Since the site was chosen for Chicago's new airport in 1945, O'Hare has quickly grown into one of the busiest and most well-known airports in the world. Take a look at how O'Hare has changed over the years, and how we continue to change and update Chicago's number one gateway to the world.
FROM ORCHARD FIELD TO O'HARE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: 1945 - 1959
• In 1945, a Site Selection Committee appointed by Mayor Edward Kelly chose Orchard Field, the location of a Douglas aircraft assembly plant located on the northwest side of Chicago, as the site for a new Chicago airport. The site had four concrete runways.
• Temporary runway lights were added in 1946.
• In 1949, the Chicago City Council renamed Orchard Field as Chicago-O'Hare International Airport to honor naval aviator Lt. Cmdr. Edward H. "Butch" O'Hare, a Medal of Honor recipient from Chicago who died in World War II.
• O'Hare International Airport officially opened to commercial air traffic in 1955 and served 176,902 passengers in its first year.
Click to read more of the history of O'Hare International Airport.