History from Home – Blackwood Field

Did you know that there was once an airfield on The Hermitage?

This is true. This airfield is a largely unknown part of The Hermitage’s history!

Blackwood Field was opened in 1921 to house the First Squadron, Air Service, Tennessee National Guard. This former military airfield was located on the property of The Hermitage (the home of President Andrew Jackson).

Veterans began recruiting efforts and conducting drills (without pay). They raised funds ($3,000), and H.O. Blackwood donated the property and gave $1,000 to aid the construction of the field.

The airfield property consisted of a 100-acre flying site complete with a World War I hangar moved from Memphis and was known as Blackwood Field.

On December 4, 1921, the unit received federal recognition and was designated the 136th Air Observation Squadron, flying four new Curtiss JN6HG “Jennys” and one DH-4B DeHavilland aircraft. Remains of concrete footings are visible from adjacent Shute Lane when vegetation doesn’t block the view.

The flying unit at Blackwood Field was re-designated the 136th Air Observation Squadron at the end of 1921 and operated four new Curtiss JN-6HG Jennys and one DeHavilland DH-4B aircraft. Blackwood’s squadron was further re-designated the 105th Observation Squadron in 1923.

Today, the Squadron patch still reflects Andrew Jackson, “Old Hickory,” on horseback.

The first airmail flight from Nashville was conducted from Blackwood Field to Chicago in 1924.

Due to poor condition of the unpaved roads leading to Blackwood Field (and the cost of improving them) it was removed from contention for serving as a permanent airmail airfield for Nashville.

The increasing use of airmail also brought about the need for a closer airport to Nashville, eventually leading to the establishment of McConnell Field (west of downtown Nashville) in 1927. “Although local pilots continued to use Blackwood Field for a time, it was closed in 1928.”