Location of Hilton Airfield along Dover Trolley Line
Jim Wiest supplied some neat insight about Hilton Airfield and Hilton Trolley Station. Since my initial post, two months ago, about these places, I struck out finding more details via a George F. Motter clue. Therefore Jim’s memories were an unexpected bonus, while helping him with some family history research.
Jim has not lived in the York area since 1941 and last returned to the East Coast during the early 1950s; however, as a boy, he has fond memories of playing with cousins in the vicinity of Hilton Avenue. The stories Jim heard as a youth, plus some additional map research by me, allows the location placement of Hilton Field on this Bing.com aerial view. I previously introduced Hilton Field in the post: Earliest York Airfield in 1914 along Dover Trolley Line.
Jim Wiest’s Memories and Map Research Details
Quoting the memories Jim Wiest has about Hilton Airfield and Hilton Station:
Discovered your post about the Hilton area of Dover Township. Don’t know if you’ve already discovered, but Hilton Station was along Hilton Avenue. Occasionally my parents left me stay overnight in the summertime to visit cousins in that area. We’d spend many-an-hour playing in the Little Conewago. We’d always take the across-the-fields shortcut from Fox Run Road, crossing to Hilton Avenue and then to Poplars Road. I remember one time crossing the ridge between Fox Run Road and Hilton Avenue I heard the tale about the Wright Brothers using this ridgeline for takeoffs and landings of their airplane. When I asked my father about this, he corrected the tale. Telling me that airstrip was used by someone owning a Wright Brothers airplane to give rides. Just another thing I wish I’d ask Dad for more details.
I immediately utilized a topographic map to see where a ridgeline was located between Fox Run Road and Hilton Avenue. I selected the following 1920 USGS Topographic Map, since it includes the Dover Trolley Tracks.
In the following illustration, besides zooming-in and annotating the highlighted Topographic Map area, I’ve also placed a 2016 Bing.com Aerial Photo of the region ghosted in the foreground. The dark roads are the ones that existed in 1920, while the ghosted roads are the additional roads that exist today. I’ve annotated the illustration with road names.
I’ve estimated the location of Hilton Field; it does make sense to have an airfield on the relatively level ground along this broad ridge. Aviator Eugene Heth vouched for the “first-rate flying field conditions with hanger” at Hilton Field along the Dover Trolley Line in York County. Heth was the pilot of a Wright Brothers Model B Flyer during several days of free flight demonstrations and the selling of rides in the Flyer; next to the Hilton Trolley Stop during June of 1914.
I’ve pointed to the building standing in 1920 that might be the Hilton Field Hangar. The double dashed line back to this building from Hilton Avenue indicates this is an unimproved road.
I’ve also pointed out Hilton Station along the trolley line. In terms of present roads, Hilton Station was located along the east side of Hilton Avenue, between the more recent crossing roads Brookside Avenue and Staunton Avenue. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) tended to place their elevation markers on public use property, as much as possible. The 466-feet USGS Elevation Above Sea Level marker was likely placed very near the Hilton Station; which served trolley passengers from 1901 to 1933.
Airstrips generally did not show up on topographic maps until after the first United States Air Navigation Maps started to appear in 1925. Hilton Field does not appear on the earliest Air Navigation Maps, therefore this grass airfield, while established in 1914, likely only had a very short lifespan. More on Hilton Field in the coming week.
Links to related posts:
- Earliest York Airfield in 1914 along Dover Trolley Line
- York County’s First Airplane Passenger was Charles Eastlack
- Motter’s 1914 photos of Wright Flyer at Hilton Field
- Curtiss Aeroplanes entertain York crowd during 1912
- 1912 Aviation Meet at York Fairgrounds featured Curtiss Aeroplane racing a York-Built Car
- Dusman Airstrip and the arrival of the 1952 Bendix Plant at Stony Brook
- Rare York County airplane in Virginia museum