Dusting Off the Old Ones was published in 1961 by W. B. Clarke, Miles City, Montana.
Condemnation Proceedings Necessary
During the past few weeks in these columns we have been telling the story concerning the Miles City Municipal Airport--first, how the original airport land was filed on by two different parties, each filing on 160 acres, and then one selling his 160 acres to the other, C. H. Lansing who occupied the half section for many years--finally selling the tract to a promoter, who platted it into city lots and blocks and called it the Townsite of North Miles City. And then how this promoter sold lots to coal miners in the coal fields of Wyoming and elsewhere. Also, of how these purchasers failed to pay the taxes on the lots for the most part, and how the Calvin Investment Co. bought the tax sale certificates and obtained title to a goodly number of the lots through tax title. In one of these articles we stated that it was a long and rugged road whereby the city obtained the title to the land included in the original airport. And it certainly was. Not all of the lots were sold for taxes, so it was difficult for the city to contact the owners in an effort to obtain title to a sufficient block upon which to construct the airport. So, in April, 1928, the city council passed an ordinance authorizing and directing the taking of private lands for a landing field for aircraft and for the municipal jurisdiction over the same. In July, 1928, City Attorney Dan O'Hern filed the complaint in a condemnation suit in the District Court of Custer County by which the city sought to obtain title to the south 160 acres of Lansing Flat and also a narrow strip of land in the north 160. After the service of summons was made in the action, the court found that the city was entitled to take and acquire the tract of land and appointed three commissioners to determine the value of the lots. These commissioners were Sherman Hunt, A. W. Kennie and A. C. Eichhorn. the majority report of these commissioners found the value of the lots to be $6.60 each, but Mr. Eichhorn filed a minority report in which he stated that he believed the value of the lots to be but $3.26 each. The city considered the amount awarded to be excessive, and filed an appeal in the District Court. The case was tried before a jury in March, 1929, with the jury finding the value of each lot to be $5.00.