Kent State University's Andrew W. Paton Field was the first airport in Summit County and was opened in 1920 under the name of Stow Aviation Field. The field was created by The Ohio Flying School and Transport Company, and $100,000 worth of stock was issued. Part of the money was used to lease thirty acres of farm land from Fred Smith and to construct a hangar to house the school's four Jenny airplanes. In 1921, The Ohio Flying School and Transport Company went bankrupt and was then purchased by Joseph Ash who ran both the school and the field until approximately 1923 when he went bankrupt as well. In 1925, A.T. Simmons and Hugh Robbins formed the Robbins Flying Service, which built a small hangar in 1930 after the original hangar burnt down in 1927. During these early days, Charles Lindbergh, Eddie Rickenbacher, and Floyd Bennet were known to have used the field. Financial woes in the early 1930's forced the Robbins Flying Service to suspend operation.
The new operator, Frankie C. Renner formed Stow Flying Field, Inc. This made
her one of the first, if not the first, female airport operators on record.
In 1939, Rudy Van De Vere purchased the 78 acre farm from Smith and the airport
became known as Stow Field. By 1940 three sod runways were in use. In 1945 Van
De Vere built the terminal building and then in 1947 he erected the large army
surplus hangar on the field. The University purchased the airport from Van De
Vere in 1943 and renamed it the Kent State University Airport. In 1966, the
name of the field was changed to Andrew W. Paton Field to honor the professor
who taught the University's first aerospace course in 1947.
This collection, arranged alphabetically, contains a variety of materials including
newspaper clippings, brochures, reports, appraisals and facilities pertaining
to the Kent State University Airport. Most items date from the 1960's and 1970's,
with a few from the 1940's, 1990's, and 2004. Materials will be added to the
collection on a continual basis.