THIS IS SURRATTS FOUNDATION E-NOTICE 2012-11 OF NOVEMBER 1, 2012
Here are some items that might be of interest:
1. 2012 ANNUAL CAMPAIGN IN PROGRESS. As announced in the last e-Notice, the Foundation's 2012 annual campaign is now underway. We're hoping that many of our readers who might have been inspired to contribute in the past, but have not done so, might consider making a contribution to this year's campaign. We recently received funding requests for several very exciting programs at the School, so this year's donors will be making an immediate and significant impact on the lives of the great kids at Surratts.
Contributions can be made on-line at the Foundation' web site at www.surrattsville.org, using paypal or a credit card. Just look for the "Donate" button at the bottom right of the home page. And of course contributions are welcome by mail, and a donor form is pasted below.
Remember: the Foundation has no overhead, so every contribution dollar goes directly to supporting the great kids at Surratts. And no contribution is too small (or too large) to make a difference.
(Of course, the Foundation does not share any information about its donors -- or its e-Notice subscribers -- with anyone for any purpose, nor does the Foundation do any solicitations of any kind other than these e-Notice announcements about these annual campaigns.)
Many thanks to those very generous early 2012 annual campaign donors listed below, and thanks to all of our readers for considering participating in this year's campaign!
2. SURRATTSVILLE COMMUNITY LOSES LONG-TIME EDUCATOR. Richard "Butch" Mortimer (57) died on October 30. Mr. Mortimer provided a strong musical inspiration to thousands of Surrattsville students, starting with his days as a band teacher at Tanglewood Elementary School and with the Prince George's Schools Summer Band Program and continuing through his years as the highly-successful director of the very accomplished Surrattsville Band. Butch is fondly remembered for his extraordinary musical enthusiasm, his great school spirit, and his willingness to urge his students to reach their full musical and academic potential. He continued his musical leadership after retiring by directing the Southern Maryland Concert Band, an ensemble that included many Surrattsville alumni. (Your editor, who was a lucky trumpet student of Mr. Mortimer's at Tanglewood and in summer band, believes Butch also served as the Class President of the Class of 57.)
Visitations will be held at the Huntt Funeral Home at 3035 Old Washington Road in Waldorf on November 7 from 2 - 4p.m. and 6 – 8 p.m. The funeral service will be held at that same location on November 8 at 11 a.m.
3. SEEKING LOST HORNET. Fred Thomson (56) and his wife Jane Keplinger Thomson (57) are attempting to contact Jerry Gonzales (56). Please contact them at email@example.com if you have any information that might be helpful.
4. LOCAL AIR FIELDS UPDATE; ACHIEVEMENT AWARD RECIPIENT'S VOICE FEATURED AT GETTYSBURG. This month's Surratts history item is this interesting aeronautical update from Dana Shifflett (70): "I 'm still digging into the forgotten South Piscataway airport, and I've had some help from Upper Marlboro in the email pasted below. Of particular note is the second to the last paragraph, which quotes from an interview with a local pilot. There also is a link in the body of Cathy's e-mail. Of other interest: We were at Gettysburg a week ago, and noted that the film in the visitor's center features the voice of Marcia Gay Harden (76). Visited Hyde Field last Tuesday and met Stan Fetter, the manager. When I mentioned he was supposedly going to shut the doors in 2011, he said plans for development are gone with the economy and we may just have an airport after all. It looks bad. Some of the hanger roofs along Piscataway Road have caved in. Dad's hanger #23 has been converted to storage units. I saw very few aircraft. Dana"
Hi Dana- Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. I just wanted to let you know that it has been a fun respite from my normal job to look into this. I found the responses that you cited from the Surrattsville Alumni website also-that was interesting-you were right-a lot of folks thought you meant Hyde and also there was a mention of the Columbia Air Center.
Anyway-I am afraid I don’t have much to add to your search from the deeds and plats, which I have attached. Thomas Douglas Schall bought the land in 1937 after equity proceedings and sold it in 1947 when it was subdivided as South Piscataway. Somewhere between that time he renamed the roads because they had different names when he purchased the property in 37.
He may have operated a small field before the war or immediately afterwards but it would not have been for long. When we entered the war in 1941 all airfields in the metro area were either closed or taken over by the military soon after. Things would not resume until after the war ended in 1945.
He might have jumped on the bandwagon after the war, as that is when many of the other airfields in the county were established or had a big expansion. All those guys coming home from the war having learned to fly, or being able to take flying lessons at the University of Maryland CPTP program through the GI Bill provided big profits for most small airfields.
Air navigation maps were practically non-existent during the war. That doesn’t mean he couldn’t have been a salesman for Luscombes before then, as seems clear, or loved aviation so much that he renamed the streets surrounding his property.
My guess is that he likely operated the airfield before the war as a way to sell his aircraft. There was, perhaps, a benefit to being able to fly into Piscataway Field to look over or purchase an airplane and then fly it out of there upon purchase. Once he had to close down due to WWII, perhaps he never was able to again gain his momentum to open back up, and sold the property soon after. There is no mention of an “airfield” in the deed.
