A previous post to this column touched on Addison W. Lee (a former president of The Louisville Gas & Electric Company), and the influence he had on the Louisville community. Among Lee’s many contributions to The Derby City, he was instrumental in the expansion of the Louisville International Airport, which, at the time, was still known as Standiford Field. What may be less known to Louisvillians, however, is the fact that Stratton Hammon –the acclaimed local architect– was part of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers team that designed Standiford Field in its first, early days.
Hammon, a Louisville-native who was born in 1904 and passed away in 1997, is perhaps –as a description of Kentucky Houses of Stratton Hammon puts it– the most “revered residential architect [to have worked] in Louisville and Kentucky.” After graduating from Du Pont Manual High School, Hammon pursued his future career in home-design at the University of Louisville’s School of Architecture (though, according to his family, he actually designed his first house at the age of sixteen). Upon graduating, Hammon, twenty-six–years–old at the time, registered with the commonwealth as an official, ready-for-hire architect.
Hammon’s architecture career, however, took an unexpected turn with the arrival of World War II. The architect joined the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, and put his design-training to use by helping construct military airfields, one of which was the original Standiford Field. The airfield’s origin can be traced back to 1941 when the Corps of Engineers installed one, four-thousand–foot runway for use by military aircraft. It was not until 1947 that the federal government relinquished control of the airport, and it became the hub for commercial flights that it remains today.
Hammon’s involvement in the war, no less, would escalate. In 1944, he was a participant in the Allied invasion of Normandy, France known as “D-Day.” Hammon’s service within France subsequent to the successful invasion would result in the French government bestowing on him their Croix-de-Guerre and Legion-of-Honor awards.
After the war, Hammon returned to Louisville and his career in architecture. Going into business with his son Neal, the two formed the firm of Hammon & Hammon in the heart of St. Matthews. While Hammon & Hammon is no longer in business today, with each flight to and from Louisville International Airport, Stratton Hammon’s legacy lives.▪
[Enjoy reading about Louisville history, and want to do more? Click the “Subscribe” button at the top of the page to receive updates when new posts are added to the Louisville Historic Places Examiner page. All posts cover history and historic places in, around, and close to Louisville, KY so check in frequently to learn more about historic sites in the area.]