By Marianne Lincoln
On April 19, 1962, Harold LeMay, Jack Brown and William “Bill” Black filed the Shady Acres Corporation at the State of Washington Secretary of State’s Office. It started as a piece of property on 208th Street. George Brown Road (46th Ave.) ran through the middle of it diagonally. The three subdivided the property and sold 2.5 acre parcels to pilots to build their homes and hangars together and live where they could fly from their own back yards. In subsequent years, Covington, Eatonville, Yelm, Kapowsin and Sequim also sprouted residential airparks.
Original owners at Shady Acres included john Scholtens (The Flying Dutchman), Otto Wicklander (Wickland TV on Waller Road), Don Abbott (Abbott Dozing), Jack Brown (The Suburban Times), Harold LeMay (Pierce County Refuse), Bill Black, Duane Barry, Mel McGaughy. Wes Hanson, Erling Hanson, John Nelson, Lester Maddox, Jack Haworth, Ralph “Slim” Lawson, and Bill Hillstrom. My parents, Bill & Helen Scott bought in 1965.
Of course, there are also unique problems to flying out of a residential area. Cars, kids on bicycles, and pets need to be kept out of the way of arriving and departing aircraft. Shady Acres had the unique issue of having a hill on the north end that caused “sinkers,” down drafts that hit during landing and caused premature, rapid contact with the ground and damaged some gear for unwary pilots. Now there are kilns on the north that create some hot air discharges that can make for very bumpy rides as pilots pass over the industrial area.
Shady Acres made the news on occasion by seeking variances for homes with hangars, and extension south of 208th Street (Meyers Road) and for thinking it would all work better if 208th Street was closed because tunneling it below the runway was too expensive to consider.
In the interest of trying to make friends with all the neighbors in 1965, the Shady Acres Corporation organized and “Neighbor Lift” to take the neighbors flying. I made a list of all those who attended that still hangs in the Scott hangar to this day.
Of course, living on an airport, you get to see good landing and ones that were not so successful.
Then you do what you can to make the airport safer by adding pavement and lights in organized work parties with the other shareholders.
Building on raw land, you get help to put up the hangar, rather than a barn there. And you need water, so you call an old friend (Clarence Ralph) who is a dowser to help locate a good place for a well. I was fascinated and he showed me how it worked.
There are times you invite friends for a fly-In potluck and relax around the campfire with smores.
Weather can keep you from flying. 1972 was a year with particularly heavy snow.
And you make friends with military pilots also. The medivac helicopters were not popular with those who live in mobile homes, but they were interesting to chat with. After the Vietnam War ended, there were many flying around. Some of those pilots are now life-long friends.
Here are a few photos from the 1960’s and 70’s of Shady Acres Airport from the air.
Life in an airport community is a different way to grow up. My sister bought my parents home and still flies out of Shady Acres, although she recently build a one story home beside the hangar. Occasionally, she takes me up to get photos, usually during a flood, to see a new land use, or to buzz over my daughter’s house to wave at the grandkids. Many of the homes have changed hands, a few passed on to the next generations. More pilots are needed to keep it going and we know who to direct you to that may sell soon.
Happy 60th birthday Shady Acres Corporation!