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Thursday, January 23, 2020 1:00 am

Aug. 10, 1927: Charles Lindbergh flies over city

COREY MCMAKEN | The Journal Gazette

On Aug. 10, 1927, Charles Lindbergh circled downtown Fort Wayne in his Spirit of St. Louis monoplane and dropped a greeting to the city before heading off toward Detroit without landing.

In May of that year, he had flown the plane from New York to Paris in the first solo non-stop transatlantic flight, for which he won the Orteig Prize. He was 25.

When he flew over Fort Wayne, Lindbergh was on a national tour to encourage interest in aeronautics.

Read the full story from 1927, including the text of Lindbergh's letter, below.

To suggest a year or subject for History Journal, email Corey McMaken at cmcmaken@jg.net.

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"Lindbergh Honors Fort Wayne by Air Visit" (Aug. 11, 1927)

America's flying hero dropped a greeting to Fort Wayne from the air yesterday noon.

Col. Charles A. Lindbergh circled the city several times on his way from Indianapolis to Detroit on his tour of the United States to encourage popular interest in aeronautics. He was traveling in The Spirit of St. Louis, in which he flew from New York to Paris.

The message, in a white sack, fell at the feet of John W. Anderson, 68, of 125 E. Main St., at the corner of Main and Court streets.

The message reads,

"To the City of Fort Wayne

"Aboard the Spirit of St. Louis on Tour of America.

"Greetings

"Because of the limited time and the extensive itinerary of the tour of the United States now in progress to encourage popular interest in aeronautics, it is impossible for the Spirit of St. Louis to land in your city.

"This message from the air, however, is sent you to express our sincere appreciation of your interest in the tour and in the promotion and expansion of commercial aeronautics in the United States.

"We feel that we will be amply repaid for all efforts if each and every citizen in the United States cherishes an interest in flying and gives his earnest support to the air mail service and the establishment of airports and similar facilities. The concerted efforts of the citizens of the United States in this direction will result in America's taking its rightful place within a very short time as the world leader in commercial flying.

"(Signed) C.A. Lindbergh"

After circling the outskirts of the city, Lindy brought his plane over the business district, dropped the message, circled the courthouse and darted away toward the northeast. The coveted paper will be returned to Mr. Anderson some time today.

Mr. Anderson was as elated over his gift from the trans-Atlantic plane as a boy with a new toy. Already Mr. Anderson has visions of the pride his children and grandchildren will have in preserving a souvenir from an epic-making tour.

Yet last night Mr. Anderson could hardly realize the full significance of the Lindbergh proclamation, which came like a shot, with its yellow streamer, from nowhere and landed at his feet.

Scores of dollar-day shoppers who thronged the downtown district forgot waiting bargains and rushed to street corners as the word flashed along that Lindy had arrived. The roar of The Spirit of St. Louis brought faces to every available window, while others elbowed their way to the streets and still others rushed to downtown roof tops for a glimpse of the noted aviator making his hasty visit.

Persons could be see in every direction straining their eyes and using field glasses in hopes of catching sight of the flyer in the cockpit of the monoplane. Several thousand persons were at Sweebrock airport on the Lima road when the flyer circled over the city. It was reported before Lindbergh's arrival that he would drop the message for Fort Wayne at this field.

Then as quickly as he appeared, Lindy headed his ship into the northeast and joining his escort left Fort Wayne behind. Their attentions were them probably centered on the course to Detroit, where a great reception awaited.

Colonel Lindbergh hopped off from Indianapolis at 9:30 o'clock, central standard time. Shortly before 11:30 o'clock, the silver plane swept over the southwestern part of this city, accompanied by an escort plane.

The latter, which greatly resembled the trans-Atlantic monoplane, swung in ahead of Lindy at the city'd edge. Like the submarine guarding government transports during the World war, the escort always went forward to clear the lanes of approaching danger.

Several visiting planes were above the Sweebrock air field when Lindy reached the city. The pilot in the escort plane, rushing his plane as through in a war-exhibition, signaled the strange place to land. This was done to prevent any collision with the Spirit of St. Louis.

Fort Wayne aviators believe Colonel Lindbergh evaded the Sweetbrock airport because of the air traffic above the field. He was scheduled to drop the message at this airport, according to information sent here by William P. MacCracken Jr., assistant secretary for aeronautics, United States department of commerce. Words to this effect were received in a letter several days ago by George A. Sweet of the Sweebrock Airport company.

After leaving the business district, the famous plane came within a short distance of the Sweebrock field and then turned northeast. The escort pilot joined his partner about three miles northeast of the city.

The proclamation was signed in Lindbergh's own handwriting, local businessmen believe. In the lower left-hand corner of the paper were the names of Harry F. Guggenheim, president of the Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics, and by William P. MacCracken Jr.

This tour, which is designed to promote interest in aviation, was financed by Daniel Guggenheim of New York City.


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