An Airport for the Nation's Capital
In the photo at right, President Franklin D. Roosevelt lays the corner stone for Washington National Airport in September 1940. The Civil Aeronautics Administration had begun building the facility two years earlier.
Roosevelt took a personal interest in the project, and influenced the terminal design to give it a more classical style. The President was probably responsible for inclusion of the portico shown in the view (right) of the completed structure.
When it opened in June 1941, the "peoples' airport" was a state-of-the-art facility. The view from the tower (left) included the banks of the Potomac River, where some of some 500 acres of land had been filled to support the runways.
The CAA and its successor, the FAA, continued to operate National until its transfer to a regional authority in 1987. Eleven years later, the facility was renamed Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.