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Airport History

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- Aviation played a vital role in the development and economy of the city after the Florida land boom of the 1920s, during World War II, and throughout the years that followed.

- Venice Municipal Airport (VNC) was built in the early 1940s by the United States government to serve as a flight training facility during World War II. At the end of the war, the airport was given to the City of Venice with the stipulation that if it were not used as an airport it would revert back to the United States government.  

-The first recorded flight to Venice delivered fresh strawberries to Hotel Venice on January 13, 1927. That aircraft landed on Nassau Street. 

- Dr. Fred Albee, the renowned orthopedic surgeon, was a pilot who recognized the value of a community airport.

- He donated land, near the current sites of Venice High School and Venice Avenue Bridge, where the Civil Aeronautics Authority and the Works Progress Administration constructed markers for the sod runways in January 1936.

- Later in the year, the Fred Albee Municipal Airport was dedicated with much fanfare. Albee purchased a five‐passenger aircraft and hired his nephew, a pilot, to fly his patients to his private orthopedic hospital in Venice known as Florida Medical Center. A hangar, offices, flight training school and repair shop were completed at the grass airfield in 1939.

Venice Army Base PhotoIn 1942, O.W. Caspersen donated 1,600 acres on the south side of the city where the United States Army built the Venice Army Air Base. The base was fully operational by 1943. At its peak, it housed 6,000 airmen who learned to fly P‐39s, P‐40s, P‐47s and P‐51 Mustangs. In all, about 20,000 pilots, including some Chinese‐American pilots, learned to fly for the war effort in Venice.

- With the war over, the city was granted a license to operate the airport on May 20, 1946. On June 10, 1947, ownership of the airport was transferred by quit claim deed from the United States of America to the City of Venice under provisions of the Surplus Property Act of 1944.

- Many of the pilots who trained at the base later returned to Venice, where they becameVenice Army Base with Airplanes
residents, business owners and civic leaders. The Army Air Base leaves a legacy beyond today's airport boundaries.

- Besides providing the land and much of the infrastructure that is still in use today, the airport was the founding home of the Venice Little Theater (today known as Venice Theatre) in 1950. It operated there until 1972 when it relocated to its current downtown location.

- Hill and Hill Plumbing also got its start on airport property and is still in business today.

- The former VAAB chapel building was relocated to become the first building to serve as Epiphany Cathedral.

- The Triangle Inn accommodated many servicemen and their wives when it was operated as a bed and breakfast.