Logan Field – Billings Airport
Revised 2 September 2001c
In 1925, the Commercial Club (predecessor to the Chamber of Commerce) sought
to have a Billings-Cheyenne mail route. This led to the desire for an airfield.
In 1927, Ben Harwood took an option of 120 acres of land for $1,000 cash. Billings set up an award
of $300 to the first two planes participating in a Spokane Air Derby to arrive
here. In August of 1927, the club completed arrangements to purchase the land
located on top of the rims from funds to be raised later. The committee members
changed their minds about the location, and thought that land two blocks from
the Northern Pacific Depot, and south of the subway (McAdow Addition west of
Billings, on Brickyard Road] would be better. The department of Commerce
rejected this location stating that the bluffs east of the
river (Yellowstone) is too near the rimrock cliffs. As a result, options were taken to buy the
Ethyl McCulloch and Thurm properties on the rims by a
city tax levy.
In 1929, Dick Logan and many volunteers leveled the land on the rims with a
small tractor and fresno. The back runway was
graded and a 16 x 12 foot administration building was constructed. A well was
dug 62 feet deep through the rock, and failed to reach water. A hangar was
built at a cost of $12,000 and repaid to the council members later by the city.
air transportation started in June 1928 when Nick Maner
landed a single-engine, four-place biplane, putting Maner
Air Lines in business. By September the airline folded due to many crack-ups.
Manner continued to fly, but for Northwest airlines. It was over six miles to
the airport using back roads.
In 1931, Earl Vance piloted a Border Air Lines plane from Great
Falls to join the Wyoming Air Service at Sheridan. Inland Air Lines operated routes
for many years after 1932.
In 1933, Northwest made billings one of its major stops on the Chicago to Seattle
route. A federal grant of $47,000 financed additional work on the field by
farmers using about 100 horses.
In 1934, 27th street
was blasted through the rims’ edge, and travel by auto was possible,
although very difficult.
Photos from Billings Gazette, October
In 1939, using WPA labor, the runways were paved, and assisted in the
financing of high school aviation crafts. A control tower was built in 1942. Until
1910 people wishing to go the top of the rims had to travel by way of the Black
Otter Trail. The Chamber of Commerce decided there should be a better way for
sightseers to get there. Workers from the Heffner Quarry built these steps,
located behind the MSU-Billings campus. Students from the Billings Polytechnic
Institute cut a second set of steps, north of Rocky Mountain
College. These steps
originally led to a cross that was located at the top. The Myers family cut a
third set of steps.
Yellowstone County Coordinator