established in the 1930's, Lee Bottom Airport has a colorful history
all its own. From wayward barnstormers, to cropdusting operations,
and aircraft salvage, this beautiful strip has seen it all. Today, a
favorite destination for Antique & Classic owners, the field offers
a welcome trip back to simpler times. During the 90's , Fritz
Hagemann, seeing a need for such a destination, set out to make
improvements that would attract visitors. Initially 1800' by 26',
the runway was enlarged to 3000' by 100', restroom facilities were
added, and a picnic shelter with benches was installed to make
pilots more comfortable. Finally, with the arrival of a soft drink
machine, Fritz's old time airport was complete.
With the great new improvements, Lee Bottom attracted many
wonderful pilots and one wayward "stick." While in search of new
places to set down in Champ 65 Echo, Rich Davidson first appeared at
the airport in 1996. Shortly thereafter, a friendship developed
that would last until Fritz passed away in December of 2000. Just
before his death, Fritz made Rich a deal that would ensure the
future of Lee Bottom and with a simple promise between friends, the
deal was sealed. Yet, that was not to be the only change to
visiting a friends hangar cookout the following Spring, Rich briefly
met the girl that would become his registered owner. When he
asked about her he learned she had recently hiked the Appalachian
Trail, rebuilt the engine in her VW Beetle, and had a great job.
When he tried to talk to her, she snubbed him as a “typical airline
pilot.” Fortunately, Rich was able to convince her otherwise and
soon after, Ginger took Rich flying in her Citabria. It was their
first date and they have been flying together ever since.
The Davidson's have been instrumental in continuing the efforts of this old time airport. On May 14, 2004, they purchased an adjoining farm and extended the runway an additional 1000' so it is now 4080' X 100'. In June 2010, an additional piece of property was acquired which provided more river access. This eventually led to the approval of a seaplane lane in the Ohio River.
This husband and wife team endured a string of misfortunes and head on conflicts with Mother Nature: a freak snowstorm that collapsed a hangar and destroyed airplanes, an inland hurricane which caused a power outage lasting several days leading up to one of the large September events, torrential downpours washing out a recently manicured and seeded runway addition, and a tornado which destroyed every building on the property. The Davidson's moved to another home in 2012. The airport is now in the hands of General Aviation enthusiasts while the Davidson's still care for its operation.