Marshfield Municipal Airport (GHG), also known as George Harlow Airfield, is a general aviation airport first established in 1948 when it was nothing more than a small farm with an airstrip out back. In fact, the current terminal building was once a barn! A portion of the original structure including its wooden ceiling beams were preserved when the building was later renovated, and can still be viewed inside today’s more modern facility.
In 1965, the town of Marshfield purchased the airport, which includes approximately 230 acres of land, when town officials recognized its potential value as a long-term investment. More than four decades later, the airport has proven to be a valuable asset to the town in more ways than decision-makers may have originally envisioned at the time.
Including its original purchase of the airport property, runway repaving and other expenditures, the town has spent approximately $3,000 per year on average on airport maintenance and improvements, since its original acquisition.
Today, the town leases the airport and a portion of the property to professional airport management company and fixed base operator, Shoreline Aviation. In addition to the leasing revenues generated, the town collects over $11,000 in related annual tax revenues, paid directly to the Town General Fund. The airport also supports more than 50 jobs and over $2.5 million in annual payrolls.
In addition to annual town revenues and jobs created, the airport plays a vital role in the community, supporting public safety and law enforcement including search and rescue operations, fire patrol, federal and local law enforcement, as well as wildlife and environmental monitoring flights.
In close coordination with Marshfield Emergency Management, Marshfield Airport is also a vital component of the town’s emergency management and response infrastructure. The airport serves as a base for life-saving emergency medical flights, transporting serious emergencies to hospitals in Boston and elsewhere, including organ transport.
Through organizations such as Angel Flight Northeast, free assistance is provided to families in need for non-emergency medical transport. Through these programs, pilots out of Marshfield Airport donate their aircraft, all expenses, and their time to transport pediatric and adult patients to specialized facilities for life saving treatments.
Over the years, the airport has also evolved into a training center for Marshfield’s youth by providing part-time jobs to high school students, many of whom have trained and received their pilot’s license or mechanic’s license. Many have gone on to successful careers as airline executives, military and commercial pilots, aerospace engineers, flight instructors, airport managers, and aviation technicians.
Airport staff also routinely host tours of the airport for elementary and secondary school classes and other youth groups. And staff members are always ready to participate in career days at local schools.
Marshfield Airport is also known as Harlow Airfield, named after George Harlow, a WWII veteran of the Army Air Corps, former member of the Airport Commission, and long-time proponent of the airport, who passed away in 2009.
Harlow dedicated nearly 50 years of his life to keeping the airport going and improving its safety, and town officials named the airport field after him in 2001. George’s warm demeanor and dedication to the airport and community are still well-remembered by airport staff - who like to think he’s still keeping tabs - and would be proud of the commitment to airport safety and to the Marshfield community that continues at the airport today.