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This webpage reproduces an item in the
Missouri Journal of History & Politics
Vol. 5 No. 3 (June 1928), pp237‑255

The text is in the public domain.

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and I believe it to be free of errors.
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This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

 p237  Early History of Aeronautics in St. Louis​1

Address by Major Albert Bond Lambert

The early history of aeronautics in St. Louis is closely identified with the early history of aeronautics throughout the world. Very few people realize that St. Louis has been a conspicuous community in such activity and development since 1859, at which time Captain John Wise made a balloon flight from St. Louis to Henderson, New York — 1150 miles — a record which stood for over fifty years. He made a second flight from St. Louis in 1878, and on his third flight landed somewhere in Lake Michigan without leaving any trace.

In 1904, the Louisiana Purchase Expedition Company, through the personal efforts of Governor Francis, offered $150,000, in prizes for aerial flights and exhibitions. It was the first real prize money of any consequence ever offered in the interest of aeronautics. The airplane was then practically unknown. The only contestant was Santos Dumont,  p238 who brought his tiny airship, packed in a box, all the way from France. Unfortunately he failed to take the air while here, owing to a cut of undetermined origin in the gas bag.

It is of interest to note that about fifty experimental balloons were sent up from Washington University during the years 1904, 1905, and 1906, under the direction of Prof. H. H. Clayton of the Blue Hill Meteorological Station, Readville, Massachusetts. Mr. A. L. Rotch was responsible for these tests. These balloons were six feet in diameter and carried instruments for recording temperature, altitudes, and other conditions. One balloon reached a height of six miles and recorded a temperature of 112 degrees below zero.

In 1907 the International Balloon Race, the first of its kind to be held in this country, started from St. Louis, with entrants from Germany, France, and Belgium. One hundred thousand people saw the start of this race in Forest Park, near the present Barnes Hospital. The Business Men's League, through the efforts of Mr. James E. Smith, financed the event which cost $30,000.

During 1908 St. Louis was again the pioneer in assembling all the airships of the United States, four in all. The aviators were Baldwin, Beechey, Knabenshue and Dixon. A course was laid out from the Barnes Hospital site to the Buckingham Hotel and return. One ship landed off its course in Forest Park. Dixon, using a bicycle device for power, landed in East St. Louis when a cross wind struck him. The other two finally made the read trip and divided a $5000 prize.

This same year I invited Captain H. E. Honeywell to take a balloon flight with me, primarily to acquaint him with the use of a guide rope, a trick originating among the French balloon pilots. Captain Honeywell returned the compliment by equipping our outfit with  p239 a blower to force air into the gas bag after loss of gas. The idea originated with Captain Honeywell and the scheme was success­ful. It was the first flight of its kind in this country. We started in the evening and floated around the country until daylight. By that time we had lost our bearings and did not know where we were. I guessed Tennessee and Kentucky; Honeywell guessed Arkansas. Just after sun‑up we were flying very low over the tree tops, speed about fifteen miles an hour. Not far ahead was a man in a field lazily leaning on a hoe. We were going to cross directly overhead. "Here's our chance to find out where we are," said Honeywell. He yelled as loudly as he could: "What State and County are we in?" Man on the ground: "Where you from?" Honeywell: "What State and County are we in?" Man on the ground: "Where you going?" Honeywell: "Why don't you answer my question?" Man: "Why don't you answer mine?" Several hours later we landed near Tiger, Georgia, four hundred and fifty miles from St. Louis.

The first aeroplane flight in St. Louis was made by Glenn Curtiss in 1909. He was offered $5000 for a mile flight over a circular course in Forest Park. After waiting four days for a dead calm, and daily holding an expectant crowd, the flight was accomplished at six o'clock in the morning. This same year we held the Centennial Balloon Race from Chouteau Avenue, and had an attendance of 75,000 persons.

