Pearson Field: Pioneering Aviation in Vancouver and Portland

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Pearson Field: Pioneering Aviation in Vancouver and Portland

Author: Bill Alley
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing
Copyright: 2008
Pages: 128
Cover Price: $ 19.99

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Pearson Field, part of the Vancouver National Historic Reserve, is one of the oldest continually operating airfields in the United States. From the first arrival of an airship in 1905 and the flying of a plane off the Multnomah Hotel in 1912, Pearson has achieved numerous aviation milestones. The first official interstate airmail landed here in 1912, and during World War I it was the site of the world’s largest spruce mill.

Pearson was selected to serve as Portland’s first airmail terminal, and two of America’s most notable women pilots—Dorothy Hester and Edith Foltz—first took to the skies from the bustling Vancouver field. Pearson was also in the world spotlight when the 1937 Soviet transpolar flight landed in 1937. After 100 years, Pearson continues to serve as one of the region’s preeminent general aviation centers.

Author Bill Alley, a certified archivist and historian, is a member of the board of directors of the Pearson Field Historical Society and, in addition to numerous articles on aviation, also penned the script for the award-winning documentary An Air-Minded City. In this volume, he has gathered more than 200 photographs from the Pearson Air Museum and other area repositories to recount a century of aviation at Pearson Field.

Background Information

World War I started in August 1914 and ended in November 1918, but American participation did not begin at all until 1917 and not on a large scale until the final year. Portland, located at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers, is the largest city in Oregon, having been named for Portland, Maine.