On June 11, 1927, Charles Augustus Lindbergh arrived back in the United States aboard the U.S. Navy cruiser USS Memphis (CL-13) following his historic solo non-stop New York to Paris flight and a quick tour of Paris, Brussels, and London. Perhaps just as significant as the flight itself was the ensuing “goodwill tour” of the United States and Latin America which added to his fame and the promotion of aviation. His achievement spurred interest in both commercial aviation and air mail, and Lindbergh himself devoted much time and effort to promoting such activity.
Lindbergh’s historic flight and celebrity status eventually led to tragedy. In March 1932, his infant son, Charles Jr., was kidnapped and murdered in what American media called the “Crime of the Century” and described by H. L. Mencken as “the biggest story since the Resurrection”. The case prompted the United States Congress to establish kidnapping as a federal crime once the kidnapper had crossed state lines with their victim. By late 1935 the hysteria surrounding the case had driven the Lindbergh family into voluntary exile in Europe, from which they returned in 1939.
Before the United States formally entered World War II, some people accused Lindbergh of being a fascist sympathizer. An advocate of non-interventionism, he supported the antiwar America First Committee, which opposed American aid to Britain in its war against Germany, and resigned his commission in the United States Army Air Forces in 1941 after President Franklin Roosevelt publicly rebuked him for his views. Nevertheless, he publicly supported the U.S. war effort after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and flew fifty combat missions in the Pacific Theater of World War II as a civilian consultant, though Roosevelt refused to reinstate his Air Corps colonel’s commission. In his later years, Lindbergh became a prolific prize-winning author, international explorer, inventor, and environmentalist. He died on August 26, 1974, in Kipahulu, Maui, Hawaii.
A Stamp A Day has featured Charles Lindbergh on several occasions. This article is a continuation of the May 21, 2018, entry which detailed not only his landing at Le Bourget in Paris but also the ensuing honors and appearances in France, Belgium, and England. It picks up with his return by ship to U.S. shores and covers the start of his three-month goodwill tour in the Spirit of St. Louis which included 92 cities in all 48 states.
Charles Lindbergh flew the Sprit of St. Louis from Croydon Aerodrome, London, to Gosport in the south of England on May 31, 1927, where the plane was dismantled and crated by the Royal Air Force. The b0xed-up plane was placed aboard the light cruiser USS Memphis (CL-13), flagship of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in Europe. On June 3, Lindbergh embarked at Southampton and Memphis set sail for Cherbourg, arriving at the French port the following day before heading across the Atlantic, taking her famous passenger back to the United States.
Also on June 3, the model for what became the Spirit of St. Louis airmail stamp (Scott #C10) was approved by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Engraving began the same day. The United States Post Office Department decided to break tradition and issue a stamp that honored a living American. Because the law prohibited the use of the portrait of a living person, the central design represented Lindbergh’s airplane. The 10-cent design in dark blue shows the start and finish points of the solo, non-stop flight and the 3,600-mile route, which Lindbergh flew in thirty-three and a half hours on May 20-21, 1927.
A. W. Hall, director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, believed that the engraving of this stamp and the making of the printing plates were accomplished in a shorter period of time than any similar printing job by the Bureau. On June 6, a proof was made, on June 8 the die was hardened, and on June 9 rolls and plates were made so that the next day the issue went to press.
June 11, 1927 — Washington, D.C.
On June 11, a fleet of warships and an aerial guard of honor consisting of 89 military aircraft and the dirigible Los Angeles escorted USS Memphis up the Potomac River to the Washington Navy Yard, arriving about 11 a.m. President Calvin Coolidge awarded Lindbergh the Distinguished Flying Cross at a ceremony held at the foot of the Washington Monument. This was the first presentation of the medal; ten aviators had received the award on May 2, 1927, but initially received only certificates. The medal had hurriedly been struck and readied just for the presentation to Lindbergh. Interestingly, the 1927 War Department General Order (G.O. 8), authorizing Lindbergh’s Distinguished Flying Cross states that it was awarded by the President, while the General Order (G.O. 6) for the May 2 Pan American Flyers’ DFC citation notes that the War Department awarded it “by direction of the President.”
Postmaster General Harry S. New had requested first impressions of the forthcoming airmail stamp for presentation to Lindbergh and his mother. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing prepared two leather-bound booklets: one with the first impression and one with the second impression. The postmaster general presented the booklets on the evening of June 11 at a reception for Lindbergh at the Washington Auditorium by the National Press Club. His addresses there and at another that evening during a reception sponsored by the Minnesota State Society were broadcast by radio to probably “the largest group of auditors which has ever heard a single human voice” up to that time, according to a newspaper article in The Guardian.
