Tuesday, July 24, 2018

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preston airfield marlboro airport new jersey abandoned

New Jersey is filled with history. Some of it is preserved, and some of it is left to rot. This is the case with this abandoned airport. Preston Airfield, also known as Marlboro Airport, located in Morganville, New Jersey is one of the top places that I have been to. While it is a smaller airfield, it’s not something that is as common as an abandoned house.

Rhea Preston was the man responsible for building the airport. In 1932, Preston flew his first plane at age 20. After that, he started taking lessons, and was hooked. In 1939, he began using a flat portion of the Preston Farm to take off and land his Luscombe Silvaire that he bought that year. When WWII started, he left for the Navy.

preston airfield marlboro airport new jersey abandoned

When he came back home, be wanted to build is own airport on the 44 acre farm. It took a while for the township to get on board, but all the necessary paperwork was completed, and the Preston Airport opened in 1954 with a single dirt runway. Just before 1972, the airfield gained a paved runway and was later sold. Preston said it was a lot of work to keep the place running, and it wasn't exactly profitable.

By 1974, there were about 100 planes associated with the airfield. The same year, it was named the “best maintained” airport by the state’s Aviation Advisory Council. The next year, it was approved for 21 new hangers and an 840 square foot operational building. As time went on, the name was changed to Marlboro Airport (due to the township it was in – Marlboro Township), and owners changed.

Its fate became sealed when it was purchased in 2000 by Marlboro Holdings LLC, and that land was to be turned into housing. It was closed for good in 2002, and the hopes of it being turned into housing failed after federal count cases proved the mayor accepted bribes to get the area re-zoned.

Today, everything is gone expect for some rubble and the crumbling runway. When I went in 2010, the buildings were still there, and so was the runway. Part of the airfield is used as a cemetery, and I believe the rest is now owned by the Monmouth County Park System.

I sort of went on a whim while scouting another location that will be featured in an upcoming post, and I went while the sun was going down. I don’t like going to abandoned places in the dark. It’s harder to see, harder to take pictures, and looks more suspicious. However, I parked my car at the end of the cemetery, which still had some snow on the ground where it was piled up after the last storm, and walked up to the field.

With the sun setting, my pictures were not that great, so I apologize. The area was eerie. It was empty. Therefore, I loved it. The buildings and hangers had some plane parts, paperwork, and other historic artifacts of the once popular airport. It was messy inside, but it did not seem like it was too vandalized. I didn’t get to explore all the buildings due to the setting sun, but I did get to see the hangers on the north side of the property, and south-west side.

It’s a shame that history falls apart sometimes like this, but it’s people like me who hope to help preserve it, if only just text and some pictures. If you wish to learn more about the airfield, there is a book by Randall Gabrielan that has a small section on it, but it also covers some great local history. There is also a website by Paul Freeman that covers abandoned and little-know airfields and covers the airport history in great detail. If you want to see more of what Mother Nature takes back as hers, then keep coming back to this blog, as there is plenty more to come.




preston airfield marlboro airport new jersey abandoned

preston airfield marlboro airport new jersey abandoned

preston airfield marlboro airport new jersey abandoned

preston airfield marlboro airport new jersey abandoned

preston airfield marlboro airport new jersey abandoned

preston airfield marlboro airport new jersey abandoned

preston airfield marlboro airport new jersey abandoned

preston airfield marlboro airport new jersey abandoned

preston airfield marlboro airport new jersey abandoned

preston airfield marlboro airport new jersey abandoned


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