Filed Under Lewistown

All Purpose Shop

Lewistown Satellite Airfield Historic District

During World War II, the Army Corps of Engineers built almost 1,300 airfields. These rapidly constructed facilities followed standardized plans, all of which included an All Purpose Shop. The unassuming one-story buildings served as the bases' much-needed maintenance centers. In Lewistown, as at other satellite airfields, flimsy construction material, quick assembly, and heavy use made for a busy maintenance crew. As "all purpose" as the shop that served as their headquarters, the crew built shelves, tables, and benches and fixed broken toilets and broken windows.  They efficiently repaired damage to the airfield's buildings, whether caused by weather or by the hundreds of men who temporarily made their home here. As the military undoubtedly anticipated, the young, reckless airmen were not the most careful of tenants. Among other equipment, the shop housed table saws, drill presses, and hand tools for woodworking. During Lewistown's notoriously harsh winters, the crew relied on two coal-burning stoves to warm their workshop, whose single-pane windows and uninsulated lathe and tarpaper walls did little to retain the heat.


All-Purpose Shop All-Purpose Shop. Rear to side view of the shop building, facing southwest. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: James Rea Date: Nov. 2003
All-Purpose Shop All-Purpose Shop. Front to side view of the building, facing northeast. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: James Rea Date: Nov. 2003


Lewistown Municipal Airport, Lewistown, Montana | Private


The Montana National Register Sign Program, “All Purpose Shop,” Historic Montana, accessed December 11, 2023,