July 2018

270 271 Northgraves recounts that construction was almost completed on the triangle-shaped facility when World War II began and the U.S. Navy requisitioned the facility, along with several others along the Atlantic coast, to use as satellite airports. “Brunswick was the Naval Air Station that sent aircraft out to these airports,” he explains. “After the war, the Civil Aeronautics Board deeded it back to the City of Rockland. Rock- land maintained it for several years, although, for a small town to try and maintain a fairly busy airport, even at that time, it wasn’t eco- nomically possible for them to continue doing that. Plus, oddly, the airport wasn’t in the City of Rockland. So Rockland owned it, but it sat in the middle of Owls Head (a nearby town).” Rockland turned the airport over to Knox County in 1968, which renamed it the Knox County Regional Airport and did away with one of the three runways. “At the same time, a man named (Jim) Rockefeller, who frequented the area, with several partners, established a museum at one end of the abandoned run- way,” says Northgraves. “So now we have the Owls Head Transportation Museum, which for many years was part of the Airport, proper, but ended up being sold to them or given to them a few years later. So that’s now off-airport, but it has access to the Airport.” Knox County has made significant improve- ments at the facility using Federal Aviation Administration funding. “In recent years, they’ve added a parallel taxiway and redid the terminal building, which for years had been a double-wide trailer with three other trailers attached, to satisfy some FAA requirements. In 2010 they built the new terminal.” The State of Maine also helps to finance capital improvement projects at the Airport through transportation bonds and aviation fuel taxes, while Knox County taxpayers subsidize Airport operations. “Last year, about $90,000 came from the local taxpayers,” says Northgraves. He adds that over the next few years, that subsidy will decrease as they make the Airport a more attractive bed-down location. “We’re going to start trying to develop hangars, next year,” he continues. “And we just increased the length of our primary runway from 5,007 feet to a little THE KNOX COUNTY REGIONAL AIRPORT