In November 1929, the City of Tallahassee celebrated the grand opening of Dale Mabry Field. Named after the famed World War I Army pilot and Tallahassee native Captain Dale Mabry (1891-1922), the air field became the city's first municipal airport. On January 24, 1941, Dale Mabry Field became an Army base where officers and enlisted men trained, lived, and socialized in barracks and buildings located onsite. Once the United States entered World War II, thousands more soldiers entered the base and Dale Mabry Field took on an important role in the country's war effort. Not only did Americans train at Dale Mabry Field, but Chinese and French cadets also travelled to the base to complete their training.
By the end of World War II in 1945, Florida anticipated the return of thousands of veterans into the state's higher education system. As a result of the educational benefits provided by the GI Bill, universities and colleges throughout the country experienced record enrollments. At the University of Florida, administrators found it impossible to accommodate the influx of veterans that applied. As a result, administrators asked veterans if some would be willing to attend classes at Florida State College for Women (FSCW) in Tallahassee, if the college provided adequate housing, transportation, and instruction. Over 500 veterans agreed to the compromise and on September 2, 1946, the Florida Legislature authorized the opening of the Tallahassee Branch of the University of Florida (TBUF).
In order to housethe veterans, FSCW purchased land and buildings at the recently vacated Dale Mabry Field. After World War II, the War Assets Administration sold parcels of the air field to various institutions and organizations in need of space. Known as West Campus, converted barracks served as student housing and classrooms, while officers' headquarters became administrative buildings. To get from West Campus to the main campus at FSCW, students rode on school buses. In addition to male students, married couples and (female) FSCW students lived and socialized in the converted barracks on West Campus.
Campbell, Doak Sheridan. Florida State University. Office of the President. Administrative Files, 1941-1957. State Library and Archives of Florida.
Kenneson, Claude. Dale Mabry Field, Tallahassee, Florida. 2008. State Library and Archives of Florida.
Pictorial Review of Dale Mabry Field, Fla. Houston, Texas: E.M. Berry, 194-. State Library and Archives of Florida.
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Tallahassee native Captain Dale Mabry, the son of Ella Dale Barmlet and former Florida Supreme Court Justice Milton Harvey Mabry, fought for the United States Army during World War I. After the war, the Army commanded Captain Mabry and his crew to return the Italian semi-rigid airship Roma back to the United States. On February 21, 1922, while flying the Roma in Norfolk, Virginia, Captain Mabry and others in his crew crashed the airship and died. The city of Tallahassee, Florida, commemorated the local hero and named their first municipal airport after him, Dale Mabry Field.
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Dale Mabry Field was named in honor of Tallahassee native Army Captain Dale Mabry, killed while commanding the Army semi-rigid airship Roma on February 21, 1922, which crashed at Norfolk, Virginia.
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Note from sleeve: FSCW students in Civil Aeronautics class; Ivan Munroe, instructor, at propeller.
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From 1941 to 1945, Dale Mabry Field in Tallahassee, Florida, served as an Army air base. During World War II, base operations included flight and mechanical training. Enlisted men and officers were housed in barracks located onsite.
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These four photographs taken from Dale Mabry Field include British, Chinese, and American officers; nurses; and Sunday services.
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L-R: Bob Gustafson, Ralph Esterling, Charles Jones. Photographed January 27, 1944, just prior to being shipped out.
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U.S. Army training facilities, including those at Dale Mabry Field, remained officially segregated until 1948.
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Photographed January 27, 1944, just prior to being shipped out.
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Chinese pilots received training during World War II at Dale Mabry Field in Tallahassee.
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After World War II, many veterans returning to Florida sought a college education as a result of the educational benefits in the GI Bill. As a result, the University of Florida (UF) experienced record enrollment as thousands of veterans applied to the university. Unable to accommodate all of the students, UF asked veterans if some would be willing to attend Florida State College for Women (FSCW) in Tallahassee. In September 1946, the Florida Legislature authorized the opening of the Tallahassee Branch of the University of Florida, making it the first time male students attended FSCW since 1905.
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In 1946, the Florida Legislature authorized the opening of the Tallahassee Branch of the University of Florida to house the over 500 male students, many of them World War II veterans, that would attend classes at Florida State College for Women (FSCW). To house the male students, FSCW purchased land and buildings located on the abandoned Dale Mabry Field site about three miles from the main FSCW campus. Barracks and officers' headquarters were converted into housing, classrooms, and other administrative buildings.
"Something new has been added... T' was rumored that on Halloween, from Westcott's highest spire, a voice was heard to wail, 'Born thirty years too soon'."
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Formerly Dale Mabry Field, a U.S. Air Force training base. The barracks were converted into dorms and classrooms.
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Mr. Patterson was the first student to register for the TBUF program (Tallahassee Branch of the University of Florida), 1946-47. He was one of 507 men enrolled at Florida State College for Women in 1946. TBUF was created to serve men returning from World War II because there was no room at the state men's college, the University of Florida. They were the first men on campus since 1905. Men's dorms were barracks on West Campus, formerly Dale Mabry Field.
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Florida State University West Campus, formerly Dale Mabry Field.
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West Campus (formerly Dale Mabry Field) housed the over 500 male students of TBUF (Tallahassee Branch of the University of Florida) and several hundred female students who commuted by buses to and from the main campus.