Casa Blanca/Casa Blanca Inn
Casa Blanca Inn historic photo. 1960s or 70s.
A circa 1958 aerial view looking northeast at the Casa Blanca Airfield. It shows the hotel buildings in the foreground, with a single aircraft on the asphalt taxiway leading to the runway. (Scottsdale Public Library)
The Casa Blanca Inn Airport was described in the Aerodromes table on the 1956 Phoenix Sectional chart as having a single 2,800' bare runway. (John Voss)
A 2011 aerial photo shows that some of the buildings of the original Casa Blanca Inn still stand on the southwest side of the site, but no trace of the former airfield remains.
Backstory and Context
The original ranch structures complete with barn and horse corral were designed and built in the 1920s by architect R.T. Bob Evans (also designed Jokake Inn) for artist Donald Kellogg of Illinois. Donald passed away shortly after construction and the ranch eventually was sold to the Charles W. Borg family of Illinois. George Borg, inventor of the automatic transmission, used the home as a winter retreat for family and employees of the Borg Warner Corporation.
Borg had an extra wing constructed onto the home in the shape of a Morocan-style dome. Folklore has it that George was such a boisterous drinker that he was thrown out of all the bars in nearby Scottsdale. So he built his own bar with an onion-domed roof, which later became a restaurant at the Casa Blanca Inn. The dome would also serve as a landmark for Mrs. Borg who was an avid pilot. In the 1940s, Borg had a 2,600' dirt airstrip constructed that stretched diagonally across the property from the corner of what is now Chaparral Road and 68th Street to the corner of Casa Blanca Drive and Jackrabbit Road.
This little airport was located on the grounds of the Casa Blanca Inn, adjacent to the east side of Camelback Mountain. Casa Blanca Airport was apparently built at some point between 1945-48, as it was not depicted on the 1945 Phoenix Sectional Chart (courtesy of John Voss). The earliest reference to the Casa Blanca Airport, which has been located, is the 1948 USAF Phoenix Urban Area Chart (courtesy of Scott O'Donnell), which depicted it as having a single northwest/southeast runway.
In the 1950s, when the resort was opened to the general public, the guest list mainly included the Hollywood elite coming to Arizona. The airstrip was used by guests staying at the Inn that wanted to land their personal aircraft in order to avoid the general public at Sky Harbor Airport.