18 Airports Named After People (Including a Cartoonist)

skyNext/iStock via Getty Images
skyNext/iStock via Getty Images

If you're doing any air travel this winter, chances are you'll end up spending quite a bit of time sitting in airports. During those layovers, your mind may wander. Who is this O'Hare fellow? What made LaGuardia worthy of an airport? How about Hartsfield and Jackson? Here's a look at some namesake airports whose origins you might not have known.

1. O'Hare International Airport (Chicago)

O'Hare International Airport is named after Edward Henry "Butch" O'Hare, a World War II flying ace for the Navy. O'Hare won the Medal of Honor for engaging a group of Japanese torpedo bombers in a dogfight during an attempted attack on the aircraft carrier Lexington. O'Hare and his wingman gunned down three Japanese bombers and damaging several others to ward off the potentially catastrophic attack. Sadly, O'Hare later crashed while leading a dangerous night mission off of an aircraft carrier to ward off Japanese bombers.
If you ever have a delay at O'Hare—and if you're flying through O'Hare, you're going to have a delay—check out Lieutenant Commander O'Hare's restored F6F Hellcat in Terminal 2.

Another interesting O'Hare fact: his father was a lawyer who was originally friendly with Al Capone before turning against the gangster. Unknown gunmen mowed down the elder O'Hare while he was in his car in 1939, and just last week the Chicago Police Department reopened the long-cold case in an attempt to uncover the murderers' true identities.

2. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport used to just be named after William B. Hartsfield, whose stints in office from 1937 to 1941 and 1942 to 1962 made him the longest-serving mayor Atlanta's ever had. In 2003, the city amended the airport's name to also honor Maynard Jackson, the Atlanta mayor who helped modernize and rebuild the facility during the 1970s and "˜80s.

3. Logan International Airport (Boston)

Logan International Airport in Boston also takes its name from a military hero. General Edward Lawrence Logan was a Boston native and Harvard grad who served in the Spanish-American War and later commanded infantry in World War I.

4. Charlotte/Douglas International Airport

Charlotte/Douglas International Airport bears the name of Ben Elbert Douglas, Sr., Charlotte's mayor from 1935 to 1941. Douglas actually made his big money in the fur trade. He owned Douglas Furs, a Charlotte-based furrier, and sold the government a method for cleaning the fleece trim of bomber jackets.

5. McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas)

McCarran International Airport welcomes gamblers to Las Vegas. The slot-machine-filled airport is named in honor of Pat McCarran, who served as a Democratic Senator from Nevada from 1933 to 1954. He seems like a somewhat curious character to have a namesake international airport, since he made a name for himself in the Senate as a hard-line anti-Communist who favored strict entry quotas into the United States.

6. LaGuardia Airport (New York)

LaGuardia Airport, the smallest of the New York area's three major airports, bears the name of Fiorello LaGuardia, who served as New York's mayor from 1935 to 1945 and oversaw the airport's construction.

7. Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport

Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport is much smaller than the other airports on this list, but how can you not love an airport named after the creator of Peanuts? The airport's logo even features Snoopy in his full flying-ace getup. The airport is located in Santa Rosa, CA, where Schulz lived for 30-plus years.

8. William P. Hobby Airport (Houston)

The William P. Hobby Airport, Houston's older, secondary airport, is named after a former newspaperman who served as Texas' governor from 1917 to 1921. The city could have just as easily named the airport after his wife, though. In 1953, Oveta Culp Hobby became the first Secretary of what would become the Department of Health and Human Services.

9. Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (Alabama)

Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport got its name in 2008, when the old Birmingham International Airport tweaked its existing moniker to honor Fred Shuttlesworth, an influential civil rights leader. Shuttlesworth was instrumental in founding the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and planning the Birmingham Campaign in 1963.

10. Jackson-Evers International Airport (Mississippi)

Jackson-Evers International Airport follows in the same vein as Birmingham-Shuttlesworth; the Mississippi airport is named after civil rights activist Medgar Evers.

11. Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport

Anchorage named its airport after longtime Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, who became internet famous with his "Series of Tubes" speech.

12. Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport

Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport is named after the San Jose native who has been active in a number of government offices, including Secretary of Commerce under Bill Clinton, Secretary of Transportation under George W. Bush, Congressman, and Mayor of San Jose.

