It was the heart of Bradley Field, later Bradley International Airport. It harbored the great American post-World War II transition to mass commercial flight, starting with a groundbreaking by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower 63 years ago.
Now Bradley’s Murphy Terminal has its date with destiny. It is set for demolition, starting next August — though there’s no contractor in place yet, said Kevin Dillon, executive director of the Connecticut Airport Authority.
Cost to build it between 1950 and 1952: $2 million.
Cost to tear it down, complete with hazardous waste removal: $2 million.
Long before the tan, brick edifice closed in 2010 as the oldest active terminal of any major U.S. airport, it was the source of embarrassment for Connecticut, symbol of the aging infrastructure in a rich state with a long history.
“That’s why it is one of the most important projects for us,” Dillon said. “Look at the deterioration of that building — that is the entry to Connecticut.”
Sturdy old Murphy Terminal remains in use today, believe it or not. It’s home to offices of the Transportation Security Administration and the state police — both of which are now being moved, Dillon said. The building, dubbed Terminal B after the airport’s ’80s expansion, was named for Francis S. Murphy, publisher of the Hartford Times newspaper and head of the old Connecticut Aeronautics Commission.
THREE REASONS TO TEAR IT DOWN
1. End the embarrassment of having millions of visitors see a crumbling relic on their way into the state.
2. Clear the way for expansion and modernization. “The demolition in and of itself gives us the ability to realign the roadway system and pave the way at some point for a new terminal to be built there,” Dillon said. Long before a new terminal rises, the current plans call for a consolidated rental car center where the short-term parking lot is now located in front of the terminal — perhaps by 2016.
3. Open or relocate a time capsule which, Dillon said, is supposedly next to the cornerstone. “We will certainly be very careful as we uncover that,” he said.
THREE REASONS TO RECONSIDER, AND SAVE THE TERMINAL
1. We could use it as a movie studio, with its ’50s-era control tower backdrop and plenty of paved, back-lot area for chase scenes.
2. It’s perfect for a higher-profile location of the New England Air Museum, now located around the back side of the runways.
3. We’ve torn down so much historic architecture in the past, maybe we’ll someday yearn to have Murphy back. Not likely, but possible.