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Holman Field

Site submitted by: Steve Lee

Location

River Mile 838.00-836.00 — Right Descending Bank

Significance

History
Infrastructure

Description

The airfield is named for Charles W. (Speed) Holman: "He belonged to the heights and the heights claimed him" per the inscription on a plaque on a boulder at the airport's old Administration Building. Holman was killed in 1931 during an air show in Omaha after having won the U.S. air speed trials in 1930. His funeral included the first "Missing Man" formation where a flight of planes flew overhead with a vacant spot in the formation.

Holman field was built in 1927 by filling Lamprey Lake with dredged material from the river and waste from the city. Up on the Dayton's Bluff is the Airway Beacon, a 1920's era beacon tower to guide pilots into the airport after they followed the course of the river to the airport. This is one of only a few light beacons left operational in the country. A 1939 WPA project built the stone administration building designed by City Architect Clarence Wiggington.

The café in the Administration Building periodically opens and closes, it's worth checking in on (Lee, Stephen. pers. comm. with Holman Field workers; MST. 18 May 2002. p. B1; MAC 2000).

In 1936, J. Edgar Hoover himself supervised gangster Alvin Karpis' delivery to the St. Paul Courthouse from his place of arrest New Orleans. Karpis, wrapped in irons, was led from the plane at Holman Field surrounded by FBI agents. (Maccabee, Paul. p. 265)

Scheduled service is no longer available at Holman field, but it bustles with commercial, charter, and military service. The south end of the field, with a modern control tower, is the center of action now. The Minnesota Air National Guard flies helicopters out of their west side hangers. (Lee, Stephen. pers. comm. with Holman Field workers; MST. 18 May 2002. p. B1; MAC 2000)

 

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