June 12, 1927 — Washington, D.C.
On Sunday, June 12, Lindbergh attempted some rest but also laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and visited Walter Reed military hospital. Meanwhile, the Spirit of St. Louis was being reassembled at Bolling Field in Washington, D.C.
June 13, 1927 — New York, N.Y.
Lindbergh flew from Washington, D.C. to New York City on June 13, arriving in lower Manhattan. The New York Reception Committee had convinced him not to fly the Spirit of St. Louis from Washington, but to use a seaplane and land in New York harbor. They told him that if he landed in a flying-field, 4,000 police and troops would be needed to protect him from the crowd, and that the men couldn’t be spared as all were needed along the line of parade and elsewhere. He traveled up the Canyon of Heroes to City Hall, where he was received by Mayor Jimmy Walker. A ticker-tape parade followed to Central Park Mall, where he was honored at another ceremony hosted by New York Governor Al Smith and attended by a crowd of 200,000. Some 4,000,000 persons saw Lindbergh that day. That evening, Lindbergh was accompanied by his mother and Mayor Walker when he was the guest of honor at a 500-guest banquet and dance held at Clarence MacKay’s Long Island estate, Harbor Hill.
June 14, 1927 — New York, N.Y.
On the evening of June 14, Lindbergh was honored with a grand banquet at the Hotel Commodore given by the Mayor’s Committee on Receptions of the City of New York and attended by some 3,700 people.
June 16, 1927 — Washington, D.C. to New York, N.Y.
Now reassembled, the Spirit of St. Louis was flown on June 16 for the first time since May 31 when Lindbergh took the plane from Bolling Field in Washington, D.C. to Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York — starting point of his early morning departure for Paris on May 20. This flight took two hours and 35 minutes. He then flew the Spirit on a five-minute hop to Mitchel Field.
He was officially awarded the check for the Orteig Prize on June 16.
June 17, 1927 — New York, N.Y. to St. Louis, MO.
On June 17, Lindbergh flew the Spirit of St. Louis from Mitchel Field on Long Island, New York, to Lambert Field in St. Louis, Missouri. The nine-hour and 20-minute flight was made via Paterson, New Jersey; Columbus, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Indianapolis, Indiana; Terra Haute, Indiana; St. Elmo, Illinois; and Scott Field, Illinois.
June 18, 1927 — St. Louis, MO.
Scott #C10, the 10-cent Spirit of St. Louis airmail stamp was released on June 18, first sales taking place in St. Louis, Missouri; Detroit, Michigan; Little Falls, Minnesota; and the District of Columbia. Additional details about this stamp appear below.
Lindbergh made one 30-minute flight on this date, taking the Spirit from Lambert Field over Forest Park and return. That evening, a “Citizens Dinner” in Lindbergh’s honor was sponsored by the St. Louis City government, the Chamber of Commerce and the Flying Club at the Hotel Chase in St Louis.
July 1, 1927 — St. Louis, MO. to Mt. Clemens, MI.
Lindbergh flew five hours and 10 minutes to take the Spirit of St. Louis from Lambert Field to Selfridge Field in Mount Clemens, Michigan, just northeast of Detroit. He flew via Ft. Wayne, Indiana; Toledo, Ohio; and Detroit. While at Mount Clemens, Major Lanphier, Commanding Officer of Selfridge Field, piloted the Spirit of St. Louis on one 10-minute flight in the vicinity of the field.
July 2, 1927 — Mt. Clemens, MI. to Ottawa, ONT., Canada
On July 2, Lindbergh piloted the Spirit from Selfridge Field on a four-hour and 10-minute flight to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
July 3, 1927 — Ottawa, ONT., Canada
One flight was made on July 3, one hours and 10 minutes over the funeral of Lieutenant Johnson who had been a member of a 12-plane escort that accompanied Lindbergh from Michigan to Ottawa. The tail was cut off of Lt. Johnson’s pursuit plane in a mid-air collision.
July 4, 1927 — Ottawa, ONT., Canada to Teterboro, N.J.
On the Fourth of July, Lindbergh flew the Spirit of St. Louis from Ottawa to Teterboro Airport in Bergen County, New Jersey. The flight itself took three hours and 50 minutes but Lindbergh circled Ottawa for 35 minutes before leaving.
July 18, 1927 — Washington, D.C.