Nineteen hundred and ten proved a big year for St. Louis. The first aviation meet of the United States was held on Kinloch Field. We erected a grandstand three thousand feet long, without a top, for the accommodation of the "rubbernecks," as we called them in those days. Assembled on the field were the entire Wright Company fleet of six planes; the famous aviator, Le Blanc, from France with his  p240 Bleriot monoplane; and several others, about nine in all. There were five days of spectacular flying at a cost of $45,000 in prizes and guarantees. During this meet a world's endurance record was established — one hour and ten minutes. Hoxsey broke the long distance record with a non‑stop flight from Springfield, Illinois, about 75 miles. Before leaving Springfield, he wired asking for directions how to find and locate our field. We replied: "Will set fire to a barrel of tar on your approach. Look for heavy column of black smoke." Hoxsey passed in sight of but east of the field, and eventually landed on the golf course of the St. Louis Country Club, where he was given the proper direction. I asked him if he had not seen our column of smoke. He replied: "No doubt, and also nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine others." Le Blanc during the week drove his monoplane sixty miles an hour for a record.

Colonel Roosevelt was a visitor at Kinloch Field. While he was en route to St. Louis through Arkansas we wired him an invitation to visit the field and make a flight. He answered: "Will visit the field, but under no circumstances will I make a flight." Nevertheless, we prepared for it and Hoxsey was selected, with instructions to be in the air on Colonel Roosevelt's arrival, and then to land near the Colonel. Roosevelt was accompanied by the late Governor Hadley and Mayor Keil. I walked up to him and said, "Colonel, we are ready for you." In the meantime Hoxsey had made a graceful landing but had remained in the plane. "You don't mean now?" "Yes," I said. By this time the crowd was cheering and two bands exploding. That was too much for Colonel Roosevelt. He made the flight, and the press of the world thundered the news.

You all remember "Bud" Dozier, the President of the Aero Club of St. Louis in 1910. He had one distinction for a man holding that office — he had  p241 never made a flight. Colonel Roosevelt set the example and we finally got Bud Dozier to sit in the plane for a battery of cameras. "All aboard!" someone yelled. Dozier smiled, and this Hoxsey interpreted as a signal. The motor started, the propellers whirled, and they were off; much to the edification of the crowd. Mr. Dozier's interview occupied three columns in the morning newspapers; a vivid description of fields, railroads, fences, rivers, altitudes, clouds, speed, and thrills. The next night at the Log Cabin Club someone asked Bud what he really did see. He replied: "Not a ––––– thing!" I must tell you that the passenger and pilot on the Wright Model B sits on an open frame-work projecting out in front, the earth visible below you, nothing in front of you, and two small uprights on each side to hold on to, which one may grasp with the hand on a line with the shoulder. Hoxsey confided to us afterwards as follows: "Dozier was holding on tight, very tight, when we made the circle and approached the grandstand. Banners, handkerchiefs, and hats were waving. I said: 'Wave to the crowd; show them you are not nervous.' 'All right,' said Dozier, but he didn't stir. 'Wave!' said I, as we again approached. 'All right,' said Dozier, but he didn't even change his expression. On the third lap I yelled emphatically 'Wave, this is your last chance!' I then glanced over and saw Mr. Dozier holding on to the upright with four fingers, and waving his thumb."

Moving pictures were taken during the five days of this aviation meet, and combined into one reel. It was shown in many countries. It was known as the death reel, because nine of the eleven American aviators who took part were killed in less than eighteen months. During this same year, 1910, St. Louis was again host to the Second International Balloon Race, with an attendance of 75,000 people, and at a cost of approximately $30,000. Shortly  p242 after that event, the Post-Dispatch offered Captain Tom Baldwin $5000 to fly along the river front from Baden to Carondelet, and over and under Eads Bridge. Captain Baldwin made the flight, much to his surprise. When he landed, I noticed that he had his shoes in his pockets and was wearing a cork vest. He whispered to me, "I am no duck." The next day he ran his Red Devil plane half way up a telegraph pole. He made but one comment — "I am not doing so well today. I guess I had better eat another quart of bird-seed!"

