February 4th 2021
Hogan International Airport is a tongue in cheek loving nickname for a part of our family farm that is now known as the Hogan’s Magnolia View Farm. The farm is named for the huge majestic Southern Magnolia trees that tower over the old home place. The farm has several sections and one holds a grass landing strip active with airplanes from the 1920’s to the 1990’s It has been mowed, not plowed, for most the last one hundred years creating a diversity of plants and insects most often associated with prairie. We call it the Hogan International and if you come along with me and visit you will see how funny the nickname is. There is nothing international about the grass strip that served as an airport all those years ago, the “airport” is very much tied to place, this one particular Piedmont North Carolina place.
There are a few old buildings around the grass strip including a hanger built in the 1930’s to hold a canvas covered airplane. There is a modern hay barn designed for protecting square baled hay , and a walk-in refrigerator (um-hum) that, for a time, served the purpose of a smoke house. When family members killed deer they would process then hang the animals in the walk-in refrigerator to cure.
Since the early 1990’s, after the planes were silenced, the hanger became my cousins wood shed for his firewood business. He took trees destined for the landfill by road builders and development activities in the area and spend hours cutting, splitting, and stacking wood in the hanger where for a year of covered seasoning the green wood was transformed to prized seasoned firewood. Year after year in the early fall he would deliver to excited customers.
For most of my life the hanger has been a place to meet, have coffee, and maybe watch the sun come up in the East. There is a nice long open view to the East. The long grassy runway runs north to south and is book-ended by yellow pines to the south and open fields to the north. It is a welcoming space with a big sky. And when I close my eyes, I can hear the refrain echo through generations “Let’s meet at the hanger in the morning.”