Names suggested for Santa Barbara Airport are those of individuals who may have contributed time and money, but so did many others.

The airport land in Goleta was used as a landing strip as early as the 1920s. Dwight Murphy may have suggested Goleta be considered the site for an airport in 1927, but it wasn’t until 1934 that it was decided to make it a municipal airport, on the recommendation of Santa Barbara County’s first Planning Director, Leon Deming Tilton (1928-1942) after he made a detailed study of other sites. (Mr. Tilton at different times was consultant to the City of Santa Barbara Planning Commission and City Council.) For verification of Tilton’s involvement read article published January 31, 1934, in The Morning Press.

Jack Rickard had a role in annexing the airport by a small ocean corridor, but it was not his idea. The idea came from Tom Kleveland, reporter for The Santa Barbara News-Press, who suggested it to Charles Storke, who took it to attorney Francis Price Sr. After consulting with Price, Mr. Storke took this idea to Mayor Rickard, who set the wheels in motion. (See page 326 in the book Goleta, the Good Land, by Walker Tompkins, 1966.)

Taxpayers paid for the airport, including the use of Depression funds, not any single individual. The present name represents all taxpayers, and the names Santa Barbara and Goleta can be found on maps. Try Thomas M. Storke – who went to Washington D.C. to fight for the funds to build the airport – or make no change.

This story was amended on August 2, 2012. The original posting, due to an editor’s error, named Thomas M. Storke as the one to whom Kleveland took the original idea; it was Charles. We have also added the reason that the writer says it would be appropriate to name the airport after T.M. Storke.


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