13. Bradley International Airport (Connecticut)

Connecticut's busiest airport bears the name of Lt. Eugene M. Bradley, an Army pilot who crashed his P40 during a training drill when the air field was still a military base. The base's soldiers led a movement to rename the field after Bradley, and the name stuck even after the conversion to civilian traffic.

14. Eppley Airfield (Omaha)

Eppley Airfield in Omaha is named after late hotel magnate Eugene C. Eppley, but the name is equal parts tribute and thank-you note. When the airport upgraded so it could accommodate jets in 1959, a million dollars from Eppley's estate helped the cause along.

15. Lambert-St. Louis International Airport

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport also shows that it can't hurt to be proactive if you want to get your name on an airport. Albert Bond Lambert won a silver medal with the American men's golf team at the 1904 Olympics, and in 1909 he met the Wright Brothers and bought a plane from them. In 1920 Lambert shelled out $68,000 for a 550-acre plot of land just outside St. Louis and built and maintained an early airport at his own expense. After eight eventful years—Charles Lindbergh took off for Paris from Lambert Field—Lambert sold his airport to the city of St. Louis for the same $68,000 he'd paid for the land.

16. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport was quite the birthday present. In 1951, the city of Cleveland officially named the airport after its founder, former city manager William R. Hopkins. The naming ceremony took place on Hopkins' 82nd birthday.

17. General Mitchell International Airport (Milwaukee)

General Mitchell International Airport takes its name from William "Billy" Mitchell, an American flying ace in World War I who is often referred to as "the father of the modern Air Force."

18. Washington Dulles International Airport

Washington Dulles International Airport is named after John Foster Dulles, who served as Secretary of State under Eisenhower and helped shape a number of American Cold War policies.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

10 Facts About Real Genius On Its 35th Anniversary

Val Kilmer stars in Martha Coolidge's Real Genius (1985).
Val Kilmer stars in Martha Coolidge's Real Genius (1985).
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

In an era where nerd is a nickname given by and to people who have pretty much any passing interest in popular culture, it’s hard to imagine the way old-school nerds—people with serious and socially-debilitating obsessions—were once ostracized. Computers, progressive rock, and role-playing games (among a handful of other 1970s- early '80s developments) created a path from which far too many of the lonely, awkward, and conventionally undateable would never return. But in the 1980s, movies transformed these oddballs into underdogs and antiheroes, pitting them against attractive, moneyed, successful adversaries for the fate of handsome boys and pretty girls, cushy jobs, and first-place trophies.

The 1985 film Real Genius ranked first among equals from that decade for its stellar cast, sensitive direction, and genuine nerd bona fides. Perhaps fittingly, it sometimes feels overshadowed, and even forgotten, next to broader, bawdier (and certainly now, more problematic) films from the era like Revenge of the Nerds and Weird Science. But director Martha Coolidge delivered a classic slobs-versus-snobs adventure that manages to view the academically gifted and socially maladjusted with a greater degree of understanding and compassion while still delivering plenty of good-natured humor.

As the movie commemorates its 35th anniversary, we're looking back at the little details and painstaking efforts that make it such an enduring portrait not just of ‘80s comedy, but of nerdom itself.

1. Producer Brian Grazer wanted Valley Girl director Martha Coolidge to direct Real Genius. She wasn’t sure she wanted to.

Following the commercial success of 1984’s Revenge of the Nerds, there was an influx of bawdy scripts that played upon the same idea, and Real Genius was one of them. In 2011, Coolidge told Kickin’ It Old School that the original script for Real Genius "had a lot of penis and scatological jokes," and she wasn't interested in directing a raunchy Nerds knock-off. So producer Brian Grazer enlisted PJ Torokvei (SCTV) and writing partners Babaloo Mandel and Lowell Ganz (Splash, City Slickers) to refine the original screenplay, and then gave Coolidge herself an opportunity to polish it before production started. “Brian's original goal, and mine, was to make a film that focused on nerds as heroes," Coolidge said. "It was ahead of its time."

