The Darkroom

When planes landed in Baltimore Harbor

Overseas passenger air service arrived in Baltimore in the 1930s at a piece of land where Colgate Creek met the Patapsco River.

Baltimore’s airport, known as Harbor Field, replaced a primitive landing strip at Logan Field in Dundalk. On Sept. 13, 1937, a Pan American Clipper met a British flying boat, the Cavalier, on test flight out of Bermuda.Pan American and British Imperial Airways seaplanes made the initial landings and takeoffs at Harbor Field.

Flyers could travel to New York and Bermuda from Baltimore. A Baltimore Sun reporter, on the inaugural Bermuda-Baltimore flight, played golf in Bermuda the same day as he played a round at Clifton Park in November, 1937. The flight lasted nearly 6 hours.

The seaplane carried 19 passengers and a crew of five. The airport, then being constructed on filled land – and was derided as a “mud hole” — did not formally open until October 1941, when an American Airlines craft, described as a sky sleeper, landed.

Harbor Field did not meet expectations and was soon replaced with the 1950 opening of Friendship International Airport, now Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Harbor Field is now part of the state’s Dundalk Marine Terminal.

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