Near Bandera in Bandera County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Pilots' Lounge at Bandera Airpark
Colonel John Henry "Jack" Lapham (1885-1956) was a son of a co-founder of the Texas Company (later Texaco). He was living in San Antonio by 1920 and had many business interests, Jack, his wife, Julie Edna (Capen), and their four children all had pilots' licenses and were known as "The Flying Laphams." Jack's second wife, Lucy Jane (Thomas), was also an accomplished pilot, Jack Lapham, a WWI and WWII veteran, was a retired Army Air Corps Colonel with a dream to create the first "Dude Ranch Airpark" in the United States. In 1945, he bought a 486-acre ranch near Bandera from Dr. J.O. and Ethel Butler and established the Flying L Ranch, by late 1946, the site featured an airstrip, villas, lounges, a pool and flight training school for WWII veterans. From the air, the villas were designed to appear as planes flying in formation. The pilots' lounge was designed as a two-story concrete block quonset hut trimmed with handmade oak arches and cedar siding with a concrete roof. The second story has a horseshoe-shaped balcony with wooden floors and handmade oak railings and stairs. A large southeast-facing window provided a view of the landing strip
A May 1947 "Fashion Rodeo" at the Flying L Ranch was featured in several magazines, including an article in Life. Photographer Cornell Capa captured the event with more than 100 pictures of the fashion show hosted by Stanley Marcus of Neiman Marcus. Col. Lapham's dream of establishing a series of similar properties never materialized, and he and three others were killed in a 1956 plane crash near the airpark. Several national brands including Coca-Cola and aircraft manufacturers have filmed commercials here and guests have ranged from families to celebrities. Western movie star John Wayne stayed at the ranch when he was filming The Alamo near Brackettville in 1959-60.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2016
Marker is property of the State of Texas
Erected 2016 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 18353.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & Space • Architecture • Industry & Commerce.
Location. 29° 42.788′ N, 99° 2.716′ W. Marker is near Bandera, Texas, in Bandera County. Marker is on Airport Road 0.1 miles south of Bottle Springs Road, on the right when traveling south. The marker is located at the eastern side of Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bandera TX 78003, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. First Bandera County Courthouse (approx. 1.6 miles away); Old Jail & Courthouse (approx. 1.6 miles away); The Mills of Bandera (approx. 1.7 miles away); Schmidtke-Callahan House (approx. 1.7 miles away); Bandera County (approx. 1.7 miles away); Old Huffmeyer Store (approx. 1.7 miles away); Bandera's First Bank (approx. 1.8 miles away); Bandera Historic Town Center (approx. 1.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bandera.
Also see . . . The History of the Flying L Ranch. Excerpt: In 1947, the 542-acre dude ranch came into existence when Colonel John H. Lapham purchased it from the original Polish settlers. John’s last name is accredited for ‘L’ in ‘Flying L’. (Submitted on December 28, 2020, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 28, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 27, 2020, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 38 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on December 28, 2020, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.