On July 18, Lindbergh was promoted to the rank of colonel in the Air Corps of the Officers Reserve Corps of the U.S. Army.
July 19, 1927 — Teterboro, N.J. to Long Island, N.Y.
One 30-minute flight in the Spirit of St. Louis from Teterboro Airport to Mitchel Field on Long Island, in preparation to starting the Guggenheim Goodwill Tour the following day.
The Guggenheim Goodwill Tour
Prior to starting his flight to Paris, Lindbergh had met Harry Guggenheim, a North Shore multimillionaire and aviation enthusiast, who had visited him at Curtiss Field. Guggenheim later admitted that he didn’t think there was much change Lindbergh would survive the trip. Nonetheless, he told the pilot, “When you get back from your flight, look me up.” Lindbergh remembered and did call upon his return. It was decided that Lindbergh would make a three-month tour of the United States, paid for by a fund Harry and his father, Daniel, had set up earlier to encourage aviation-related research.
The Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics sponsored Lindbergh on a nationwide goodwill tour flying the Spirit of St. Louis. Between July 20 and October 23, 1927, Lindbergh touched down in 48 states, visited 92 cities, gave 147 speeches, and rode 1,290 miles in parades. The excessive time spent in flying between many of the cities visited on his tour was caused by requests from other cities whose inhabitants wished to see the Spirit of St. Louis circle overhead. Also extra time was usually allowed for the possibility of encountering head winds and having to detour weather areas en route. On several occasions, long “exploration” detours were made over interesting portions of the country. The tour consumed 260 hours and 45 minutes of flying time, and covered about 22,000 miles. Eighty-two stops were made. Lindbergh arrived late only once (at Portland, Maine, because of fog).
“Lindbergh was seen by literally millions of people as he flew around the country,” said Richard P. Hallion, historian for the Air Force and the author of a book on the Guggenheims. “Airmail usage exploded overnight as a result,” and the public began to view airplanes as a viable means of travel. In addition, Lindbergh spent a month at Guggenheim’s Sands Point mansion, Falaise, while writing We, his best-selling 1927 account of his trip.
July 20, 1927 — Mitchel field, N.Y. to Hartford, CT.
The Guggenheim Goodwill Tour got underway on July 20 with a one-hour and 35-minute flight from Mitchel Field, Long Island, New York, to Hartford, Connecticut, via Niantic, Connecticut. Accompanying Lindbergh in a separate plane piloted by long-time friend Philip Love, age 25, was Major Donald Keyhoe, age 30, from the Commerce Department acting as a personal aide.
July 21, 1927 — Hartford, CT. to Providence, R.I.
A one-hour and 35-minute flight from Hartford to Providence, Rhode Island, via Springfield, Massachusetts on July 21.
July 22, 1927 — Providence, R.I. to Boston, MA.
Another 95-minute flight occurred on July 22 when Lindbergh flew the Spirit of St. Louis from Providence to Boston, Massachusetts, via Bristol, Connecticut; Pawtucket and Woonsocket, Rhode Island; and Worcester, Massachusetts.
July 23, 1927 — Boston, MA. to Concord, N.H.
On July 23, Lindbergh flew five hours from Boston to Concord, New Hampshire, via Lynn and Lowell, Massachusetts; Nashua, New Hampshire; and Portland, Maine. He circled the vicinity of Portland for two and a half hours, in fog, attempting to find the flying field.
July 24, 1927 — Concord, N.H. to Orchard Beach, ME.
Lindbergh’s flight time on July 24 of two hours and 45 minutes while piloting the Spirit from Concord to Portland, Maine, was due once again to fog. He circled the vicinity of Portland for one and half hours hunting for the flying field before finally landed on Orchard Beach.
July 25, 1927 — Orchard Beach, ME. to Portland, ME. to Concord, N.H.
On July 27, Lindbergh first made a 30-minute flight from Orchard Beach to Portland where he was finally able to land. He followed that with two hours and 20 minutes in the air flying from Portland back to Concord, via South Poland, Maine; Mt. Hope, White Mountains, Lake Winnipesauke, and Manchester, all in New Hampshire.
July 26, 1927 — Concord, N.H. to Springfield, VT.
Lindbergh and the Spirit flew on July 26 from Concord to Springfield, Vermont, via Lebanon and Hanover, New Hampshire; Rutland, Vermont; and Claremont, New Hampshire — a flight of two hours and 10 minutes. While in Springfield, Lindbergh met with James Hartness who had become one of the first 100 pilots in the United States when he was awarded a pilot’s license in a Wright biplane in 1914. He became acquainted with Lindbergh and was instrumental in having him land at Springfield’s airport, now Hartness Airport. Lindbergh was Hartness’ house guest and stayed in the room now bearing his name.
