Operations Building

My father Tony first purchased a 20-acre lot located in Gardenville, New York, including two buildings, a farmhouse, and a small horse barn in 1938 at the age of 27. He converted the farmhouse into the beginning of the first operations office for his Gardenville Airport.


Tony is painting the background white before positioning the stencils to paint “Gardenville Airport” in black.


Tony completely redesigns the interior to include a custom front counter, new bead board, and rear office space on the left side. A central dividing wall separates the two sides and eventually supports the staircase to the future second-floor addition.

The right side has a lounge area, a showcase for sectional charts, access to the rear restrooms, and a small café. It also features a large floor heater along the central dividing wall.

Access window to order food or beverages and a place to sit while you enjoy a snack.

A gentleman is warming himself by the floor heater while people schedule a flight lesson at the front counter.
In this 1944 photo, you can see the horse stable/garage on the right with “Gardenville Airport” painted on the Westside roofing. The Operations building is still a single story, and the Quonset hangar completed on the left with the paving just started. Also visible is the concrete pad and steel posts of his first hangar destroyed by a fire in February 1943, about 100 yards North of the office.

Tony salvaged the usable lumber from the dilapidated horse barn from the initial purchase and built a more extended building on the office’s east side, where he painted “Gardenville Airport” on the roof. This building was often referred to as the “Horse Stable” because his first wife Maxine kept her horse in the end stall even though he used it as a storage garage and workspace.

The new horse stable/garage during construction.
Look at the size of that snowdrift!

Tony later changed the name from Gardenville Airport to Buffalo Air-park and continued to upgrade the office building. Then came the second-floor expansion in the late 1940s.

Tony adds the second-floor addition to the Operations building sometime in the late 1940s. I’m still working on an exact date.
Tony opens up the café service window and lengthens the countertop needed to accommodate the growing list of patrons looking for a “bite to eat.”
The building receives a facelift, and the café expands into a small restaurant featuring a revised full menu. This picture is from the early 1950s.


The second story white rear exit door is visible to the “Observation Deck” over the first-floor restaurant addition. Tony would later construct his second-story office there and eliminated that outside deck.
A wind gust flipped this Cessna 172 while sitting on the tarmac. Also, notice Tony’s second floor office addition that has replaced the outdoor “Observation Deck” on the Operations building.

Doug Payne informed me that this photo’s date is sometime between December 1968 and January 1969 because of the brand new 1968 Ford Bronco with a plow, second vehicle from the left, that Tony purchased that same year.
That Ford Bronco did an excellent job of plowing the tarmac! Tony used the larger plow truck, center left, to clear the runway.
Now, this photo shows how I remember the airpark when I was growing up. It sure brings back memories!

I still have that propeller that hung over that archway!
The young lady sitting behind the desk is Pat Plummer, as my brother Doug Payne recalls.

If you have any pictures of Buffalo Air-Park that you would like to share, please contact me, and I would be more than happy to add them to this website.

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