William and Harriet Alexander each contributed to Salida in their own way. William was an optometrist and jeweler in town, having his business at 142 F Street. He was mayor of Salida for three terms. After his death, Harriet was active in local politics, and served on city council. The Harriet Alexander Airfield is named in her honor.
W.C. Alexander’s Shop at 142 F Street is seen above. The following images are of William C. Alexander:
Harriet Alexander was a Salida City Councilwoman for ten years, and was proactive in advocating for a new airport. The Harriet Alexander Field was soon built, replacing the old airstrip located in Poncha Springs, near the present day Chaffee County Fairgrounds. The following transcript is taken from the Mountain Mail, June 15, 1964:
The Salida Airport Dedicated in 1964 to Harriet Alexander.
An estimated 500 persons attended the dedication of Harriet Alexander Field, Salida’s new municipal airport west of the city. Thirteen planes from Colorado and one from Missouri flew into the field during the day. Attending the fly-in breakfast held in the Robert Harrison hangar on the field were approximately 225 persons. Planes landing on the field during the day were from La Junta, Alamosa, Canon City, Aspen, Pueblo, Rifle, Steamboat Springs, Sterling, and Fort Morgan. Adverse weather in the Denver area is reported to have kept down the number of planes from that region.
Speakers at the dedication ceremony included Salida mayor Edward Touber who noted the hard work of so many people who worked to make the airport project a success. Mayor Touber also said that the funds for the project had come from so many sources – private person, business firms, and the federal government – that there is no way to thank each person individually for his contribution to this new air facility.
Former Salida City Councilwoman Harriet Alexander, after whom the airport is named, observed that she is proud to have the new airfield named for her. She also stated that she felt that the new airport will be a good thing for the Salida and Chaffee County communities.
Chairman of the Salida Chamber of Commerce airport and committee engineer, Robert Harrison described the physical aspects of the airport and noted that the airport is not a finished project. Future needs at the airport include a surfaced runway, Harrison said.
During the day there was a ‘terrific demand’ for airplane rides over the new field, Harrison reported. A plane piloted by Ashby Hibbs was unable to keep up with this demand and other planes on the field were pressed into service.
Winning trophies at the fly-in were: oldest pilot, George McCormick, 50, of Canon City; youngest pilot, Bob Bristole, 17, Fort Morgan; pilot flying the furthest distance, Harold Turner, Sterling. Arriving in his plane after the trophies had been awarded was Harold Laursen of Warrensburg, Missouri.
Extremely gratifying, it was noted, was the fine response of Salida area persons to the fly-in breakfast and dedication. Official greeter at the fly-in was Salida Chamber of Commerce President McVey.
from The Mountain Mail, June 15, 1964