Believing a modern airport was necessary for the economic development of the upcountry, in the late 1950s Daniel and Milliken formed a committee to study the project and develop a design plan.
The Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport was the vision of upstate businessmen Charles Daniel of Greenville and Roger Milliken of Spartanburg. Believing a modern airport was necessary for the economic development of the upcountry, in the late 1950s Daniel and Milliken formed a committee to study the project and develop a design plan. On March 25, 1959, the General Assembly combined the counties of Greenville and Spartanburg into a single airport district. Construction of a joint facility began immediately and opened on October 15, 1962.
Located on Interstate 85 in Spartanburg County, the airport lies midway between the two cities. In September 1989, a $40 million terminal expansion increased the number of gates from eight to thirteen. An addition was joined to the original building at an atrial fountain, over which hang handmade stainless steel geese in flight. The world’s largest airport mural, 160 feet wide by 12 feet high, runs along the restaurant wall. Entitled “Crafted with Pride in the USA,” it was created by Carl Tait. Across from the mural sits the only airside courtyard in the United States. Besides holly hedges, crape myrtles, magnolias, and blooming flowers, the garden is graced with two fountains and six original bronze sculptures by Dennis Smith entitled “Like Petals Unfolding.”
Expansions in 1995 and 1999 extended the runway to more than eleven thousand feet. Two federal inspection stations were added to attract international passengers and cargoes. At the start of the twenty-first century, Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport handled more than eighty daily departures and 1.5 million passengers annually.
Special section on Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. Greenville News, September 24, 1989.
Huff, Archie Vernon, Jr. Greenville: The History of the City and County in the South Carolina Piedmont. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1995.