History of the Whiteside County Airport*

1910 - First airport in Sterling or Rock Falls was located at McCue's Corner (now the intersection of Route 2 & McCue Road).  Its primary purpose as an airport was short lived and was later turned into a race track.

1927 - Sterling Municipal Airport was formed and located north of town on the west side of IL-40 and north of Lynn Boulevard.

1942 - A fire consumed a few hangars at the Sterling Airport.  Additionally, pressure started to grow from local residents due to the noise.

1946 - A referendum was passed in August, establishing an Airport Authority in Whiteside County.  A board was formed to operate as a separate board from the County government to oversee and handle airport affairs.

1946 - In October, a site in Rock Falls was inspected by the city and was given approval, however the airport was to remain privately owned and operated by Darryl Wolfe and Kenneth Zimmerman.

1946 - Zimmerman and Wolfe received approval of for the Class 1 Airport, for public use and an approved landing site.

1950 - Wolfe sold his interest in the Rock Falls airport to Zimmerman.

1953 - The Sterling Airport closed.

1956 - In April, Cecil Richardson donated an additional 75 acres, making it possible for the Airport Authority to receive a grant from the state to improve the airport.  In the summer of that year, a north/south runway was constructed.  It measured 3000' x 80'.

1956 - In May, The Whiteside County Airport Commission took over managing the airport.  Later that year, the name of the changed from the Rock Falls Airport to the Whiteside County Airport.

1957 - Runway lights were installed.

1958 - The first T-hangar was built.

1962 - Ozark Airlines started service from the airport.

1967 - In February, an administration building was built.  This building is known as the Terminal today.

1967 - In the spring, responding to the need to accomodate Ozark Airline's larger aircraft, the airport enlarged the existing north/south runway to 3900' x 100'.  An additional runway was then built (7/25), measuring 5600' x 100'.

1973 - In August, the Whiteside County Airport was dedicated to Joseph A. Bittorf.

1974 - A fourth T-hanger was built.

1976 - The first of three maintenance hangars were built on the south side of the main entrance to the airport.  These were built by Prophetor Construction and later converted ownership to the airport.  The other two hangars were completed in 1978 and 1980.

1985 - Runway 7/25 was extended and widened to it's present dimentions: 6500' x 150'.

1993 - Radio Ranch moved its operation in Polo to the Whiteside County Airport where it still remains in operation today.  Visit Radio Ranch's Website. 

2016 - Whiteside County Airport was awarded the Illinois Department of Transportation General Aviation Airport of the Year.  Local news story: Sauk Valley News.

*This information contained on this page was transcribed from a document written and posted by Airport Hall of Fame member Bill Havener for public view at the aiport.  While believed to be accurate, it may not be without error.