New airport name sought to honor Kennedy

One descendant of Logan is leery

Major General Edward Lawrence Logan led troops in two wars and was a judge, legislator, and head of charitable institutions. Major General Edward Lawrence Logan led troops in two wars and was a judge, legislator, and head of charitable institutions.
By Matt Viser and Martin Finucane
Globe Staff / September 3, 2009

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A Massachusetts lawmaker is calling for Logan International Airport to also include Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s name, in what is likely to be one of a series of proposals to memorialize the senator’s nearly half-century of legislative accomplishments.

Representative Lori Ehrlich, a Marblehead Democrat, filed a bill yesterday that would name the airport Logan-Kennedy International Airport.

“An outpouring of local appreciation was accompanied by tributes from several luminaries from around the nation and the world,’’ Ehrlich wrote to lawmakers, asking them to sign onto her proposal.

“We now have an opportunity to memorialize Senator Kennedy and keep his legacy alive.’’

“It’s an interesting idea that has merit,’’ said Matthew Brelis, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates the airport.

So who was the airport’s namesake, Major General Edward Lawrence Logan?

He was no lightweight.

Logan led troops in the Spanish-American War and World War I. He was also a lawyer, judge, state lawmaker, and president of a number of charitable institutions, according to a biography on Massport’s website.

“He’s largely forgotten today. Everybody asks who General Logan was. But if you had asked us in 1941 when he passed away, everybody in Boston knew him,’’ said Leonid Kondratiuk, the retired Army colonel who serves as historian for the Massachusetts National Guard.

“In his time, he was well regarded and well known and well respected. He was a leader in so many fields.’’

In a statement, House Speaker Robert DeLeo said: “I am aware of Rep. Ehrlich’s proposal to honor Senator Kennedy by renaming Logan Airport in his honor. I am sure that in the days ahead we will see a number of similar ideas. I am committed to making sure the Commonwealth pays tribute to Senator Kennedy and his legacy in a way that is in keeping with his extraordinary contributions to the people of Massachusetts and America.’’

The School Committee last night approved a proposal from Mayor Thomas M. Menino to rename a pilot school that trains children to get into the health care field, after Kennedy.

“Their names and distinguished careers would serve as a beacon to welcome millions of travelers who fly into our state from lands near and far,’’ Ehrlich wrote.

“I believe this would be a fitting way to remember the significant contributions [Kennedy] made to our state and country.’’

Logan made his mark long ago in wars that are fading into the mist of history, in a Boston very different from today’s.

But one of his descendants was leery of the idea of changing the airport’s name.

“I think there are plenty of things that have been named for the Kennedys and another one is probably overkill,’’ said Malcolm Logan, 55, of Portland, Maine, who is Logan’s great-nephew. “But nonetheless, I’m very saddened and sympathetic to Senator Kennedy’s family’s loss and Massachusetts’ loss.’’

“I would be shocked if they ever did this,’’ he said. “But who knows?’’

Born Jan. 20, 1875, Logan, a lifelong resident of South Boston, graduated from Boston Latin School in 1893 and from Harvard in 1897.

He served in the Spanish-American War, then entered Harvard Law School. He graduated in 1901 from the law school, according to the Massport website biography.

After the war, he joined the National Guard, built up his law practice, and became presiding judge of the South Boston Court.

His Guard unit was called into service to protect the border from Mexican bandits in 1916, then mobilized in March 1917 as war with Germany loomed.

Logan led the 101st Infantry Regiment, which was made up of Irish-Americans from Boston, through six campaigns in the war, Kondratiuk said.

The airport was first known as Boston Airport; that was changed in 1944 to Commonwealth Airport.

In 1956, the Legislature changed the name to Logan International Airport - though Major General Logan never flew in an airplane.

Matt Viser can be reached at; Martin Finucane can be reached at