Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Manzanar Airport
(Inyo County Airport)
Manzanar Airport circa 1943. Manzanar Relocation Center can be seen across the road from the airport.
US Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District History (1999)

Manzanar Airport is located 9.5 miles north of Lone Pine, Inyo County, California, adjacent to and east of Highway 395, opposite the site of the former Manzanar Relocation Center.

Site History: The 619.02-acre site, leased 13 November 1941 by the County of Inyo from the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) , was intended to be a federal airport operated by the Army Air Corps. However, before its construction, begun by Army in January 1942, was completed, its use as a federal airport was precluded by the establishment of the Manzanar Relocation Center for internment of the Japanese-Americans at a site opposite, on the west of Highway 395. In May 1942, operation and maintenance responsibilities were transferred to the County of Inyo, and construction of the two runways, a taxiway, and various buildings, was completed by the County.

The airport was not used by the Relocation Center. Military use of the airport first occurred during World War II when Army Air Corps and Navy cadets received basic ground school and flight training under the Civilian Pilot Training program (CPT) and the War Training Service program (WTS), conducted at the airport by the Ross Aeronautical School from June 1942 until August 1943. As such it was a auxiliary field to the main school located at Lone Pine Airport. In October 1942, the California State Guard leased part of the airport for use by its observation squadrons
After World War II, military aircraft had transient use of the airport from 1 July 1951 until 30 June 1956 under Use Permit LA-629 from the County of Inyo. The County of Inyo declared the airport abandoned 24 May 1956, and the lease with DWP was terminated 1 July 1956. The County did not renew Use Permit LA-629 after June 30 1956. All structures except the two runways, taxiway, and powerhouse, were removed by the County and DWP.
Since 1956, the site has been leased to ranchers and the runways beneficially used by the public for Time Trials and driving practice. There has been ad hoc military and public use of the site under permit from the DWP. No improvements have been made to the site since the abandonment of the airport.
Extract, Decermber 1945 Army Air Forces Directory of Airfields
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Updated 5 May 2016