From mid 1900s Entebbe town commenced to grow as the seat of the colonial government. A court building was opened in 1904 and the first Government House (State House) was opened in 1908. Whereas a number of these structures such as the former and the latter do not stand today, other structures that denoted the development of the administrative function of Entebbe town as formerly the seat of the Governor still stand. Some have changed their functions but a number remain as offices of governmental departments. Below are prominent surviving historic structures in Entebbe town.
Mapping & Surveying Headquarters, Entebbe, dated MCMXXX, i.e. 1930.
Mapping & Surveying Headquarters
Mapping & Surveying Headquarters
Entebbe and growth of Aviation in Uganda a historic perspective
Entebbe International Airport started as a miniature airfield in 1928. In this first phase of development, the capacity of its grass runway was upgraded to a length of 731.52m. by 45.72m in 1929 to accommodate bigger but non-commercial aircrafts. In its second developmental phase, commercial flights were introduced in January 1932. The flights comprised namely of the Cape-Cairo mail services, which prompted the development of its control tower facility with radio communication equipment. In 1935 the grass runway was replaced with a firmer murram surface and elementary accommodation facilities for passengers manifested. The came the Second Word War, which proved a blessing in that by 1945 the runway had been bituminization and further extended to a length of 1,463m. The 5-year £350,000 post-War third and most ultimate phase denoted development towards an international airport. Based on requirements of jet-engine-powered aircrafts, 1946 comprised the planning year and the next five years signified realization of the plans. The plans included the completion of a bituminized No. 2 runway 2,743m. long and introduction of night take-off and landing traffic control provisions. Subsequently, on 10th November, 1951 Entebbe International Airport was officially opened by the then Acting Governor of Uganda, Mr. H.S. Potter at a colourful ceremony.
In the 1970s, a new terminal building was constructed in close vicinity and the above-enumerated structures now referred to as ‘The Old Airport’. Thereafter, the Old Airport was taken over by Uganda’s Ministry of Defense as an air force base. Today, however, it is serving largely as base for UN flight activities in operations related to peace keeping, relief aid, etc, for the entire sub-region.
The historic Entebbe Old Airport is now represented by a few surviving structures namely the first fire fighting station in Uganda and part of what was the then combined terminal/control tower building.
The two-in-one Entebbe Old Airport Terminal Building and Control Tower was built by an Israeli construction company by the name ‘Solel Boneh’, (Roffe-Ofir, 2006). It could have been standing today in its original state. However, in 1976, a hijacking saga of an Air France civic flight grounded at the airport attracted an Israeli rescue raid, which lead to partial bombing of the building, as seen in Photo (A) below. Recently, in preparation for the just concluded CHOGM (2008), the Civil Aviation Authority took a decision to rehabilitate and conserve that which was still structurally sound, the Control Tower section as seen in Photo (B). It is now poised for adaptive re-use as an Aviation Museum and monumental reminder of this first international airport of Uganda. On the front façade of the building is a plaque jointly placed by governments of Uganda and Israel.
Photograph (A) sourced from Civil Aviation Authority, (2008) by permission of Public Relations Office