Miller Field (Staten Island)
||This article relies entirely upon a single source, the National Register Information System (NRIS) database or one of its mirrors. Articles based solely on the NRIS may contain errors. (November 2013)|
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Miller Army Air Field Historic District
|Location||New Dorp, Staten Island, New York, New York|
|Architectural style||No Style Listed|
|Governing body||National Park Service|
|NRHP Reference #||
|Added to NRHP||April 11, 1980|
Miller Field was a United States Army facility on Staten Island, New York, in New Dorp. It was founded in November 1919 and completed in 1921. It was named after Captain James Ely Miller (1883–1918), commanding officer of the 95th Aero Squadron in the Air Service of the AEF, who died in combat on March 9, 1918 over Rheims in World War I. He was the first United States aviator killed in action while serving with an American military aviation unit. Before World War I Miller had been vice president of the Columbia Trust Company of New York and manager of its Fifth Avenue office who trained at his own expense to earn his pilot's license and Reserve Military Aviator rating with the Governors Island Training Corps in 1916. He was also an organizer, along with Major Raynal Bolling, of the 1st Reserve Aero Squadron, the first unit of what would eventually become the Air Force Reserve Command.
When built, Miller Field was the only coastal defense air station in the eastern United States and was part of the network of fortifications around New York City. It was built on land formerly belonging to the Vanderbilt family.
It had a grass runway (and was the last airport with a grass runway in New York City), ramps for seaplanes, and four hangars for planes. Miller Field was used for antiaircraft fire and training Coast Guard personnel. Miller Field closed as an airbase in 1969.
The Field was the site of the Elm Tree Beacon Light, a lighthouse from the 19th century through 1924 when it was abandoned. The light had replaced a landmark elm tree.
On December 16, 1960 a United Airlines Douglas DC-8 and a Trans World Airlines Lockheed Super Constellation collided just west of the field with the Constellation crashing into the northwest corner of the airport while the DC-8 crashed into Park Slope Brooklyn. 134 were killed. The 1960 New York air disaster was the worst airline disaster to that point.
The Miller Army Air Field Historic District is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
Currently the field is also in use as a local park, with baseball and soccer fields. It hosts the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in the summer. The field is directly east of New Dorp High School.
- Official National Park Service website
- Historic Miller Field website
- List of Air Force fields
- Photos of Miller Field