July 27, 1927 — Springfield, VT. to Albany, N.Y.
A two-hour and 45-minute flight was made on July 27 from Springfield to Albany, New York, via Plymouth, Vermont; Kenne, New Hampshire; Brattleboro and Bennington, Vermont; and the Catskill Mountains, New York.
July 28, 1927 — Albany, N.Y. to Schenectady, N.Y. to Syracuse, N.Y.
On July 28, 1927, Charles Lindbergh made two flights in the Spirit of St. Louis: Albany to Schenectady via Troy, Glen Falls, and Lake George, New York (1 hour 45 minutes) and then to Syracuse via Little Falls, Utica, and Rome, New York (2 hours 15 minutes).
July 28, 1927 — Syracuse, N.Y. to Rochester, N.Y. to Buffalo, N.Y.
Lindbergh again made two flights on July 28: a one-hour and 15-minute direct flight from Syracuse to Rochester, New York and then a two-hour journey to Buffalo, New York, via Batavia, Lockport, and Niagara Falls, New York; and Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.
August 1, 1927 — Buffalo, N.Y. to Cleveland, OH.
After a two-day rest in Buffalo, Lindbergh took the Spirit on a two-hour and 15-minute flight to Cleveland, Ohio, via Jamestown and Chattauqua, New York, and Erie, Pennsylvania.
August 3, 1927 — Cleveland, OH. to Pittsburgh, P.A.
On August 3, Lindbergh flew from Cleveland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, via Gates Mills, Akron, Massillon, Canton. Alliance, and Youngstown, Ohio; and Newcastle, Pennsylvania.
August 4, 1927 — Pittsburgh, PA. to Moundsville, W.V.
The flight from Pittsburgh to Moundsville, West Virginia, on August 4, 1927, via East Liverpool, and Steubenville, Ohio, and Wheeling, West Virginia, took one hour and 45 minutes, landing at Langin Field in Moundsville at 2 p.m. Mayor Jesse Sullivan arranged for a detail of 200 Boy Scouts to be transported from Ohio County to assist the 50 Scouts of Marshall County in securing a cordon at the edge of the airfield to restrain the crowd from pouring onto the field. To improve the visibility for the thousands of spectators viewing the historic landing from the roadway, Moundsville highway personnel cut the vegetation back on the western bank of Route 2 across from the former Tomlinson Homestead, (now the site of a Pizza Hut restaurant).
At about eleven o’clock, Lt. Jimmy Doolittle of the Army Air Corps at Dayton “suddenly appeared several thousand feet above the Ohio hillside traveling in excess of 120 miles per hour!” His single seat Army pursuit plane approached Langin Field and “suddenly went into a loop. At the peak of the loop, Lt. Doolittle straightened out and flew with the wheels of the plane pointed upward.” After a time, Doolittle righted the plane and landed it to the cheers of the thrilled spectators. He immediately boarded a car and headed for Wheeling to await Lindy at the grandstand of the State Fair Grounds.
At 1:45 p.m., “a small shining monoplane appeared from the north.” Downtown Wheeling had swelled to 100,000 as people from three states drew near for the arrival of the Spirit of St. Louis. The B&O Railroad ran special excursion cars from as far away as Cambridge, Ohio; Washington, Pennsylvania; and Grafton, West Virginia to accommodate the huge crowd. People on rooftops and people lining the streets in Wheeling “went wild for a few moments, cheered and waved,” as Lindbergh’s plane came into view. Showers of paper dropped from the roofs and upper stories of every building, draping the storefronts in streamers, ribbons and confetti, “the first time in Wheeling’s history that such a greeting was accorded to a notable.”
Lindbergh circled over the business district for five minutes in a descending spiral that brought the Spirit of St. Louis close enough to the rooftops so that spectators could see “the small side door” and “the glisten and sheen of the whirling propeller blades.” As crowds rushed into the streets to get a better view, Lindbergh turned his plane slowly and assumed a southerly heading toward Moundsville, “the city of the airfield.” Flying along the course of the Ohio River, the Spirit of St. Louis was seen by people in West Wheeling, South Wheeling, Mozart, Bellaire, Benwood, Shadyside and Glendale.