Attached are the first pages of the deeds, the subdivision plats and a map from PGAtlas in which I highlighted the land in green. Link to map here: http://www.pgatlas.com/#/Advanced?ext=DcefSZF5t0i98aFJUfuxSA==
You have certainly pulled enough information together for there to be probable cause that an Airfield was operated on this property. It seems likely that since it was probably only in existence for a few years with the interruption of the war-that it was never properly designated. Sorry I couldn’t be more help. If you are able to find out anything more I would be very interested.
The College Park Aviation Museums holds much of the information on the Maryland’s early fields in our archives. But this is all we have on Piscataway. We initiated the book Maryland Aloft, about Maryland’s Aviation History and help guide its author. He spent over a year researching maps, documents and oral histories. One of the oral histories that we shared with him included one done with Dotty Waggy Warren in 1996, a local pilot who worked for ERCO for Henry Berliner. She noted that “another small airport, which was in Prince George’s County was Piscataway Airport. Doug Schall owned and operated the airport in the late 1930’s. The runways were all grass. Today all that suggests its existence are street signs stating Schall Road and Airport Road. A housing development and an elementary school stand on the location today”. I guess this was not enough documentation to make its way into the book. I know he tried to find more.
On another note-I did not read your comments on the “Save the Airport” info until looking over your comments today. That effort was indeed led by Ken Beatty as well as pilot Ken Lewis. That was a few years before I came to the airport. I started the small museum I first operated right next to that operations office you mentioned, in two temporary school trailers. This group did in fact save the airport by convincing the MNCPPC Department of Parks & Rec to purchase it and operate it as both a historic site and operating Airport. Today it is thriving. The new museum we opened in 1998 is beautiful and we are now going to build a new operations building right next to it. Both buildings, including the current Ops building have moved to the middle of the field since we were forced to move when Metro came in to build adjacent to the RR tracks. (www.collegeparkaviationmuseum.com) .
Feel free to keep in touch with me. I will do the same if I find out anything else about Piscataway Airfield. Catherine W. Allen, Assistant Parks Division Chief, Natural & Historical Resources Division, Prince George's County Parks"
5. CLASS OF 64 50 YEAR REUNION. We received this announcement about the Class of 64's upcoming golden event: "The Class of 1964 is planning a 50th reunion in Ocean City for late September 2014. It might seem a long way off, but we all know how fast time goes by. We need to firm up a place, reserve a block of rooms to set aside, and determine how much space we will need. Please email Ginger Trapanotto, firstname.lastname@example.org or Phil Foster, email@example.com if you (alone or with a guest) are interested in attending. Also, if you know the whereabouts of any former classmate, please ask him/her to email one of us or you can forward the information to us. We appreciate any help you can provide and the "committee" is looking forward to re-visiting the 60s with everyone."
6. "CLASS OF 71 TURNS 60" EVENT. The Class of 71 is planning a "Class of 71 Turns 60" gathering for July 25-July 29, 2013. If you are a Class of 71 member and would like to be placed on the list for information about this gathering, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(And please don't forget three of those many wandering Class of 71 rings that have made their way back to the Foundation and are as yet unclaimed: a boy's ring with what looks like "DLD" inscribed inside, a girl's ring with what looks like "MTF" or "MJF" inscribed inside, and a girl's ring with what looks like "DMT" or "DMJ" inscribed inside. There likely will be more – just ask Butch Spradling!)
7. FOUNDATION FACEBOOK PRESENCE CONTINUES TO GROW. The Foundation's Facebook Group – called "Surrattsville Alumni" – continues to grow, and now has almost 1420 members. This is a great, and free, way for folks to stay in touch. Similarly, the Class-specific Facebook Groups – that have names like "Surrattsville 1973" and the like -- continue to grow. I've noticed that these Facebook Groups are becoming an increasingly active way for folks to share memories and news updates of interest to the Surrattsville community. Please consider joining the Surrattsville Alumni Group, and your own Class-specific Group.
8. SUMMER JOB OPPORTUNITES. We received this nice summer job tip from Neal Dawson (73): "It's time to apply for SEAP and NREIP! Do you know a high school or college student who is interested in science, technology, math and/or engineering? Applications for the Science and Engineering Apprentice Program (SEAP) and the Naval Research Enterprise Intern Program (NREIP) opened on October 1! These competitive intern programs provide an opportunity for students to participate in research at a Department of Navy (DoN) laboratory during the summer.
SEAP is open to applicants who will be 16 by the start of the program. It pays $3,225 for the 8 week summer internship. More information and details about eligibility can be found at
http://seap.asee.org/ . NREIP is a 10 week internship open to both undergraduate and graduate students (enrolled at a 4 year U.S. college or university deemed accredited by the U.S. Department of Education. Site has link to search for those colleges/universities). For undergraduate students the stipend is as follows: Sophomores receive $5,385.00. Juniors and Seniors receive $8,075.00. Graduate students will receive $10,750.00. More information and details about eligibility can be found at http://nreip.asee.org/.
Note that the application window opens October 1 and applications must be complete, including all supporting documentation, no later than January 7. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Apply now!"
MANY THANKS TO THESE DONORS TO THE 2012 CAMPAIGN!