Lt. General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport :  A history

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For over 75 years Logan International Airport has served as the center of aviation in New England. In 1922, funds were first made available to develop an aircraft landing site on 189 acres of land on Jeffries Point in East Boston, Massachusetts. On September 8, 1923, the Boston Airport was dedicated. The original airfield was comprised of two 1500 foot long cinder runways and was used primarily by the Massachusetts Air Guard and the Army Air Corp. The Boston Aircraft Corporation completed the first commercial hangar in 1925 and the first scheduled commercial passenger flights were initiated by Colonial Air Transport between Boston-NewYork in 1927.
In 1928, ownership of the airport was transferred from the US Army to the Massachusetts Legislature. The facility was leased to the City of Boston and a terminal building was constructed to house the passenger terminal and a flight control tower. The following year the City of Boston expanded the airfield and constructed larger hangars which were leased to the airlines.

Despite the Depression during the 1930s, air travel continued to grow in Boston. The runways were lengthened, an administration building was constructed and 200 additional acres of land was reclaimed from the Boston Harbor.

Aviation continued to lure pioneers into adventure and Boston Airport hosted legendary fliers such as Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh as they passed through on international journeys. By the later part of the decade, the demand for air travel had grown to the point that American Airlines provided daily scheduled service between New York and Boston.

During the early 1940s, the Massachusetts Department of Public Works operated and further expanded the airport. The air side land area was expanded by 1,800 acres by further filling of Boston Harbor. Additional runways, apron areas and three new hangars were built to provide operational support. By the end of 1949, the horseshoe shaped Boutwell Terminal Building (Terminals B, C & D are now on the original footprint) was completed to help accomodate the 471,000 passengers using Boston Airport.

A loop access roadway system was completed in 1952 to support the new terminal, in 1953 the airport had its first non-stop transcontinental service from Los Angeles to Boston and in 1955 an eight-story control tower was built at the center of the Boutwell Terminal. By the end of the 1950s the airport had grown to four runways and an expanded terminal with 45 gates.

While the airport facilities underwent a metamorphosis, the governance of the airport and its name changed. In 1956, Boston Airport was officially renamed the Lt. General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport by the state legislature. General Logan was born in Boston on January 20, 1875. He was a graduate of Boston Latin school in 1894, Harvard College in 1898 and Harvard Law School in 1901. During a long and varied career, General Logan served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Massachusetts Senate. He was chairman of the Metropolitan District Commission, manager of the George Robert White Fund and later became a judge in the South Boston District Court. His military career dates back to November, 1897 when he enlisted in the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia to fight in the Spanish-American War and ended when he retired as a Lieutenant General on March 22, 1928. He was called for active duty in the Spanish-American War, served as a Colonel commanding the 16th (Yankee) division and was promoted to the grade of Major General in March, 1923. He retired on March 22, 1928 and passed away on July 6, 1929 leaving behind his widow and two children, Patricia and Edward L.. Jr.

In the same year, the state legislature also created Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) to operate and manage the airport and Boston's port facilities. By the late 1950's, Logan Airport was the tenth busiest airport with over two million passengers annually.

Logan Airport continued a period of expansion and development throughout the 1960s with major improvements made on the runways and lighting systems at the airport. In 1961, construction of the first two-level international terminal began on the current Terminal D site. Built for slightly less than $6 million, the facility was comprised of four 450ft. piers. The facility was completed in 1965 as the jet age moved into Boston. An additional landfill was added to extend runway 15R/33L, to accomodate the movement toward larger aircrafts. By 1966, international travel had increased by one hundred percent from 1951. The expansion continued with the start of construction on the Central Garage, the Terminal Roadway and the New Taxiway. This expansion was necessary for the further growth of Logan Airport as it had become the eighth busiest airport in the United States.

Progress continued throughout the decade with the completion of three major infrastructure projects between 1973 and 1976 at a cost of $105 million. Those projects included the 22-story, 285 foot new control tower in 1973 (at the time the largest in the world), the Volpe International Terminal (Terminal E), opened in 1974 and the South Terminal which opened. The filling of Bird Island Flats was finally completed in 1974, which provided an additional 234 acres of space for cargo and other facilities to be developed.

The 1980s saw development on the Airport and its surrounding communities. In 1982 the final phase of the Neptune Road Relocation Program was initiated to relocate the balance of families to several alternative sites in East Boston. Two years later, soundproofing work was completed on classrooms in East Boston schools and thousands of homes.

In 1980 the annual number of passengers flying in and out of Logan Airport had increased to 15.1 million. To accomodate this passenger upsurge the airport undertook a number of internal improvements. The airport site focused on the constuction of the Massachusetts Technology Center (currently the Logan Office Center), Southside cargo facilities, a new Hyatt Hotel and the Amelia Earhart General Aviation Terminal on the Bird Island Flats area, which was dedicated in 1984. The decade also saw smaller changes to improve upon the Airport. In 1983, roadway improvements were made, as well as renovations to Terminal C and the development of the nation's first airport play area called Kidport in 1987.

By the late 1990s the number of annual passengers at Logan Airport had increased to approximately 25 million annually. In response to this growth, Logan Airport sought to update the facilities and services rendered by the airport in order to create greater ease and accessibility for its passengers. In 1994, the Logan Modernization project was initiated. Phase I of the International Gateway portion of Logan Modernization involved the development of a connection between Terminal E and a major portion of the upper level of Terminal D. This project provided additional holdroom space and shorter walking distances for passengers. Phase I essentially created the Terminal D and E connector and was successfully completed in August 1997.

This modernization continued with the Central Garage addition, which included the development of the Moving Walkways to Terminal A and E. The Central Garage addition allowed the consolidation of parking spaces from several remote parking facilities into a central location. The seven-story, 3,150 car garage was connected to the pre-existing Central Garage through vehicular bridges. Together the garage addition and the Central garage operate as the Central Parking Complex.

The replacement of the Hilton Hotel was one of the latest improvements completed on the Airport in the 1990s. The new 600-room Boston Logan Hilton opened in October 1999 replacing the Logan Airport Ramada Hotel.

Logan International Airport will continue development and change as it strives to provide amenities to its passengers.