are the spots along the south side of Miami International. The Miami spots, however, are on the opposite side of a roadway, allowing traffic to obstruct your view. Not so at Stapleton; a number of parking lots abutted the actual perimter fence, meaning only the chain-link obstructed your view. In fact, one entrepreneur had constructed a wooden observation platform high enough to view over the fence--which the city closed after security concerns arose.

The east-west runways protuded to the east of the rest of the airfield, furthermore, such that Havana street curved around the thresholds, affording the spotter a number of good spots underneath and on the northside of the approaches as well. I even passed the time under the actual flight path of the arrivals on 26L/R, until the perimeter patrol got in the habit of moving along those who parked there.

As noted above, Stapleton was a major station for three large carriers in the 1980s--United, Continental and Frontier. All three maintained large maintenance facilities and flight kitchens. United's hanger and ramp, furthermore, abutted Quebec street. One could drive along Quebec Street, and the tails of parked UA aircraft would overhang the road. I recall seeing a variety of UA aircraft, including a number of DC-8s (-62s I believe) that UA parked for some time after their retirement.

Of course, United still maintains its pilot training facility on the grounds of Stapleton at Quebec Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

What Stapleton lacked, unfortunately, was a variety of traffic. The vast majority of movements consisted of UA, FL and CO aircraft, with regular if infrequent interruptions from the other majors. It could be frustrating. For a long time Stapleton had no regular B747 movements; for a while UA had seasonal Honolulu service with B747s, but I think that ended in the late 70s or early 80s.
Stapleton lacked international traffic as well, aside from Mexicana's B727s. The only intercontinental service, until Martinair's abortive Amsterdam service of the 1990s, was Condor's weekly charter to/from Germany. I always enjoyed the polished aluminum of Condor's DC-10s when they arrived. If you didn't catch them at the perimeter, you could snap photos from the terminal's ice cream shop, whose windows overlooked Stapleton's sole international gate (C-2).

Stapleton was the field at which I developed my love for and knowledge of commercial aircraft. While DIA is an architectural marvel, and finally has traffic volumes surpassing Stapleton at its height, I miss Stapleton's spotter-friendly layout.

David Earnest
Arlington, VA

User currently offlineCody From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1963 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (15 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 1904 times:


Whose hangar was the big white one along Quebec Street? It sort of sits diagonally behind the Continental Hangar. It is also sort of across the road from United's Hotel. I know Frontier had the one hangar that housed their headquarters I don't mean that one. And I don't mean the hangars that sit over on the other side where Ports Of Call was. I hope you know which one I mean. Anyway, who did it belong to? Is that Aerosquadron Restaurant still there?

User currently offlineDEN-HNL From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 164 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (15 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 1889 times:

The big hangar you're referring to was United's. By saying "UA's hotel", do you mean the Renaissance, or the Stapleton Plaza? The 94(?)th Aero Squadron has been long gone. I believe it burned down sometime while Stapleton was still in use. That was a good place to go and eat, not so much for the food (although that was good too), but for the location along 8R-26L. That was fun!

John Hancock
User currently offlineStlbham From United States of America, joined May 1999, 443 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (15 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 1873 times:

I remember flying in to stapleton about 2 months before it closed on a TWA 727. I remember when i booked the tickets i was expecting to fly into the new Denver airport but at the the time was diappointed when i had to fly into stapleton. Now that i look back on it I am glad i had the chance to visit an airport that is not with us now. It seemed when i was there to fairly busy. Who owns the land now, the city of Denver? and what are the the future development plans with the land? Also were there a lot of hotels, retail establisments, and so on that closed due to the closure of the airport. So was orginal plan just to slowly tear the place down or revive it for something and the money never showed up?



User currently offlineNWA Man From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 1828 posts, RR: 11
Reply 9, posted (15 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 1874 times:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the US government turn Stapleton into a giant postal center? If so, is it still there?


Create your own luck.
User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7907 posts, RR: 14
Reply 10, posted (15 years 11 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 1866 times:

Just found this... http://www.stapletoncorp.com/Default.htm

Seems like there is a large long-term redevelopment for the area. Pretty ambitious.

Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineStlbham From United States of America, joined May 1999, 443 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (15 years 11 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 1867 times:

Well i guess the link above answers my questions as to how much of the main airport facility is left. Not Much!!! They say all the concouses are gone along with most of the the buildings.



User currently offlineMEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4578 posts, RR: 31
Reply 12, posted (15 years 11 months 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 1860 times:

I visited the Stapleton area in May 1999. Then, many building and concourses were still there. It had quite a spooky atmosphere, all empty, fenced buildings. I took a 4 Mile walk to the other side of the area, which was even more interesting; there were some scrapping-facilities there and fuselages and noses of a DC-3, Grummans, a B-52? were there ...some scary dogs too   . I even climbed into the wreckage of a crashed Aspen Convair 580 which lies besides a freeway to take pictures. Search for earlier posts about the same subject.

nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
User currently offlineFlashmeister From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 2939 posts, RR: 6
Reply 13, posted (15 years 11 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 1857 times:
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The move from Stapleton to DIA was quite an orchestration. The spookiest part was going to Stapleton 2 days later... lots of stuff still going on with the move, but the spookiest thing was hearing the repeating curbside announcements drone on with the abrupt absence of anyone to hear them. Sort of reminds me now of that book/movie "The Langoliers"...

User currently offlineUal757 From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 809 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (15 years 11 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 1853 times:

their going to still keep the tower, right? if not... we need to fight to keep at least SOMETHING of the airport..

User currently offlineHP737 From United States of America, joined May 2000, 72 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (15 years 11 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 1842 times:

When I visited Denver in October of 1999, I passed by the old Stapleton on the interstate. It looked to me like a lot of the buildings were still there (then again I was just passing by), but it sounds like some demolition has been done since. I was wondering what was going to be done with it, but these threads have mostly answered that question. The new airport is awesome, but still sad to see the old one fade away!  

User currently offlineStlbham From United States of America, joined May 1999, 443 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (15 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1825 times:

I brought this thread out of the archieve to add to the discussion about stapleton. Take a look at the link above.



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