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Page 32
AUSTIN EXECUTIVE AIRPORT
A History of Austin's Newest General Aviation Airport
R
on
W. H
enRiksen
Chapter 2
airplane mechanic, and a science teacher. So
when he read in a magazine about creating
a tower-like building using telephone poles,
it sounded like a great idea, or if not great at
least cheap. Only it wasn't great or cheap. The
pole project certainly wasn't effortless. Tele-
phone poles, Ray soon learned, were notori-
ously crooked and required that every piece
of lumber connected to the poles be custom
cut and fitted into place with great care. Even
after fitting the supports, walls, and windows
together, a driving Texas rain followed by two
weeks of blistering sun would shift the entire
structure as if it were in a bowl of Jell-O.
The poles didn't make the structure more
stable over time, they made it less. Ray's
three-story tower leaned and wobbled even
as it was being built. But then, giving him his
due, he wasn't a quitter, nor was he much of a
planner. When anyone asked to see the con-
struction drawings for the tower/attached-
hangar affair, Ray lifted a calloused finger
and tapped on the side of his head, as if to say,
"It's all up here."
1966. Mary Harding, standing with pink shirt, and Ray Harding, sitting on far left, feeding workers as they help
construct the pole house. Photo courtesy of Dave Mandot.