Love Field

By: Art Leatherwood

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: July 14, 2019

Love Field, a major commercial airport in Dallas, began as a World War I army airfield in 1914. It was named for Lt. Moss L. Love, who was killed during a training flight at San Diego, California, on September 4, 1913. In August 1927 the city of Dallas purchased 167 acres of the field for $325,000 for use as a private airport. In 1928 passenger service to San Antonio and Houston was begun, with three or four passengers on a flight. Love became an army field again in 1942 and served during World War II as headquarters for the United States Air Transport Command. The facilities were greatly expanded by the army air corps, and by 1964 Love Field was the largest air terminal in the Southwest.

During the postwar period considerable competition for air traffic developed between Love Field and Meacham Field in Fort Worth. Attempts to consolidate and establish a regional airport culminated with the establishment of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and the sudden reversal of Love Field's prominence. In 1973, with seven million enplanements, Love Field was the sixth busiest airport in the United States. By the next year, however, it had lost all its carriers except Southwest Airlines to the new facility. The Civil Aeronautics Board had ordered all carriers to use the new airport. Southwest, an intrastate carrier, refused to do so and won a subsequent lawsuit in the matter. Love Field continued to operate as a municipal airport and in 1992 was one of the four Texas airports that accounted for 81 percent of Texas air travel. That year Love Field had 2,948,535 enplaned passengers.

Sam Hanna Acheson, Dallas Yesterday, ed. Lee Milazzo (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1977). Robert A. Lawrence, Dallas Today (Dallas: Taylor, 1985). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Time Periods:
  • Progressive Era
  • World War II
  • Texas Post World War II
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas
  • North Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Art Leatherwood, “Love Field,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 14, 2019

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: