Charlotte, NC

The Man Behind CLT Airport's Name

The Hornet's Nest

CHARLOTTE, NC - From the roads to the airport's facilities, there are many names involved in Charlotte Douglas International Airport such as Morris Field, Wilson Air Center, Harlee Avenue, and more. The most notable of all, however, is the one contained in the airport's name.

Known as the "builder of modern Charlotte", Ben Elbest Douglas Sr. served three terms as Charlotte mayor from 1935 to 1941. He is a significant figure who brought commercial aviation to the City of Charlotte. His other contributions to the city were establishing the first low-cost public housing and leading the construction of Independence Boulevard.

To honor Douglas's contributions, the airport was named Douglas Municipal Airport in April 1941, on a day which he described as "the proudest day of my life". The airport was renamed to Charlotte Douglas International Airport in 1982. The airport's Harlee Avenue was named after Douglas' wife, Harlee Todd Douglas.

Douglas was famous for his deep dedication to the city. In an occasion, Douglas stated that he would rather be Charlotte mayor than the vice-president of the United States. He was the first mayor of Charlotte who got into office through an election.

Aside from politics, Douglas was also an ample businessman. His businesses included Douglas and Sing mortuary, Douglas Realty Co., and Douglas Furs, that he started after committing a contract with the U.S. government to clean the military's bomber jacket

After a long and successful life, Douglas died on July 27, 1981 at the age of 86. The memory of him will keep living throughout the city, and the airport especially.

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