little history about Ohare Field which I bet a lot of you have flown through.

  • 3
  • Praise
  • Updated 4 years ago

Way back when I was youngster, I used to hunt rabbits and quail on the property you now know as Ohare Field.

Item #1 The boundary beacon flown over to this day still transmit OR, over and over.

Betting most of you would assume that means OHare. But in reality it means "Orchard Field" the name given to the little Army Reserve air field that operated a Reserve training operation back in the '50.

Orchard Field really designated that it was the City of Chicago's Forestry dept. property where they grew the young trees our cities residential neighborhood were so known for.

When the city realized that it's airport on the south side would never be the hub and bring in the money, out when the Army, out went the tree farm, and began the acquisition of all the surround properties until they had what they needed to make OHare the big hub it is today.

At the time of the aquisition, the surrounding suburbs started to grow. Closeness to this airport was the reason. They even moved US Rt 12-45 some 1000 yards to the east, almost to the edge of the DesPlaines River. Much to the surprise of the people living there who found they were being moved out via eminent domain.

Not only did I hunt but a back road past the cemetary that is still there to this day on the very edge of the OHare property was a small borrow pit for the tollway where some of us took our dates (now I'm older and driving) and learned about skinny dipping. The girls were shocked when small fingerlings would nip their legs and would yell and literally jump into our arms.

Well eventually even those borrow pits had to go so the land could be better utilized to service the airport. I think UAL still has a hangar on that old pit I used to swim in.

Recently OHare has been opening new E-W runways and the latest is about 5-8 miles north of my current residence.

I had to purchase sound resistant windows for the North side of my home. The city promised to repay me. That was 7 years ago, and I'm still waiting for the check.. Obviousy it's coming by Air Mail. LOL

So if you are allowed to use a small receiver while landing in Chicago, it's long wave and been so long I don't remember the freq or if they even still have the boundary beacon in service.

So why am I still here. Well I joined the Fire Dept out of college,  which was when the Paramedic program began. I became one of the first Paramedics to be assigned to the FD. Eventually I was promoted to an Engine company but still responded to all medical emergencies to assist if needed. (delivered 2 baby girls and 1 baby boy, delived in the back of the ambulance. (I still get a xmas card each year from the family of one of the girls and we have become friends and was honored to asked to be the godfather of the girl I delivered first child)

With my 17 grandchildren (some of my sons and daughters joined the FD after college) and live close by. Judy and I couldn't move away, so I'm still here.

And every morning from about 5 to 9am the plane come from the lake and fly down the Kennedy xpressway to land at OHare.  And around 5pm they duplicate the feat with inbound.

Having suffered a significant loss of hearing all those years of riding in the Fire Engines. (b4 OSHA declared them a significant issue and demanded sound deadening in the trucks and hearing protection), I still do cw wearing headphones but a lot more of digital modes.

My oldest son is an Operations Director for UAL. But unfortunately UAL has now cut back on us non-rev free flights.

I bet You now know more about me and the history of OHare than you ever wanted to.

Chicago is still increasing the land mass of the airport, but they will never get as far as where I live. Plus I don't live inside the city of Chicago but a small suburb bordering the city.

Ok half time is over, back to the game...73 de bill

Photo of Bill-W9OL


  • 726 Posts
  • 56 Reply Likes

Posted 4 years ago

  • 3
Photo of Jim Jerzycke

Jim Jerzycke

  • 93 Posts
  • 19 Reply Likes
Yep, I flew out of and back into O'Scare may times when I lived in 9-land and was doing field service.

There used to be a little cocktail bar called "The 42nd Parallel" where I'd hang out with some of my airline friends whenever they had a layover.

Photo of k3Tim


  • 914 Posts
  • 189 Reply Likes
Interesting read!  

Tried to find the the OR (outer marker?) beacon on ORD approach plates but no luck.

The best brownies I've ever had are at a small shop between B and C concourse (with a French name) at O'Hare.

Photo of Reg


  • 131 Posts
  • 75 Reply Likes

That's an interesting half time story.  According to AIRNAV.COM the only non-directional beacon (NDB) still associated with O'Hare is Deana NDB.  It transmits on 350 kHz with a substantial 400 W power.  The signal will be AM modulated with the call sign ME and possibly audio weather data.  From your location you shouldn't be able to miss it if you tune the MF band.  (The NDB's span high LF and low MF frequencies.)  If you follow the links on AIRNAV there are several other nearby NDB's which are not associated with O'Hare.

Photo of km9r.mike


  • 425 Posts
  • 62 Reply Likes
Any good stories about Meigs Field ?
Photo of Jim Jerzycke

Jim Jerzycke

  • 93 Posts
  • 19 Reply Likes
Get the movie "One Six Right" and watch it. It has the final chapter on Meigs when Mayor Daley killed Meigs.

More at wikipedia:
Photo of Bill-W9OL


  • 726 Posts
  • 56 Reply Likes

nope that was almost the other side of the city from me as a kid. My firefighting career was in Glenview IL, which also had the Naval Air Station, but they had their own Fire Dept. and Crash crews. I was off and away on vacation when they lost one hangar and wasn't at that one.

NAS Glenview has been closed for quite a while.

Photo of Ernest - W4EG

Ernest - W4EG

  • 620 Posts
  • 122 Reply Likes

This make better reading than Icom. Thanks