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Washington Dulles International Airport Turns 50 Saturday

Airport dedication ceremony was held Nov. 17, 1962.

When Finnish architect Eero Saarinen designed Washington Dulles International Airport, he proclaimed it "the best thing I have ever done." The terminal building — with its iconic swooping roof — was selected for a First Honor Award by the American Institute of Architects in 1966.

President John F. Kennedy stood outside the air traffic control tower at Dulles International Airport to dedicate it 50 years ago today, Nov. 17, when it went into operation. Former President Dwight Eisenhower, who selected the location for the building of the airport, was also on hand. 

The airport is named after John Foster Dulles, who served as secretary of state under Eisenhower. Members of the Dulles family were on hand at the dedication ceremony.

“We look forward to the promise of future growth at Dulles well beyond the first 50 years,” said Jack Potter, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, in a news release this week. “Dulles passengers will be even better served when Metrorail is completed. And as the airport continues growing to its fullest potential, the benefits to the economy of the region will grow exponentially.”

Here's a look at the airport, by the numbers:

  1. Number of acres the airport sits on: 11,830 (some reports say 10,000 while others say 13,000)
  2. Number of people who fly out of Dulles each day: 60,000
  3. Number of passengers each year: About 23 million
  4. Number of destinations you can fly to from Dulles: 125

Little known facts:

  • Original location for airport: Burke Lake Park
  • Sen. Bob Dole proposed naming the airport after President Eisenhower, but the resolution did not pass

The terminal is open for tours, to groups from area schools.

What are your memories of the airport? Do you like having the airport nearby?

David A. LaRock November 17, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Please sign the No Toll Increase Petition at: http://notollincrease.blogspot.com/p/sign-petition.html A question for MR. Jack Potter. Since the Silver Line will serve IAD passengers, why are you charging the Dulles Toll Road users for it and giving a free ride to the IAD customers that use the Dulles Access Road? That makes about as much sense as have MWAA,. the poster organization for corruption, running the whole show. Give the Dulles Toll Road and the Silver Line back to VA and/ or abolish the MWAA altogether.

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