Where Was Michigan’s First Commercial Airport?
This mostly-forgotten Michigan airport - Michigan's first commercial airport - is long gone...except for a marker hidden in the bushes as a reminder.
Packard Field was located on Gratiot Avenue in the Detroit suburb of Roseville.
The year Packard Field opened is a point of contention, but it's believed to be 1919. It became a testing field for Packard's planes and government experiments.
One experiment that was tested here was the three-passenger (and pilot) Stinson Detroiter. Not only was it tested here, but the Stinson Detroiter was the plane that George Hubert Wilkins flew to his Arctic expedition in 1927.
The Michigan State Aviation School also took up space at Packard, where many wanna-be pilots got their licenses.
The airport was re-named Gratiot Airport in 1929 and again to Hartung Field before it closed for good. The land was sold in 1954 to make a strip mall of businesses, thanks to the ample parking space the airfield contained.
Unless you know about the marker hidden behind the bushes, you wouldn't know about this little slice of Michigan history. Nowadays, the old Packard Field has given way to the Eastgate Shopping Center, which is still in operation.
Take a look at some photos below!
PACKARD FIELD, THEN AND NOW