Nineteen hundred and eleven witnessed a public aviation meet at the Fairgrounds Park, the attendance for the two days being over 100,000 people. At this time the first official air mail route was established between Kinloch Field and the Fairgrounds Park. Brookins volunteered as the pilot and carried 5,000 pieces of mail. Postmaster Akins of St. Louis received a telegram from Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorizing the collection and distribution by airplane. All of this mail carried the official cancellation stamp of the United States Post-Office. It was marked "Aeroplane Station, No. 1, October 4, 1911, St. Louis, Mo."

We were forced to give up the Kinloch Field in 1913. A new field was secured at 7400 North Broadway, where hangars were erected. I mention this field to show that St. Louis, since 1910, has never been without a flying field, and because it likewise served to make history. Tom Benoist, after constructing an airplane in his back yard, assembled his plane on this field. As the event will show, it is the first historical record of bricks being carried in the air. After his first flight around the field I told him that he was flying with his left wing down. "Not well balanced," said Tom. The next day I saw the plane up again, flying on an exact even keel. "Tom is some engineer," thought I as he landed.  p243 "He certainly knows how to make the proper adjustments without perceptible changes." On the tip of his right wing, artistically tied in a beauti­ful bowknot of barbed wire, were two red bricks.

During 1914, with Tony Von Puhl as an aide, we attempted a balloon flight for speed and distance in an effort to hold the Ely Cup in St. Louis. We were success­ful, but lost our balloon by a complete washout, leaving it on top of a tree. We left St. Louis at 6:30 P.M. and landed near Charleston, South Carolina the next morning at 8 A.M. Shortly after daylight we saw the ocean from an altitude of fourteen thousand feet. We had to come down in a hurry. We struck the top of the last tree with high tide ahead. I managed to hang on, but Tony fell into a large bramble bush. The news of our flight and landing preceded us. After a rough wagon ride we reached Charleston to be greeted by the Chamber of Commerce, which organized a luncheon in our honor. Von Puhl mysteriously disappeared and was not to be found in spite of a diligent search. About 4 P.M. he made his appearance. "Where have you been?" was asked by a large crowd gathered around. "Down in the Turkish bath having the thorns pulled out," said he.

In 1916, at the time when General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Pershing was ordered into Mexico to chase Villa, we organized in St. Louis the first aviation corps; five flyers and a few broken down planes, which we offered with our services to the War Department. Secretary Daniels, on behalf of President Wilson, came to St. Louis as an expression of appreciation.

In 1917, when war was declared, we organized the Missouri Aeronautical Society, located a training camp at Grand Avenue and Meramec Street and tendered the services of the same with experienced pilots and equipment to the government, which tender was immediately accepted. This organization  p244 developed three hundred and forty balloon pilots. Many balloons were built and thirty-four million cubic feet of gas were used. Most of the balloons were made by Captain Honeywell.

In 1917 Scott Field was selected by the War Department as a Lighter-than‑Air Training Station. I accompanied Colonel Edwards of Detroit to look over the land. Since then the War Department has purchased the land and added improvements at a cost in excess of five million dollars.

During 1918 and 1919 St. Louis developed another flying field in Forest Park near the Mounted Police Station; primarily its purpose was to serve the air mail. The Chamber of Commerce raised $12,500 and the City appropriated the same amount for a steel hangar. This air mail route from St. Louis to Chicago was discontinued as were the other routes throughout the country.

