Prosperi Airport History

The Prosperi Airport was located along the west side of Oak Park Avenue at about Interstate 80 (approximately 18600 to 18800 South). The airport was opened and operated by Edward Prosperi and his mother. At its peak, the airport had five hanger buildings housing 31 planes. Additional planes were moored outside.

The flying bug hit Ed Prosperi in 1911 during a train ride with his grandmother traveling between East Peoria and Washington, Illinois. In a farmer's field, he watched Cal Rodgers barnstorming and giving rides to passengers as Rodgers was flying cross country from coast to coast.
Before World War II, Ed Prosperi had trained pilots for the US Government. He also had connections to the Armour Institute (now known as the Illinois Institute of Technology) and its ground school. During the war, the US Navy moved the ground school to Evansville, Indiana.
In later years Ed Prosperi trained pilots for instrument flying with Aviation Enterprises at Midway Airport.

Prosperi Airport was opened in the summer of 1942. It had a single runway that ran North and South and was parallel to Oak Park Avenue. The airport operated until about 1965 when the plans for Interstate 80 were developed and would cut through a portion of the runway of the airport. Consideration had been given to extending the runway further north to make up for the land lost for the expressway, but due to its close proximity to the highway, it was not allowed for safety reasons. Interstate 80 was opened in 1966. A number of Tinley Park residents learned to fly from Ed Prosperi and housed their airplanes at the airport.

The Channel 62 television tower (18600 Oak Park Avenue) and the Carmax automobile dealership (18800 Oak Park Avenue) are located on portions of the old airport property.

Although the airport has been gone for many years, Prosperi Airport will still be found identified on some recent maps. The Tinley Park Historical Society has some photographs and an old metal sign from the airport in its collections.

History prepared by Brad L. Bettenhausen on behalf of the Tinley Park Historical Society, 4 April 2000.