Stout Field, located on south Holt Road between Minnesota and Raymond Streets, was Indianapolis’ first municipal airport. Originally known as Mars Hill Airport, for the suburb it is located in, and also simply known as Indianapolis Municipal Airport, the airfield was opened in the 1926, with the terminal and hangars built around 1927. During its time as the city airport, the runways were apparently not paved. The airport’s name came from WWI veteran Lt. Richard Stout, who had died in a plane crash at Fort Benjamin Harrison.

The terminal building, April 2010

It was soon realized that a bigger municipal airport would be needed, and the initial 1,000 acres of what is now Indianapolis International Airport were purchased two miles west in 1928. That airport opened in 1931 as the Weir Cook Airport. Stout Field was then transferred to the state for use by the National Guard, and presumably a secondary commercial airport.

Stout Field, 1941, with paved runways being cleared. The terminal and hangar can be seen along Holt Road. (IMAGIS)

During WWII, the Army leased the largely vacant airport and based training operations there for its transport aircraft. In 1944, a military glider school was added as well. The Army improved the field, paving its runways and constructing many temporary buildings for the flying schools.

After the war, the state resumed control and it was again home of the Indiana National Guard. During the 1950s, the Guard, State Police, and State Highway Department had aircraft based there, but by 1961, the airfield was closed. Much of the field was sold to commercial development, but the Guard retained the eastern part of the field, including the former terminal building and hangars. They are still in use by the ING today.

Closer view of the terminal building, April 2010.

The terminal itself has been undergoing renovations recently, and there is a rumor that it may be accessible for tours in the future.

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