I cannot resist telling of the organization of the Robertson Aircraft Corporation, an organization which today is one of the foremost. One day "Bill" Robertson, now Major Robertson, and head of the Curtiss-Robertson Company, appeared in Forest Park with an old dilapidated plane. He announced to the crowd that he was going to fly it. After many efforts, the motor gave a cough and kept it up. Bill took the stick, started down the field and just cleared the trees. Then and there several air stunts were originated — the falling leaf, the barrel roll and the side slip. He bumped into the field on one wheel, settled down, climbed up on the cockpit and announced to the world the organization of the Robertson Aircraft Company, starting business at once. A crowd gathered around. He called for passengers at five dollars per ride. "Perfectly safe!" shouted Bill. Well, you should have seen that crowd lose interest. They backed away and thought of home and mother. Bill  p245 waved a five dollar bill — where he got it I don't know — but he explained that it was lonesome and needed company. Bill displayed the five dollars and pointed to the plane. The old man pulled out five dollars, shoved it at Bill and said, "All right, I'll buy it."

In 1919 St. Louis again stepped forward as host to the Army and Navy Balloon Race and the National Balloon Race. By this time the center of interest had diverted to the airplane. The 1919 National Balloon Race was the last of its kind to be held in St. Louis.

When the air mail was discontinued at Forest Park, we attempted to locate another field. This resulted in 1920 in the establishment of the Bridgeton field, now a municipal airport. When sufficient corn and wheat had been removed, Bill Robertson announced a non‑stop flight from Forest Park; packing up his grip and possessions, he started. I preceded him by automobile, a Paul Revere ride so to speak — spreading the news along the route. I stopped at the country store at Bridgeton. "Blum," I said excitedly, "a plane will land on our new field very shortly. Prepare, because from now on we will make history." Blum asked what it meant to Bridgeton. I replied that St. Louis would soon become a suburb. He called to a salesman who was just leaving the store, and said, "Double that order for soap, cheese and nails!"

In 1923 there was held on this field one of the greatest aeronautic events of the world. The total cost exceeded three hundred thousand dollars. On the day of the Pulitzer Race we had an attendance of 140,000, parking over 24,000 automobiles. On the flying field we had ninety‑two planes and the airship Shenandoah. One day during all this excitement, a tramp plane coming through the clouds, landed on the field. The pilot, after pegging down his ship, introduced himself to several men sitting on a bench: "My  p246  name is Lindbergh." What more can I say except to conclude with Lindbergh's favorite story, the character of which in its subtle wit reflects the man. I think he picked this story up on a barn storming exhibition down south. "Two negroes were standing in a cotton field gazing at a plane high in the air, darting in and out among the clouds. One said, "I certainly would hate to be up there with that fellow." The other one said, "I certainly would hate to be up there without him."

Address by Major William B. Robertson

The airplane was born in the United States in 1903. There was not much development until the World War when it was proved that the airplane could be used success­fully as an implement of war.

We have heard much about the airplane contract scandal, but I believe that our government should be congratulated upon what was accomplished. At the outbreak of the war we had no air service. Starting with parly nothing, within the course of two years factories were built, machinery manufactured, and thousands of motors, parts, and airplane instruments manufactured. Unfortunately, this equipment did not arrive at the front before the armistice was signed; and the same is true about most of the American aviators who were trained during the war by the government. Great strides were taken in aviation at that time and the wartime development was responsible for advancing aviation to a point that would have required at least twenty years of peacetime procedure.

The majority of the five thousand aviators who were trained during the world war returned to their old positions in civil life, as they were unable to purchase airplanes and continue flying. Our government gave to the manufacturers of the airplanes an option to buy any or all of the training planes. This  p247 option was for five years; but most of the manufacturers failed to exercise their option and only a few machines were bought back. During this period of five years immediately following the war, there was practically no advancement in the development of aviation in this country. The Army, Navy, and Post Office Departments used up quite a bit of this surplus war material. In June, 1923, this option expired and the government then sold at public auction thousands of airplanes and motors that had been in storage at different flying fields around the country. The purchasers assembled them and flew to their respective homes. Within a short time there were airplanes in nearly every state in the Union. There the pilot established himself in a field or pasture, took people up on joy rides, and by so doing, I believe, was responsible for a certain amount of airmindedness that we find today. It was during this year, however, that so many accidents occurred, due to the fact that the purchasers of the airplanes had not flown for five years and were out of practice, also to the fact that some of the airplanes had not been kept in suitable hangars and were not airworthy.