At 2:00 p.m., the small plane came slowly into view from the north. As the Spirit of St. Louis approached Glendale, a paddlewheel riverboat on the Ohio River was the first to signal the arrival by sounding its whistle. The airplane circled the city of Moundsville once before lining up for a perfect three-point landing at Langin Field. A sustained cheer went up from 20,000 spectators and their roar was joined by a chorus of steam whistles from the many factories located at Moundsville, whistles that were then “tied down.” The crowd surged forward pouring onto the field, but they were kept well back from the plane by a special contingent of state police officers. Meanwhile, Col. Lindbergh took his time securing the Ryan monoplane before climbing to the ground to shake hands with the reception committee.
After the motorcade was made ready for their procession to Wheeling, a passing steam train got to the railroad crossing first thus delaying the officials for almost five minutes. From the airfield, the party followed Western Avenue to Seventh Street, turning north on Jefferson Avenue. However, perhaps because of the delay caused by the unexpected train, the Wheeling steering committee told the police motorcycle escort to pick up speed through the heavily crowded Jefferson Avenue business district. When the troopers protested that Moundsville people wanted to see Lindbergh, the reply from the Friendly City’s steering committee was, “To [heck] with Moundsville; this is Wheeling!” Thereupon the official car raced through the crowded streets at 40 to 50 miles per hour. People at the Strand Theatre corner say it was “a flash” across Fifth. At First Street, the car outpaced the police motorcycle escort and the reckless pace did not abate through Glendale, sending clouds of dust on the crowds lining the curbs.
Once the official car reached the city limits of Wheeling, it slowed down to a snails pace and 100,000 happy faces smiled out at the aviator. Just after three p.m., Lindbergh was escorted to the grandstand at the West Virginia Fair Grounds on Wheeling Island. There he was introduced to WV Governor Gore, Otto Schenk, Mayor Steen and other dignitaries. In a laconic style characteristic of Lindbergh’s manner of speaking, he got straight to the point about the importance of building new airports to advance the cause of commercial aviation. He complimented Langin Field, but said that a more centrally located field would be better for Wheeling. He spoke for less than three minutes before abruptly finishing with his signature, “I thank you.” The crowd, trained by local politicians to expect interminably long speeches, was caught completely off guard. Before their surprise subsided, Lindbergh and Governor Howard Gore quietly disappeared beneath the grandstand to the safety of a closed automobile and were quickly motored away.
August 5, 1927 — Moundsville, W.V. to Columbus, OH. to Dayton, OH.
Lindbergh was expected to depart Langin Field at Moundsville around noon on August 5 but he got a jump on the crowds by arriving at 10 a.m. Before taking off in the Spirit of St. Louis, he took some time to inspect a new airplane, the first produced by the fledgling Moundsville Aircraft Corporation. This was a biplane with a Chevrolet engine. Lindbergh, accompanied by Donald Keyhoe, Charles Kinkaid, Philip Love, and Jimmy Doolittle, “inspected the small ship minutely. He climbed under it, inspected the fuselage, looked over the controls and instrument board, felt the wings and tested their strength.” Commenting on the prototype biplane, he said, “The Lone Eagle appears to be a fine little plane and I wish the Moundsville Airplane Corporation success.” The tiny plane was dedicated The Lone Eagle by James Doolittle, who christened it in Lindbergh’s honor by smashing a bottle of water over the nose. The name is appropriate, said Doolittle, “For as Lindbergh was alone in this great achievement, so this plane is alone in a new field of commercial airplane construction.”
Escorted by six state troopers to the Spirit of St. Louis, Lindbergh smiled as he donned his flight coat and leather helmet, waving to the crowd before climbing into the cabin. He departed at 10:30 and circled over the city for ten minutes before heading north towards Wheeling. A few minutes later another Ryan monoplane bearing Love, Keyhoe and Kinkaid took off in pursuit.
According to The Moundsville Daily Echo:
“Crowds continued to flock to Langin Field until late in the afternoon, unaware that Lindy had gone. The picturesque youth who has stirred the imagination of millions endeared himself in the hearts of all who saw him at Langin Field or along the line of the parade. His simple unassuming manner, has stamped him as an American of the finest type and one whose memory can never be eradicated.”
After a brief stop at Norton Field in Columbus, Ohio, Lindbergh continued on to McCook Field at Dayton, Ohio, where he landed two hours and 25 minutes after his departure from Moundsville. Later in the day, he spent 10 minutes flying from McCook Field to Wilbur Wright Field and then 15 minutes on the return.
August 6, 1927 — Dayton, OH. to Cincinnati, OH.
On August 6, 1927, Lindbergh flew one hour and 15 minutes from McCook Field, Dayton, to Cincinnati, Ohio via Franklin, Middletown, and Hamilton, Ohio.
