The Candler Field Museum was established to recreate the old Atlanta airport as it existed in the 1920's and 1930's. The museum will consist of several buildings:


The American Airways Hangar - This building was completed in September, 2008 and is now open to the public. It is the first museum building to be built. Inside, the museum's collection of airplanes, cars, clothing and other items relevant to the era are displayed. In addition :


The new Barnstormers Grill is also open with room enough for parties, banquets and corporate events.

The Candler Field Terminal - this building will retain the Art Deco look of the original terminal, yet function as a hotel and large banquet facility.  This building will be built in the future.


The Doug Davis and Beeler Blevins Hangars - both of these two early, famous Atlanta aviators will have their hangars recreated to house museum artifacts.  The Doug Davis hangar was completed in early 2015 and now is home for our Youth Education Program.



Is the museum currently open?
Where is the museum located?
Does the museum own any aircraft?
Who should I contact if I am interested in working in the museum or if I have something to donate or loan?
If I donate can I receive a tax deduction?
What if I want to visit the museum – is there any place I can stay?
You are planning to replicate a portion of the old Candler Field. What buildings will be built first?
Do you host events at the museum?
Do you have an alliance with any other museum?
Do you plan on having museum members who will have special privileges?
Do you plan on having any type of aircraft flight instruction?

Candler Field Museum History

Asa Griggs Candler, a civic leader and entrepreneur decided to build an automobile race track in 1909 near the town of Hapeville, Georgia.  Mr. Candler is best known as the founder of the Coca-Cola Company.  Candler, working with two other men, purchased acreage on the south side of Atlanta.  The plan was to build a lavish race track patterned after the Indianapolis Speedway (already open at this time).  The race track opened in late 1909 hosting a number of famous race car drivers such as Barney Oldfield.  People came in large numbers to watch the automobiles race.  The raceway did not last long as poor revenue forced closure after the initial season.

In December, 1910, the former speedway hosted an aerial exhibition consisting of endurance flights, speed races, and other aerial feats.  In 1911, aviation events were once again held over Hapeville, Georgia.  On November 15-17, more than 8,000 people viewed three days of airplane, auto, and motorcycle racing.  Among those in attendance was twenty-one year old Bill Hartsfield who later became mayor of Atlanta.


 The original race track in 1909.



This is an original photo of the 1910 event given to the museum by Jack Grey, Jr.  The airplane is a Curtiss Pusher.



Pictured above are Louis Chevrolet and Asa Candler at the original track in 1920.


Airmail service was to begin in 1918. The people of Atlanta were hoping that their city would be one of the first to receive this service. The only problem an airfield was needed. The raceway was occasionally used by pilots to land a military plane or a barnstorming plane but only a small area of the raceway was level enough to be used as a landing strip. Atlanta resident James H. Elliott leased the racetrack and proceeded to clear a 3.5 acre area that could be used for aircraft operations (when the wind was right). In the fall of 1919, he opened a flying business using a Curtiss Jenny. Rides were sold to those brave enough to spend a few minutes in the area for $1 a minute. Mr. Elliott approached the local leaders several times to try to get the site improved. He received no response and in 1923 he sold his interests in the airfield. Most people at that time felt that flying in aircraft was a foolish idea.

It was early 1924 before things began to occur again at Candler Field. Airmail possibilities began to surface once again and pressure was mounted for Atlanta to have an airfield suitable for the early airmail airplanes. A number of other locations were considered. Meanwhile, two local pilots were doing their best to convince Bill Hartsfield (now mayor of Atlanta) to take Atlanta into the air age. These two men Doug Davis and Beeler Blevins were instrumental in the aviation movement in Atlanta. At different times, each of these men owned a charter service and flying school working off of Candler Field. Blevins was the second person to build a hangar on Candler Field.

Doug Davis was actually born near Griffin, Georgia. Davis initially flew for Ben Epps, of Athens, Georgia.



Doug Davis hangar as it appeared on Candler Field in 1925.  The picture has the wrong date.


He then formed the Doug Davis Flying Circus performing in the local area. Throughout the early 1920's, Davis flew out of the speedway later to become Candler Field. Davis built the first hangar on Candler Field. Davis later became operations manager for Southern Air Transport resigning after American purchased S.A.T. He then became a pilot for Eastern Air Transport (later Eastern Airlines) and was at the controls of an E.A.T. aircraft that inaugurated the Atlanta  New York route on December 10, 1930. Davis always believed that airplanes would be instrumental in the history of Atlanta. He finally found a supporter  William B. Hartsfield. Davis managed to convince Hartsfield that Candler Field was the logical place for the Atlanta Airport.


Candler Field in early 1930's

In early 1925, several civic organizations began the search for the Atlanta Airport. Asa Candler had offered to lease his tract of land near Hapeville, Georgia for 5 years if the city would pay the taxes. He then gave them an option to purchase. On April 16, 1925 a document was signed that gave Atlanta its first airfield. Hartsfield hoped to have Asa Candler eventually donate the land so he introduced a motion to have the field named Candler Field. The proposal was adopted. On April 13, 1929, the city of Atlanta purchased Candler Field for $94,400. Mr. Ellis Barrett, the head of the aviation committee, stated "We are ready to begin to make Atlanta the southern aviation metropolis".This purchase will mean much more to Atlanta in the future than we can realize at this time.



Picture above shows an overlay of the race track on the Atlanta Airport after the mid-field terminals were constructed. 


The Aircraft in the Museum's Collection include:

  • 1917 Curtiss JN-4
  • 1928 Curtiss Robin
  • 1930 6L Stearman
  • 1940 Douglas DC-3A
  • 1941 PT-17 Stearman
  • Waco YMF-5


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Photos and old documents


We are uploading several original Eastern Airlines newsletters that were given to the museum by Skipper Hyle.  Skipper's grandfather was employed by Eastern and saved these newsletters. 


February, 1930 Eastern Airlines Newsletter below 



June, 1930 Eastern Airlines Newsletter below



July, 1930 Eastern Airlines Newsletter below



September, 1930 Eastern Airlines Newsletter below



October, 1930 Eastern Airlines Newsletter below




December, 1930 Eastern Airlines Newsletter below






Picture of original speedway that later became Candler Field -  Picture

taken in 1909