From the files of Bob Malkas: A book about the airport

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Local Voices

Bob Malkas

When I first moved to Lansing, I could see the Chicago-Hammond Airport from the back yard of my home. I went to sleep every night under the watchful eye of the first rotating beacon ever atop Mr. Ford’s hangar.

I knew then that I was hooked. I decided that I would commit to charting how Lansing would manage this new responsibility it had just purchased.

My research began about that time, and I kept records. They still reside in my library today. I attended all public meetings that had Lansing Municipal Airport on the agenda and kept newspaper articles written about them. Letters were written to elected officials and government agencies. If necessary FOIAs were used. I even set up a meeting with Congressman Marty Russo at his home in South Holland.

When I felt conformable that I had facts and figures, I began to attend Village Board meetings and made my opinions known. Newspapers reported those stories so that the public could keep track of how events related to the airport were unfolding. Those articles made me known and resulted in me being appointed the first chairman of the newly created Airport Commission, and then as the Airport Manager. That was almost a 30-year adventure.

I knew I would someday have to tell this story to Lansingites and give them an opportunity to read it. This book is intended to be a gift to Lansing residents. The main goal is to teach history.

I believe that this approach can be a unifying tool for the village by making it realize the scope of what could be done when people work together to achieve a common goal.

These memories are only drawn from personal files. Nothing was asked of Village officials to supply documents from official records on files at the airport or the Clerk’s office. And I will not ask for them fearing that my request would not be granted.

I will call this work a first draft and invite comments from friends of the airport before the project continues. I plan to distribute a limited number of copies throughout the village and invite Lansingites to become part of the finished product. I don’t want opinions: I just want information that could serve to improve the finished product.

The topics addressed in this draft are extensive, but there is room for improvements and additions that could be incorporated into the finished product. If any Lansing history buffs will commit to read it, I will send them a copy and ask for their suggestions on how it could be improved.

Make requests to [email protected] or use Words in the Wind P.O. Box 168 Lansing, Illinois 60438 for a copy.

Bob Malkas


Local Voices is our version of “Letters to the Editor.” The opinions posted here are those of the writers, and posting them does not indicate endorsement by The Lansing Journal. We welcome input from fellow residents who have thoughtful things to say about topics that are important to our community. Send your submissions to The Lansing Journal with “Voices” in the subject line.

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