MSP's Lindbergh terminal turns 50

  • Article by: KERRI WESTENBERG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 28, 2012 - 4:44 PM

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport's Terminal 1-Lindbergh has grown from 24 gates on two concourses in 1962 to 117 gates on seven concourses now.

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Ticket and security gates at the Lindbergh Terminal.

Photo: David Brewster, Star Tribune

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Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport's Terminal 1-Lindbergh opened for business on Jan. 21, 1962. Of course, it didn't have a name then, let alone two separated by a hyphen. It was a little thing, at 600,000 square feet, with 24 gates on two concourses.

Those were the days when you parked in an open-air lot across from the terminal, carried luggage without wheels and felt really important getting on the flight. Well, if you were boarding a plane, you probably were important, or at least exceptional.

"Commercial airfares were priced beyond the means of most family budgets" in 1962, according to Jeff Hamiel, executive director of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC).

Today, the terminal has grown to 2.8 million square feet, with 117 gates on seven concourses. An average of 80,000 people pass through each day. Plus, it has a sibling.

Airline deregulation in the late 1970s eventually led to more demand, so a second terminal was added in 1985. That's when the original got the Lindbergh name, honoring Minnesota-born flying legend Charles A. Lindbergh. The second was named after favorite native son Hubert Humphrey. Numbers were added in 2010 because they were easier to read on new highway signs.

At 50, Lindbergh has undergone more than a few changes (and she's grown a little pudgy, too, all the better to serve the public). MAC is inviting people to share a memory or photo of the terminal at www.mspairport.com; click on the box at the lower right of the page. Consider it your birthday present to the old gal.

Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at travel@startribune.com, and follow her on twitter @kerriwestenberg.

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