August 8, 1927 — Cincinnati, Oh. to Louisville, KY.
With nearly two days spent in Cincinnati, Colonel Lindbergh headed for Louisville, Kentucky, on August 8 via Lawrenceburg, Aurora, Rising Sun, and Vevay, Indiana, arriving at his destination following one hour and 35 minutes in the air. At Louisville, Lieutenant Philip R. Love piloted the Spirit of St. Louis on one 10-minute flight in the vicinity of the field.
August 9, 1927 — Louisville, KY. to Indianapolis, IN.
On August 9, the Spirit of St. Louis flew from Louisville to Indianapolis, Indiana, via Camp Knox, Kentucky, in two hours and 25 minutes.
August 10, 1927 — Indianapolis, IN. to Detroit, MI.
The flight from Indianapolis to Ford Airport in Detroit, Michigan, via Kokomo and Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and Toledo, Ohio, on August 10, 1927, took four hours and ten minutes.
August 11, 1927 — Detroit, MI.
Lindbergh made two 10-minute flights in the Spirit of St. Louis from Ford Airport in Detroit on August 11 — one carrying Henry Ford during his first flight in an airplane and the other carrying Edsel Ford.
August 12, 1927 — Detroit, MI. to Grand Rapids, MI.
A two-hour and five-minute flight from Ford Field to Grand Rapids, Michigan, via Saginaw, Lansing, and Ionia, Michigan, was logged by the Spirit of St. Louis on August 12. While at Grand Rapids, Lindbergh made one 20-minute flight carrying his mother.
August 13, 1927 — Grand Rapids, MI. to Chicago, IL.
On August 15, Lindbergh made one two-hour and 15-minute flight from Grand Rapids to Chicago, Illinois, via Kalamazoo, Benton Harbor, and St. Joseph, Michigan.
August 15, 1927 — Chicago, IL. to Springfield, IL. to St. Louis, MO.
On August 15, 1927, Lindbergh piloted the Spirit of St. Louis from Chicago to Springfield, Illinois, on a two-hour and 35-minute flight via Moosehart, Aurora, Joliet, and Peoria, Illinois. At Springfield, the Post Office Department ordered the contractor of the Contract Air Mail (C.A.M.) Route 2 to arrange a special mail-carrying flight in connection with the dedication of Lindbergh Field. This was an unusual tribute to Lindbergh and was one of the few occasions upon which the Department authorized special flights in connection with field dedications. An official cachet was applied to the covers carried and each cover bore an auxiliary handstamp reading “Carried in Mail Plane Escort to Col. Lindbergh” in a small box.
Following the dedication of the airport, Lindbergh then flew on to St. Louis where he was picked up by the manager of Lambert Field in a 1927 LaSalle roadster.
august 17, 1927 –St. Louis, MO. to Kansas City, MO.
Lindbergh spent three hours and 45 minutes flying from St. Louis to Kansas City, Missouri, via Chamois and Jefferson City, Missouri, on August 17. The focus of his stay in Kansas City was the dedication of a new airport just to the north of downtown to replace the old Rogers Field south of Kansas City near its border with Raytown, Missouri. Lindbergh had visited the old airfield during his airmail days and scouted the new site as did the Army Corps Reserve Association.
The new airport was built in the Missouri River bottoms next to the rail tracks at the Hannibal Bridge. At the time, air travel was considered to be handled in conjunction with rail traffic. It was dedicated as New Richards Field by Lindbergh. An estimated 20,000 people attended the dedication ceremonies. Aside from the runways and some facilities, much of the airport area in 1927 was undeveloped. It was soon renamed Kansas City Municipal Airport. In 1929, the city constructed a modern passenger terminal, Interestingly, the airport’s two runways were not paved but were surfaced with cinders and coated with heavy oil.
In 1931, the newly-formed TWA selected the airport for its headquarters, the building of which is the currently the home of the National Aviation Museum. The inability to expand the airport’s footprint dictated a new airport in a roomier location. At the old airport, airplanes had to avoid the 200-foot (60 m) Quality Hill and the downtown Kansas City skyline south of the south end of the main runway. In the early 1960s an FAA memo called it “the most dangerous major airport in the country” and urged that no further federal funds be spent on it. In 1972, commercial passenger traffic moved to the new Kansas City International Airport, constructed twenty miles to the north.
Today, the airport is known as the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport. Wheeler was mayor when Kansas City International opened. It remains quite active, handling mostly general aviation traffic. Despite concerns about the airport being unsafe, Air Force One frequently uses it during Presidential visits.
