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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Vancouver in Clark County, Washington — The American West (Northwest)
 

From Military to Municipal Airfield

 
 
From Military to Municipal Airfield Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., June 12, 2008
1. From Military to Municipal Airfield Marker
Inscription. The history of Pearson Field goes back almost to the origins of mechanized flight itself. The landing site of Lincoln Beachey’s groundbreaking flight across the Columbia River from Portland to Vancouver, during the 1905 Lewis & Clark Exposition, marked the future location of the Vancouver Barracks Aerodrome. Soon after that, a growing number of aviators used the field for aerial exhibitions and experimental flights until the field was transformed into a spruce mill during World War I. At the end of the war, the Army Air Service established a presence at the field, teaming up with federal and state fire officials to begin aerial fire patrols and forest fire spotting, as well as conducting routine air-mail service and providing a training ground for young pilots.

In 1925, the Vancouver Barracks Aerodrome was renamed Pearson Field, in honor of Lt. Alexander Pearson, a young army pilot killed while piloting an experimental aircraft.

A separate field for civilian aviation was established by the Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, later to be controlled by the City of Vancouver. The dominating military presence was soon overshadowed by the civilian presence, with passenger flights, air-mail flights, flight schools, and local air
From Military to Municipal Airfield Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W.
2. From Military to Municipal Airfield Marker
services. All civilian activity at the field was suspended when the U.S. entered World War II. At the conclusion of the war, the military declared the field surplus to their needs and transferred title to the military portion of the field to the City of Vancouver in 1949.

Today Pearson Field is jointly owned by the city and the National Park Service, and remains one of the oldest active air fields in the country.
 
Erected by Vancouver National Historic Reserve.
 
Location. 45° 37.227′ N, 122° 38.984′ W. Marker is in Vancouver, Washington, in Clark County. Marker is on S. V Street near Columbia House Boulevard. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Vancouver WA 98661, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. U. S. Grant Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away); Ilchee (approx. 0.4 miles away); Carlton Foster Bond (approx. 0.4 miles away); Early Aviation History in Vancouver (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Chkalov Transpolar Flight (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Soviet Transpolar Flight of 1937
Upper right photograph on the "From Military to Municipal Airfield" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., June 12, 2008
3. Upper right photograph on the "From Military to Municipal Airfield" Marker
Pearson Field was also a training ground for some of the nation's top femaile pilots. Ann "Half Pint" Bohrer (above in 1929) paid for lessons at Tex Rankin's flying school by working as his secretary and by performing in his acrobatic flying demonstrations. Courtesy of Pearson Air Museum.
(approx. 0.4 miles away); The 321st Observation Squadron (1923-1941) (approx. 0.4 miles away); Howard C. French / Alexander Pearson (approx. 0.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Vancouver.
 
More about this marker. The background photograph on the marker has the caption, "This Curtiss B-2 Condor was one of twelve fabric-covered bombers built between 1929 and 1930. The plane (picture here, ca. 1930) was brought to Pearson from San Diego to train bomber pilots, but advances in aviation technology rendered this plane obsolete by 1934. Photograph by Dale Denny, Courtesy of Pearson Air Museum.
 
Categories. Air & SpaceMilitary
 
Mount Hood seen over the Pearson Field hangers. image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., June 12, 2008
4. Mount Hood seen over the Pearson Field hangers.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,263 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page was last revised on August 24, 2016.
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