History Cable Airport is the largest privately owned airport open to the public in the country and was started in 1945 by Dewey and Maude Cable. It is presently owned and operated by their children and grandchildren. In the beginning, as World War II marched to its conclusion, Dewey set about making his dream of having his own airport a reality. He considered several different locations in what is now the Inland Empire area, finally settling on 80 acres of rocks and shrubs north of Foothill Boulevard, between Upland and Claremont. Dewey talked the owner into selling it to him for $8500, which was much less than he had been asking originally. This took all of Dewey and Maude’s savings, and the banks wouldn’t loan them money to develop the airport because the property, being watershed, was subject to flooding. Being the resourceful person he was, Dewey turned around and sold twelve acres to the Holliday Rock Company for $8,500, which gave him the money he needed to start construction. Another forty acres was purchased in 1948 and the final twenty acres in 1956. When it came time to start runway construction, Dewey was again frustrated by uncooperative banks and unwilling contractors. Contractors, looking at the rugged terrain with deep gullies, huge boulders, and rocks of all sizes, said it would cost a fortune to build the runways and quoted accordingly. That didn’t stop Dewey. He went ahead and built them himself. He rented two bulldozers and a carryall, and bought an old pull grader. With the help of his wife, two children, and some hired help he began construction on the first runway in March 1945. Thirty days later (for a fraction of the cost one contractor wanted) the first 1200 feet of runway was completed. Dewey had chosen to fill one of the eroded north-south ravines first, because it was the easiest to do. This became runway 1-19. Of course, it did have a steep 3.5% gradient, and the prevailing winds were across the runway instead of parallel. But that wasn’t a problem for an experienced pilot like Dewey. Besides, the important thing was that he could use it now, while the other longer runway was being built! Dewey used the dozer to clear the boulders and the grader to level the runways. Maude, his wife, drove a truck and hauled equipment. Roger, who was seven, marked outlines for the runway, which was no easy task because he was not tall enough to be seen from one point to another. Many times he had to stand on the top of the old Model T truck. Millie was thirteen and kept track of topsoil being delivered from the nearby rock quarry at fifty cents a truckload. The First Landing Dewey was not a patient man and was anxious to be the first to use his airport. As soon as he had cleared 1200 feet, he went over to Brackett, where he kept his Porterfield, took off and headed home for the first time. The date was May 23rd, 1945. It was a short flight to the strip he and his family had carved out of the San Antonio Wash. It looked small from the air, but he saw the future and it was huge. Everything appeared fine as he came in on final. But the runway had just been watered and he didn’t see a large rock that had been upended by the water truck. He flared expertly and had just touched down when one wheel hit the rock and was sheered off. The plane kept going, finally skidding to a stop. Upset but undaunted, he moved the plane out of the way and continued construction of the runway. There was no stopping now. The family reserves had been spent and the only way to survive was to get the airport operational. Dewey, Maude and the kids worked from sun‑up to sun‑down seven days a week to finish the runway. It wasn’t long before it was 1500 feet long and improved to a point where other planes started coming in. One of the first to arrive was Everett Bronson, who became their first tenant. He flew his Aeronca Chief in shortly after Dewey made his first landing, and stayed through the years. He has changed planes, but not airports. Bronson was Cable’s first tenant and is still there today. He is eighty-eight years young and now has a Piper Comanche. Maude made sure everyone was greeted with a smile. No one could turn down the Cable hospitality and welcome they got at the airport. They had rocks for tie downs and rattlesnakes for security, but it soon became known as the friendliest airport in the West. Thus Cable-Claremont Airport, as it was known then, was open for business in June 1945 with three aircraft being based there. “Claremont” was dropped from the airport name in 1961. It took another six months of hard work from daylight to dark to finish the main runway, 6-24, which was originally 2000 feet long. It was on nearly-level ground and had headwinds ninety percent of the time, which was ideal. By 1947 it had been lengthened to 2350 feet and was 110 feet wide. Building the runway was not easy because the whole place was nothing more than a huge pile of rocks, deep ravines, and washed out gullies. The more beautiful rocks were set aside for later use as building materials. Huge boulders, some bigger than the dozer, were used to fill the deep ravines. The rest of the rocks were dumped on top of the boulders, which gave the runways a solid rock base. After all the rocks were leveled out and compacted, the runways were covered with topsoil, surfaced with a two-inch coating of “Desert Mix,” and packed to a hard surface. Dewey had discovered the mixture, which consisted of fine gravel and oil, during one of his numerous trips to the desert. This construction method more than met CAA standards and added substantial longevity to the runways. During construction of the main runway, Walter returned from his short stint in the service and went right to work with his brother Roger and sister Millie. At night everyone was bone tired but they all pitched in and got the house chores done. Roger and Millie were back at the airport the next day as soon as school was out and worked until dark with their Dad and Mother. Maude was as committed to the success of the airport as was Dewey. She was there every day working beside him. She drove the truck, did the paperwork, and was a friend to everyone. When the day was done she went home and cooked dinner for the tired brood. Maude never complained and did everything she could to make the airport successful until the day she died in 1954.

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