The first commercial airport in Michigan was located in Macomb County.

Nowadays, it doesn't seem like you have to go very far to find some sort of airfield in Michigan. From the bigger airports like Detroit Metropolitan Airport and Gerald R. Ford International Airport to your smaller airfields just down the road, they are everywhere. That wasn't always the case though.

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Michigan's first commercial airport has been pretty much forgotten within the history books. Packard Field was located in Roseville on Gratiot Avenue. For the most part, it is believed to have been opened in 1919, with some saying as early as 1916. What's even cooler is that it was built for experimental private and government projects, along with a testing ground for Packard-build aircraft engines.

The Stinson Detroiter was one example of what was tested at Packard Field. The Stinson Detroiter was a biplane that had brakes on the wheels and room for three passengers and the pilot. The particular aircraft was the same plane that George Hubert Wilkins used on his 1927 expedition to explore the Arctic.

The field was purchased in 1927 by Truman Handy Newberry, a former Senator and Secretary of the Navy. In 1928, many civilians began to earn their civilian pilot license through the Michigan State Aviation School (not related to MSU.)

In 1929, the airfield was renamed Gratiot Airport. In later years it received a third name change as it became Hartung Field. In 1954 however, the airfield was replaced by one of Michigan's first shopping centers, Eastgate Shopping Center. Sadly the only thing left is this sad marker.

Packard Field Marker via Google
Packard Field Marker via Google
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Source: Daily Detroit

Vintage Michigan Airports

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