The development of commercial aviation really started at this time and the progress has been very rapid. However, it was not until 1926 that the airplane was really put to work. The famous Kelly Law was passed which authorized the Postmaster-General to contract with private individuals and companies to carry the mail via the airplane. The Post-Office Department already had an experimental air line from New York to San Francisco and there were fifteen feeder lines, or routes, to connect with the transcontinental service. The Department had experimented with airplanes to carry the mail since 1919 and was convinced that the time was ripe for the exploitation of the air mail service. The air mail routes were selected and the schedules  p248 arranged to save time and to connect population centers. Glancing at an air mail map of the United States one can see virtually a network of airmail routes. The air mail now serves three-fourths of the population of the country.

The air mail feeder line from St. Louis to Chicago connects with other airplane routes going north, east, southwest and west. The service is very rapid; for example, if a letter is deposited in the box so as to be dispatched on the airplane leaving the Flying Field at 4:15 P.M., it will arrive in Chicago at 7:15 P.M., in time to make connections at 8:00 o'clock for the plane going to New York City, and will arrive there the next morning at 5:00 o'clock. The St. Louis plane will also make connections at 8:00 P.M. in Chicago with the one going to San Francisco, or Los Angeles, which will arrive at those cities at 5:00 P.M. the following day; it will also make connections in Chicago at 8:00 P.M. with the plane going through Kansas City into Texas, and will arrive in Dallas and Fort Worth about 8:00 P.M. and arrive in Dallas to make connections in the morning with planes leaving for Galveston and San Antonio, as well as for Mexico.

For a moment let us consider what is being done in aviation in Europe. It is true that Europeans are ahead of us in aviation in so far as the carrying of passengers is concerned. Europe is crossed and crisscrossed with airlines carrying passengers, express, and mail. Last year, I understand, over 300,000 passengers were carried. The insurance rates in Europe on jewelry are cheaper by air than by rail. They have printed time tables similar to the railroad time tables we have in this country. The reason for this is that at the close of the War those countries saw a potential military value in aviation. Commercial  p249 companies immediately took steps to establish airlines so as to keep a large number of factories going as well as to maintain a large personnel of trained aviators and mechanics. No doubt they are in constant fear of war and they realize the fact that in the next war aviation will play a major part. The type of airplanes in general use in Europe is such that within a few hours they can be changed over to bombing planes, carrying hundreds of pounds of deadly gas bombs. Subsequently the governments subsidized these airlines, in some instances the subsidies being ninety per cent of the operating cost. This policy I believe is unsound. If commercial aviation cannot succeed on its own merits, then it has no place in the commercial world. What we want is federal regulation, federal sympathy, and federal assistance.

This is not asking too much when we consider the assistance that our government is lending other means of transportation. For instance, our government spends millions of dollars each year dredging the Mississippi. Our government spends millions of dollars dredging the harbors and lighting the harbors for any ships that may want to come in. Large sums of money have been spent on hard roads for the benefit of the people of this country. Now we want our government to do the same thing for the fastest means of transportation and I am pleased to tell you that under the able leader­ship of Secretary McCracken of the Department of Commerce our government has gone a long way in assisting the needs of air navigation. For instance, the airline between St. Louis and Chicago, by way of Springfield and Peoria, has been established as an aerial highway, and at regular intervals of ten miles there are beacon searchlights revolving all night long. At every twenty-mile interval there is a substation on a  p250 small landing field bordered with electric lights as well as a beacon searchlight, with a caretaker. The entire expense is paid by the government.

The company in which I am interested has the air mail contract between St. Louis and Chicago; has flown over 300,000 miles; has carried a little over three million letters without injury to anyone, or loss of a single letter. Such is the dependability and safety of aircraft when actually operated on a sound basis. Passengers are now flying with the mail, the rate being $30 one way, and $50 for the St. Louis-Chicago round trip.

