The O’Hare ARS site was a small farming community called Orchard Place, which had been settled by German immigrants and New England pioneers in the 1840s and developed into a railroad stop in 1887. Initially called Orchard Place Airport, O’Hare ARS was activated in October 1942 when the government acquired a number of tracts of farm land. The War Assets Corporation erected buildings on this land and leased it in June 1943, to Douglas Aircraft Company as an assembly plant for the C-54 cargo aircraft. The plant was closed in the fall of 1945.
In 1946, the site was reactivated as a military installation when the 803rd Army Air Force Reserve Specialized Depot assumed control of the site.
O’Hare ARS was added to the approved closure list as part of the 1995 round of Base Realignment and Closure. As part of the transition for closure of the base, the 928th Air Lift Wing was deactivated in 1997 and the 126th Air Refueling Wing was designated as the host unit. The 126th ARW maintained operations at the O'Hare ARS and continued to serve as the base supervisory unit until closure of the base in July 1999.
Current land use on and adjacent to, the former O’Hare ARS property is industrial/commercial in nature and is anticipated to remain so for the foreseeable future, due to its proximity to O’Hare IAP. The former ARS property is currently largely inactive and is in the initial stages of industrial/commercial development by the City of Chicago, the current property owner. Landfill 1 is currently part of the active O’Hare IAP airfield. Agricultural and residential usage was prohibited in the property transfer deeds to the City of Chicago.
Local Redevelopment Authority
City of Chicago Airport System Department of Aviation
P.O. Box 66142
Chicago, IL 60666
Phone: (800) 832-6352