August 18, 1927 — Kansas City, MO. to Wichita, KS.
On August 18, the Spirit of St. Louis was flown from Kansas City to Wichita, Kansas, via Osawatomie, St. Scott, Girard, and Chanute, Kansas, in three hours and 15 minutes.
August 19, 1927 — Wichita, KS. to St. Joseph, MO. to Moline, Il.
Lindbergh began August 19 with a three-hour and 10-minute flight from Wichita to St. Joseph, Missouri, via Junction City, Fort Riley, and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, followed by a three-hour and 30-minute flight from St. Joseph via Ottumwa and Muscatine, Iowa, to the Moline Airport in what was then called the Tri-Cites of southeastern Iowa and northwestern Illinois. Today, they are known as the Quad Cities and include Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline in Illinois.
August 20, 1927 — Moline, IL. to Milwaukee, WI.
A two-hour and 25-minute flight was made on August 20, 1927, from Moline Airport to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, via Dixon and Rockford, Illinois, and Beloit, Wisconsin, on August 20. The Spirit of St. Louis stayed in Milwaukee for two days.
August 22, 1927 — Milwaukee, WI. to Madison, WI.
On August 22, Lindbergh took his plane on a two-hour and 50-minute journey from Milwaukee to the Wisconsin state capitol of Madison via Waukesha, Fond du Lac, and Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
To Be Continued. . .
I will continue the itinerary of Charles Lindbergh’s Goodwill Tour with the Spirit of St Louis in my next entry for A Stamp A Day tomorrow, June 12, 2018. Now for some details on the 10-cent Lindbergh airmail stamp (Scott #C10)…
The Lindbergh 10-cent airmail stamp (Scott #C10)
On May 25, 1927, Congressman Ernest R. Ackerman of New Jersey sent the following telegram to Postmaster General New:
“Because of Charles Lindbergh’s postal service connections and as a fitting tribute to his intrepid courage, I respectfully suggest Post Office Department immediately surcharge five hundred million two cent postage stamps ‘HAIL CHARLES LINDBERGH’ and sell them to the public for three cents each, the premium of one cent on each stamp to be collected for account Red Cross fund for southern flood sufferers. Five millions of dollars for this worthy cause would thus be secured for those sorely afflicted Southerners while fittingly commemorating epochal flight instanter. Whole world would become purchases.“
Upon receipt of this telegram, the postmaster general announced that he was greatly interested in the subject and conferred with the Third Assistant Postmaster General Robert S. Regar as to the regulations concerning such an issue. Upon looking up the laws, it was found that the postmaster general had no authority without an act of Congress to issue such a stamp and thereby collect funds for flood sufferers.
Congressman Ackerman’s telegram had been made public through the press and the Post Office Department began receiving letters urging the issuance of a special Lindbergh stamp. On June 1, the Philadelphia Stamp Club sent a letter requesting a Lindbergh airmail stamp, suggesting that such a stamp include a photograph of the pilot and the Spirit of St. Louis. The USPOD received more letters suggesting such an issue than at any previous time in its history.
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing having felt certain that such a stamp would be issued prepared a design without a formal request from the Post Office Department. In conjunction with C.A. Huston, A.R. Meissner prepared the drawing used as a model by the engravers. On Friday, June 3, the artists model was approved and work on the master die immediately started, engraved by J. Eissler, E. Hein, E. Hall, and W. Wells. The picture used by the designers was taken by M.J. Ackerman, New York photographer of the Buffalo Times. The photograph had been taken just as Lindbergh started on a short test flight two or three days prior to his leaving for Paris. The background added by the designers did not meet with general approval as numerous press articles called attention to the fact that geographically it was incorrect, showing Newfoundland as three islands instead of a solid piece of land with a few small lakes.
The engraving as completed on Monday, June 6, and on June 7, Postmaster General New approved the die proof, having finally decided to issue a special ten-cent airmail stamp in honor of the now Colonel Lindbergh. The die was hardened by noon June 8 and by 8 a.m. on June 9, six transfer rolls and twelve plates had been made. Printing from a set of plates was started at 3 p.m. June 9 and by 11:30 p.m. of the same day, 56,000 stamps had been printed exactly five working days after the initial design model was made.