2. Martha Coolidge’s priority was getting the science in Real Genius right—or at least as right as possible.

In the film, ambitious professor Jerry Hathaway (William Atherton) recruits high-achieving students at the fictional Pacific Technical University (inspired by Caltech) to design and build a laser capable of hitting a human-sized target from space. Coolidge researched the subject thoroughly, working with academic, scientific, and military technicians to ensure that as many of the script and story's elements were correct. Moreover, she ensured that the dialogue would hold up to some scrutiny, even if building a laser of the film’s dimensions wasn’t realistic (and still isn’t today).

3. One element of Real Genius that Martha Coolidge didn’t base on real events turned out to be truer than expected.

From the beginning, the idea that students were actively being exploited by their teacher to develop government technology was always fictional. But Coolidge learned that art and life share more in common than she knew at the time. “I have had so many letters since I made Real Genius from people who said, 'Yes, I was involved in a program and I didn’t realize I was developing weapons,'" she told Uproxx in 2015. “So it was a good guess and turned out to be quite accurate.”

4. Val Kilmer walked into his Real Genius audition already in character—and it nearly cost him the role.

After playing the lead in Top Secret!, Val Kilmer was firmly on Hollywood’s radar. But when he met Grazer at his audition for Real Genius, Kilmer decided to have some fun at the expense of the guy who would decide whether or not he’d get the part. "The character wasn't polite," Kilmer recalled to Entertainment Weekly in 1995. "So when I shook Grazer's hand and he said, 'Hi, I'm the producer,' I said, 'I'm sorry. You look like you're 12 years old. I like to work with men.'"

5. The filmmakers briefly considered using an actual “real genius” to star in Real Genius.

Among the performers considered to play Mitch, the wunderkind student who sets the movie’s story in motion, was a true genius who graduated college at 14 and was starting law school. Late in the casting process, they found their Mitch in Gabriel Jarrett, who becomes the third generation of overachievers (after Kilmer’s Chris and Jon Gries’s Lazlo Hollyfeld) whose talent Hathaway uses to further his own professional goals.

6. Real Genius's female lead inadvertently created a legacy for her character that would continue in animated form.

Michelle Meyrink, Gabriel Jarret, Val Kilmer, and Mark Kamiyama in Real Genius (1985).Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Michelle Meyrink was a staple of a number of ‘80s comedies, including Revenge of the Nerds. Playing Jordan in Real Genius, she claims to “never sleep” and offers a delightful portrait of high-functioning attention-deficit disorder with a chipper, erratic personality. Disney’s Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers co-creator Tad Stones has confirmed that her character went on to inspire the character of Gadget Hackwrench.

7. A Real Genius subplot, where a computer programmer is gaming a Frito-Lay contest, was based on real events.

In the film, Jon Gries (Napoleon Dynamite) plays Lazlo Hollyfeld, a reclusive genius from before Chris and Mitch’s time who lives in a bunker beneath their dorm creating entries to a contest with no restrictions where he eventually wins more than 30 percent of the prizes. In 1969, students from Caltech tried a similar tactic with Frito-Lay to game the odds. But in 1975, three computer programmers used an IBM to generate 1.2 million entries in a contest for McDonald’s, where they received 20 percent of the prizes (and a lot of complaints from customers) for their effort.

8. One of Real Genius's cast members went on to write another tribute to nerds a decade later.

Dean Devlin, who co-wrote Stargate and Independence Day with Roland Emmerich, plays Milton, another student at Pacific Tech who experiences a memorable meltdown in the rush up to finals.

9. The popcorn gag that ends Real Genius isn’t really possible, but they used real popcorn to simulate it.

At the end of the film, Chris and Mitch build a giant Jiffy Pop pack that the laser unleashes after they redirect its targeting system. The resulting popcorn fills Professor Hathaway’s house as an act of revenge. MythBusters took pains to recreate this gag in a number of ways, but quickly discovered that it wouldn’t work; even at scale, the popcorn just burns in the heat of a laser.

To pull off the scene in the film, Coolidge said that the production had people popping corn for six weeks of filming in order to get enough for the finale. After that, they had to build a house that they could manipulate with hydraulics so that the popcorn would “explode” out of every doorway and window.

10. Real Genius was the first movie to be promoted on the internet.

A week before Real Genius opened, promoters set up a press conference at a computer store in Westwood, California. Coolidge and members of the cast appeared to field questions from press from across the country—connected via CompuServe. Though the experience was evidently marred by technical problems (this was the mid-1980s, after all), the event marked the debut of what became the online roundtable junket.