Amarillo’s First Airport Was In The Bivins Neighborhood
If you have ever traveled down Julian Boulevard in the Bivins neighborhood of Amarillo, you may have noticed something very different. Julian may be the only neighborhood road in the city that is separated by a median.
Sure, you see medians on the highways and some major roadways, but Julian is a quiet neighborhood street. Have you ever wondered why this street is so different from the other neighborhood streets in the city?
The answer is simple, but not one you'd expect. Before it was named Julian Boulevard, it was known as Bivins Field and it was Amarillo's very first airport and runways. If you look at a map, you will notice North and South Julian are perpendicular to each other. That is because those two sections of the roadway make up the two cross runways.
The first reported landing of an aircraft in Amarillo is documented as taking place in April of 1918. Two Army Signal Corps planes landed in a pasture located in the 500 block of N. Polk. They refueled at the corner of NE 4th and N. Polk, before taking off again.
In 1919, the Panhandle Air Service and Transportation Company was formed and Bivins Field opened a year later in 1920. The project was partially financed by Amarillo resident Lee Bivins and included a $30,000 six-plane hangar located near 15th and Crockett.
The airport did not stay in Bivins for long According to the Texas Air and Space Museum, by 1926, the area was being mapped out for a new residential area of the city and the airport would have to move. It would take 12 horses, along with heavy beams and rollers, to move the large hangar to its new location, three miles north of the city. In 1928, the field was renamed Bivins-English Field, when Harold English took over management.
The next time you travel down Julian Boulevard, try to picture yourself taxing down a busy runway. You may find it hard to imagine the neighborhood was ever anything more than beautiful Amarillo homes. It's really fascinating to see how much our city has grown and changed throughout the years.
Published June 1, 2020