Have You Seen Missoula’s ‘Airplane House’? Here’s the Story
When you mention the "airplane house on Stephens" most people in Missoula know which one you are talking about. If you need more description, then you can add the word "submarine" and now everyone should know which house you are describing. It's the iconic house with airplane and submarine sculptures in the front of the house on Stephens Avenue in Missoula.
The Story Behind the Missoula Airplane
What is the story behind the sculptures? I reached out to the creator of the artwork, Jim Beyer, about the inspiration behind them. Here is what Jim said:
The airplane I built four years ago in my garage. I'm an airplane guy. I went to an airplane auction in Greybull, Wyoming and bought the, it's a wing tank from an airplane and a couple of rudders from a different airplane. It is modeled after a Boeing P-26 fighter plane from 1932.
What About the "Yellow Submarine"?
Jim wasn't finished with just the airplane. Soon a submarine followed. Where did he get the submarine? He made it. Jim continued:
That is also an airplane gas tank. I bought it from a guy up on Flathead Lake. He used it as a pontoon for a pontoon boat. That is why it is all beat up on the bottom. I brought it home and didn't really know what to do with it. A lady friend said "that looks like a submarine". In a bout five minutes we said "yes" and started singing "Yellow Submarine" and I said that I can do that.
There Are Other Sculptures from Jim in Montana
Jim hasn't only created sculptures in Missoula, but he has also created works of art in Hot Springs, Montana. He found big old satellite dishes and made a flying saucer. He has taken old aluminum lights from stadiums and has turned them into mushrooms. He has also created a "Bender" sculpture after the character from the television show Futurama.
Not Everyone Loves His Art
Just like any artwork, not everyone is a fan. He did have one fan in Missoula's former Mayor John Engen. Jim said:
I asked Mayor John Engen, what he thought of the sculptures. He looks at me and says "Jim, I smile every time I drive by."
Whether you love it or hate it, one thing is for certain, it will make you turn your head when you drive by.