Upon the success­ful operation of all the air mail lines in our country today depends the advancement of aviation. Our people must be shown that it can be done. Now I believe, after two years of operation of the air mail lines, that the public has had the opportunity to see that the airplane can be depended upon to perform certain services economically and safely. A lesson that we have learned from Europe is that people will ride in airplane if they have confidence and the rates are not too high. I do not look for airplanes that you could use in flying from your home and land on top of your office building. The future of aviation, as I see it, is along the lines of the railroad. I look for large passenger-carrying airplanes accommodating fifteen to twenty-five people with not one, but three or five motors, operating over the air mail routes. In case one motor were to stop, or even two, the airplane could proceed just the same.

We have reduced the forced landings to a minimum on the air mail service. Out of fourteen such landings in 160,000 miles of flight, three were from mechanical causes, spark plug wire, throttle control, etc., and the other eleven were caused by heavy fog. The pilots do not stop when they encounter a snow storm, rain or sleet, but the one thing we have not conquered is the fog. We can't see through it, and we can't see  p251 the ground. Our pilots land in preference to flying blindly, and wait for the fog to clear.

The Aerial Section of the Department of Commerce is now perfecting instruments that will enable us to fly through the fog. It is the Radio Beacon — a beacon that sends out radio waves that are, of course, invisible, but can be recorded on an instrument in the pilot's compartment. This beacon is a broadcasting station, sending its signals out in one direction only. As an example, Chicago will have a radio beacon sending its waves towards St. Louis and our pilot will steer his machine directly into this beam so that he will not lose his direction regardless of the fog. There is another instrument that has been perfected that assists the pilot in keeping the airplane on a level keel, similar to a spirit bubble in a carpenter's level, called the bank and turn indicator.

Commercial aviation may be divided into two parts; first, that of manufacturing; second, operation or airplane service. There are four branches under this heading:

First. The carrying of passengers on emergency flights, or from town to town, or on joy rides about the airdome,º and the use by commercial houses to carry their salesmen through their territories.

Second. The use of the airplanes in the flying schools to teach students to fly. It seems as if every true American boy wants to fly an airplane, he wants to know all about aviation, and the flying schools of the country are crowded with students learning to fly and learning the art of aviation. One can learn to fly in these schools for prices ranging from $100 to $500.

Third. The use of airplanes in agricultural work, especially in the dusting of cotton. The planters today in the cotton fields concede one‑third of their  p252 crop to the insects, boll weevil, army worm, etc. The reason for this is that it is a physical impossibility to combat these insects with hand methods. The army worm in particular is a dreaded insect, in that it can eat up a planter's whole crop of several thousands of acres in two or three days. The usual method now employed is to spray the cotton with a hose, attached to a tank on a small cart drawn by a mule. Now comes the airplane that has proved to be a great service to the planter. There is installed in the airplane body a large aluminum hopper holding several hundreds of pounds of calcium arsenate in powder form. The airplane flies back and forth about three feet above the cotton and the powder is sifted over and settles on the cotton. There is a certain amount of static electricity in the plant that causes the powder to adhere to the leaves, and this is assisted by the fact that most of the dusting is done either early in the morning, or late in the evening, when the dew is still on the plant. The insects eat this poison and are killed. The swath or path of the airplane is an acre wide and if it is going seventy-five miles per hour you can imagine how many acres the airplane can cover in an hour.

Fourth. The air mail service and the airplane passenger service over these routes. I believe that we can look for passenger and mail service from St. Louis directly to New York City, New Orleans, and to the Pacific Coast, in the very near future.

It would be a simple matter to establish passenger airline service from St. Louis to New York if we were assured that we would have enough passengers to fly in our machines. The airplanes, with three motors, no doubt would hold from ten to twelve passengers, and it is estimated that the cost of flying this machine would be $100 per mile for each machine. If we had ten passengers it would mean a  p253 cost of ten cents per mile to each passenger, and as it is about 900 miles from here to New York, the fare would amount to about $90. I believe we spend about $50 for 24 to 26 hours' service by rail, and in an airplane the saving of time would seem to justify the difference in cost over railroad travel.

