1927 : Charles Lindbergh Visits Grand Rapids

August 12, 2018 all-day

On August 12, 1927 a record crowd turned out in Grand Rapids at the Kent County Airport to witness the 2 p.m. arrival of Charles Lindbergh in The Sprit of Saint Louis, the same plane he had used for the first trans-Atlantic flight to Paris just two months earlier. At the Grand Rapids mayor’s request, factories and even some of the town’s banks closed for the afternoon. After his welcome at the airport Lindbergh was escorted for a car ride through the city — with citizens lined up the entire way to view the celebrity. At John Ball Park Lindbergh addressed a huge crowd. His remarks which were also broadcast by radio focused on the need of cities to develop and maintain airports. Later that evening after an honorary banguet, he gave Mayor Elvin Swarthout, Congressman Carl Mapes and his wife, and Lindbergh’s own mother a ride over Grand Rapids in the very same plane that had flown across the Atlantic. On the next day he departed, flying over Kalamazoo, Benton Harbor, and St. Joseph on his way to Chicago, continuing on a nationwide tour which would lead him to visit 92 different cities, fly over all 48 states at the time, and log 22,000 air miles around the country.

Source : The Early Days of Aviation in Grand Rapids / Gordon G. Beld. Charleston, S.C. : History Press, 2012.

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