Because the law prohibited the use of the portrait of a living person, the central design represents the Spirit of St. Louis in flight from West to East. Across the top of the stamp, in white Roman letters, are the words UNITED STATES POSTAGE with the words LINDBERGH AIR MAIL directly beneath. At left of the central design appears the coastline of the North American continent with the inscription NEW YORK in small dark letters, and in the right appears the coastline of Europe, showing Ireland, Great Britain and France with the word PARIS also in small dark letters. A dotted line, depicting the course of the flight to Europe connects the two cities. At the bottom of the stamp in shade letters is the word CENTS and in both lower corners are the white numerals 10. The entire design is enclosed within a straight line border. The size and shape is the same as the previous airmail stamps being 75/100 by 1.84/100 inches.
The sheet stamps were printed from 200 subject plates, divided by horizontal and vertical guide lines. The full sheets were cut along these lines into panes of 50 (5×10) and then issued to post offices. There were twelve plate numbers (18997, 18998, 18999, 19000, 19001, 19002, 19003, 19004, 19005, 19006, 19007, and 19008), two to each pane. These were located above or below the third stamp in the top or bottom row and to the right or left of the fifth horizontal row, from the outside corners of the sheet. The paper was unwatermarked and the stamps issued in a perforation gauge of 11. A total of 20,379,534 copies of the stamp were issued.
Charles Lindbergh was scheduled to return to the United States on June 11, but the first day of issuance was set for June 18, “Welcoming Home Day” in St. Louis. On June 14, the first deliveries of the stamps were made to the postmasters at Detroit, Michigan, Lindbergh’s birthplace; Little Falls, Minnesota, his boyhood home; Washington, D.C., where he had spent a number of years while his father was a member of Congress; and St. Louis, Missouri, from where he had piloted the mail.
The first order of fifteen million copies of the Lindbergh airmail stamp was completed in a very short time. The demand for this issue came from every post office in the country. The heaviness of the demand indicated by the remarks of the postmaster general made shortly after the stamp was issued:
“The Post Office Department is being overwhelmed with demands from Postmasters throughout the country for supplies of the new Lindbergh Air Mail stamp. The demand far exceeds that received by the Department for any previous issue of a commemorative stamp. Heretofore, commemorative stamps were sought in only those sections of the country affected by the event for which the stamp was intended. In the case of the Lindbergh stamp, however, the demand for it is universal. There is not a post office in the country that is not clamoring for them.“
By June 23, deliveries of the stamp had been made to most of the larger post offices which, in many cases, supplied the smaller ones.
In February 1928, Lindbergh temporarily returned to the Air Mail Service for two days upon his own application. With the full accord and cooperation of the United States Post Office Department, Lindbergh once again carried the mail on his old route on February 20 and 21, 1928. The flight from St. Louis, via Peoria and Springfield to Chicago took place on February 20 and the return flight on the following day. Each cover mailed from the various points along the line had a cachet in the shape of a horseshoe containing the phase “Lindbergh Again Flies the Air Mail”. The volume of mail for this trip was so great that a number of planes were necessary to handle the load. With his usual thoughtfulness, Colonel Lindbergh personally flew each plane along some part of the trip.
The Lindbergh flights and the stamp commemorating the special event did much to extend the use of airmail by the general public and non-commercial users soon demanded airmail stamps in booklet form. On May 14, 1928, Third Assistant Postmaster General Robert S. Regar announced that “owing to the enormous demand for air mail stamps in book form, the Department has decided to issue the Lindbergh air mail stamps in books containing six stamps, arranged in two sheets of three stamps each.”
The booklets were printed in sheets of 180 subjects, with horizontal and vertical center guide lines. The plate numbers (19414-25, 26, and 27) were at the sides adjacent to the outside corner stamps in all four corners. The full sheets were cut into quarters and after being interleaved with paraffin paper and front and back covers, were stapled and then cut into booklets containing two panes of three stamps, the margins containing the numbers were cut off but an off center cut may have left part of the number attached. When parts of plate numbers are found on the issued stamp, they are either to the right or left of the top stamp in the pane or in similar position next to the bottom stamp. The total quantity issued was 873,360.
The booklets were first placed on sale on May 28, 1928, at Washington, D.C., and Cleveland, Ohio. The latter city was selected as a courtesy to the Midwestern Philatelic Exhibition, then being held in Cleveland. In spite of the “enormous demand” for these booklets, which sold at 61 cents, there seems to have been a comparatively small sale. In 1934, post offices were finally given permission to sell the stamps singly, or in strips without the book surcharge, and returning the covers in lieu of the remittance of once cent per booklet, above face, when settling accounts. This lack of demand was due largely in the change in domestic airmail rates to five cents per ounce on July 31, creating a very short time of usage for the booklets.