Business View Magazine Jan-2019

86 THE SCHOLES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AT GALVESTON AIRPORT OF THE YEAR “ It’s had quite a colorful history,” says Mike Shahan,Airport Director at the Scholes International Airport on beauti- ful Galveston Island in the Gulf of Mexico, some 50 miles southeast of Houston,Texas.“Before it was an airport, it was a watermelon field,”Shahan continues.“We had a barnstormer by the name of Bob Scholes out here.He was flying around the City of Galveston and using the beach to land and take- off, and they told him it was too dangerous and he had to go somewhere else. So, he went outside of town to set up shop, here,where the Airport is now.That was back in the ‘20s.” Galveston was first settled in the early 1800s and once briefly served as the national capital of the independent Republic of Texas before it became a U.S. state in 1845. By the end of the 19th century, before the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 nearly destroyed the island, the Port of Galveston had emerged as a prosperous and prominent center of trade for the region. But despite attempts to draw investment to the City after the devastating storm, Galveston never returned to its previous levels of national importance or prosperity. It did reinvent itself, however, in the “Roaring Twenties” as a popular entertainment and (somewhat illegal) gambling destination. The Galveston Municipal Airport first opened in 1931, on airfield land which had been bought by the City. It was built, in part, to help foster the local economy,which was depen- dent on those entertainment dollars from both the Houston