Pearson Field

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Pearson Field (1921-1946) - A U.S. Army Air Field established in 1921 near Vancouver, Clark County, Washington. First named Vancouver Barracks Aerodrome, Renamed Pearson Field in September 1925 after Lt. Alexander Pearson, Jr. a U.S. Army pilot, who was killed on 3 Sep 1924 while testing an aircraft in preparation for a race. The military airfield was inactive during World War II and transferred to civilian use in 1946.

Pearson Field Museum Building.
Restored Pearson Field Headquarters Building, Pearson Memorial in Front.
Restored Pearson Field Hanger.


In the early 1900s, the U.S. Army Vancouver Barracks polo field became a place where local aviation enthusiasts gathered to try out their aircraft. With the U.S. entry into World War I, the field became a production site for aviation-grade spruce lumber used to construct U.S. combat aircraft.

Vancouver Barracks & Pearson Field NPS Map

Beginning in 1923, the field was home to the 321st Observation Squadron, commanded by Lt. Oakley Kelly from 1924-1929, and by Lt. Carlton Bond from 1929-1933 and 1938-1940.

Between 1924 and 1926 the Spruce Mill was removed, and the airfield was graded and restored to operation as the Vancouver Barracks Aerodrome. The dedication ceremony took place in the fall of 1925.

In 1929 a U.S.S.R. goodwill flight to the United States landed at Pearson Field when the plane developed mechanical problems. The field's commander, Lt. Carlton Bond, provided assistance and the plane continued its flight the following day.

In 1937 another Soviet aircraft attempted to break the long-distance world record on a route from Moscow to San Francisco over the North Pole. Fog forced the plane to land at Pearson Field, still setting a record for the first transpolar flight. The then Vancouver Barracks commander, Brigadier General George C. Marshall invited the Soviet fliers to breakfast, while crowds and press thronged the airfield to view the massive Soviet airplane.

World War II

In 1941 the 321st Observation Squadron was called to active duty. All flights in the Portland-Vancouver area used the new Portland Airport completed in 1941, and flight operations at Pearson Field were curtailed for the duration of the war.

Post World War II

In July 1946, Pearson Field and the adjacent municipal airport were combined and renamed Pearson Airpark. The title to the army field was officially transferred to the City of Vancouver on 25 Apr 1949.

Current Status

Civil Airport.

Location: Just south of Vancouver Barracks Historic Site
in Clark County, Washington.

Maps & Images

Lat: 45.62081 Long: -122.65712

GPS Locations:

See Also:



Fortification ID:

  • WA0254 - Pearson Field
  • WA0341 - Vancouver Barracks Aerodrome

Visited: 26 Jul 2008

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