Chronology of Aeronautics in St. Louis

1904 — St. Louis set aside $150,000 for prizes and $50,000 for expenses for aeronautic exhibit during World's Fair.

September, 1906 — Aero Club of St. Louis organized.

1907 — International Balloon Races.

1908 — Spherical Balloon License No. 18 issued to Major Albert Bond Lambert by Aero Club of France.

Nov. 19, 1908 — Balloon "Yankee" in charge of Major Lambert and H. E. Honeywell, lands at Tiger, Ga., after traveling 450 miles.

1909 — Centennial balloon races.

 "   — Major Lambert qualifies as airplane pilot and is issued International License No. 61.

Oct. 9, 1909 — St. Louisans see their first airplane fly. Piloted by Glenn H. Curtiss.

1910 — International Balloon Races.

Sept. 10, 1910 — Captain Tom Baldwin flies plane along river from Baden to Carondelet, flying over and under the Eads and McKinley bridges.

 p254  Sept., 1910 — First signal corps in coördination with aviation organized.

1910 — First large aviation meet for airplanes at Kinloch Field.

Aug. 4, 1911 — Harry N. Atwood makes first flight over all sections of St. Louis, and then flies to New York in 20 stages over 12 days in 29 hours flying time.

1911 — Major Lambert pilots airplane that established first aerial mail route between Kinloch, Mo., and Fairground Park.

1911 — Air Meet at Kinloch Field. Arch Hoxsey, one of the aviators at meet, had as his passenger Col. Theodore Roosevelt.

March 10, 1916 — Major Lambert offers services of five St. Louis aviators to aid in revealing the hiding place of Francisco Villa.

May 24, 1917 — "Old Glory," the new 50,000 cubic foot balloon donated to Missouri Aeronautical Reserve Corps by Major Lambert, makes its initial flight, piloted by Major Lambert.

June, 1917 — Scott Field established.

1918 — Raises $28,000 to grade a field and erect a hangar for the aerial mail service in Forest Park.

1919 — St. Louis organizes Army and Navy Balloon races.

Oct. 1, 2, 3, 1923 — International Air Races.

May 21, 1927 — "We" did it.a

July 30, 1927 — Chamber of Commerce recommends St. Louis buy downtown airport and urges purchase and enlargement of Lambert‑St. Louis Flying Field as Municipal Airport.

 p255  Aug. 10, 1927 — Six aviation firms prospering here where three operated before Col. Lindbergh's flight.

Sept. 3, 1927 — Mayor Miller names commission to plan for Municipal Airport.

Oct. 5, 1927 — Bond issue proposed to buy Municipal Airport. Major Lambert offers field at rental of $1 a year.

Oct. 6, 1927 — Major Lambert proposes $1,200,000 plan for Municipal Airport.

Nov. 30, 1927 — Municipal Airport Committee approves airport plan and recommends $1,000,000 bond issue.

Dec. 24, 1927 — Establishment in St. Louis of Curtiss-Robertson Airplane Company.

Dec. 31, 1927 — St. Louis announced as new home of H. F. Mahoney Airplane Company, builders of "Spirit of St. Louis."

Jan. 16, 1928 — Mayor Miller signs bill appropriating $50,000 for temporary acquisition of Lambert‑St. Louis Flying Field as Municipal Airport.

Jan. 21, 1928 — Air Board of Chamber of Commerce formed with 250 members.

The Editor's Note:

1 Extracts from Addresses delivered before Missouri Historical Society, March 21, 1928, by Majors Albert Bond Lambert and William B. Robertson.

Thayer's Note:

a That is, of course, Lindbergh completed the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight, in "The Spirit of St. Louis".

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Page updated: 8 Mar 22