For 15 years, old Kelsey Airstrip atop York Township hilltop flat spot for local pilots

nationalguardX00159_9.jpeg
A Pennsylvania National Guard helicopter takes off from a field near the then-York Township, Pa., municipal building and York Area Regional Police Department in 2004. Helicopters flown by the Guard’s Counter Drug Program help police spot marijuana plants. This is not the first time that aircraft flew from land in that vicinity. Other posts of interest: First York Airport’s administration building stands today and Just try to resist studying this memory-tugging photograph and U.S. 30 Drag-O-Way, Part III: ‘We would watch the dragsters on trailers head for Thomasville’.

Gwen Ferree Wise was curious about Spry’s old Kelsey Airstrip, located at the present site of the York Area Regional Police Department and township park.
She could not immediately remember an airport operating from that site.


She wrote:

I was born in 1942, and grew up within sight of that land, which was the Spangler Farm. My father, Bill Ferree, lived and had a garage in that area since the thirties, and was also a pilot with the Civil Air Patrol. I never remember there being an airport at that location. My dad often took our family on Sundays out to the York Airport on Roosevelt Avenue for dinner and an airplane ride. I still have his log book.

She wanted to know more about the airstrip, so I went to the bible of local airports: John F.M. Wolfe’s “Profile of Aviation, York County, Pennsylvania, 1925-1998.”
Here are some details:
Named after: Lorrilyn “Linda” Kelsey, who held a private license, developed the airstrip on land owned by Vergie Spangler and farmed by her son, Edward Spangler.
Years in operation: 1970-1985
Runway: Grass, 1,500 feet.
Today: No visible evidence exists because of extensive grading.
The Kelsey Airstrip is a good example of how easily York County airports are forgotten.
The land where they operated, by definition, is good, flat land. That land is valuable for housing and other development.
Or, in the case of Kelsey Airstrip, soccer fields.
Other posts of interest – aerial views of York County:
Just try to resist studying this memory-tugging photograph
Just try to resist studying this memory-tugging Sears photograph, Part II
Just try to resist this memory-tugging photo of North York’s White Oak Park
So, can you find long-gone Springwood Park in this aerial photograph?
Camp Security area of Springettsbury Township from the air
Columbia-Wrightsville Susquehanna River bridges from the air.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. East Region Editor, Digital First Media. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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