former Jefferson Lake Sulphur Company

former Jefferson Lake Sulphur Company

Posted in the Brazoria Forum

Detroit

Smiths Creek, MI

#1 Jan 24, 2008
Back during 1979, while running low on fuel, I landed my C150F at an abandoned airport north of Hinckles Ferry east of the Jefferson Lake Sulphur Co. on the Clemens Dome. Using Google Earth tonight, I noticed that the area today has been developed quite a bit by Phillips 66.

There appear to be a couple or three brine ponds or whatever there now where one of the two grass runways were located thirty years ago. I landed OK back in 1979 but got bogged down while taxiing south about half way toward the P66 facility--south of the road.

I spent the day and night in or near the plane, but the manager of the P66 facility drove me into Lake Jackson's Dow airport for a couple gallons of aero gas the next day so that I could fly there with the plane without its running out of fuel. Still, it had rained almost every day for several weeks and the old airport was still too wet and waterlogged.

The next day, some of the people at P66 and I put a plywood sheet under each main wheel, and I was able to break free from the mud and taxi it off the wood and out of the water and mud puddles in front. Taxied the Cessna up close to the road near the old sulphur plant and waited for a few more hours for the ground to dry out some more.

Finally, just after sundown, I took off and cleared those tall trees at the west end of the grass runway with quite a bit of altitude. I was worried about flying into them before taking off.In order to prevent that, I had paced off the field and determined that if the plane didn't rotate and take off before a certain point that I clearly marked, I would have to abort the takeoff and either try again or wait some more before trying again the next day.

But as it turned out, it was a quite uneventful flight to Dow's airport, to my relief. I rocked my wings as a thank you to the Dow people on the ground and made it back to Madison WI from Rio Hondo, where some of my kinfolk--the Hatches-- were crop dusters.

Question... Does anybody know anything of the history about the old sulphur plant or the abandoned airstrip? Having spotted it while my fuel gages were on empty might just have saved me from crashing while looking for another airfield.
Ken Beaird

Destin, FL

#3 Feb 23, 2008
Interesting that I ran across your article about landing on the old JL sulphur co airfield. In the 50s and 60s JK was the largest industry in Brazoria, excluding Dow. My dad, Robert Beaird,was personnel director for the Co. In the summer the Co always hired some local schoolboys. In 1952 I was one of 4 boys who spent the summer building a barbed wire fence around the airfield. The co had a 172 and flew to plants at Longpoint, TX and Starks,LA. [email protected]

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