The National Mall in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
T.S.C. Lowe's Observation Flight
AIAA Historic Aerospace Site
On June 18, 1861, T.S.C. Lowe made a tethered observation flight with his gas-filled balloon Enterprise from a spot on the National Mall in front of where the National Air and Space Museum now stands. During this flight, he sent the first telegram ever dispatched from the air to President Lincoln in the White House, describing what could be seen from an altitude of 500 feet. The ascent marked the beginning of an observation balloon corps for the U.S. Army, the first American military aeronautical unit, and the birth of aerial reconnaissance in the United States.
Erected 2011 by The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Location. 38° 53.308′ N, 77° 1.181′ W. Marker is in The National Mall, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on Jefferson Drive Southwest east of 7th Street Southwest, on the right when traveling east. Marker was just dedicated and will be permanently affixed to the North entrance of the National Air and Space Museum facing the National Mall. Touch for map. Marker Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Jupiter (within shouting distance of this marker); Saturn (within shouting distance of this marker); Asteroids and Comets (within shouting distance of this marker); Mars (within shouting distance of this marker); Earth (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Venus (about 300 feet away); Mercury (about 300 feet away); Sun (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in The National Mall.
1. "Lincoln's Air Force" and the Advent of Aerial Reconnaissance in the US
On Saturday, the National Air and Space Museum sponsored a sesquicentennial commemoration of "Professor" Thaddeus Lowe's balloon demonstration on the National Mall. The festivities included a replica balloon, living historians, cameo appearances by President Lincoln and Professor Lowe, and the dedication of a new plaque. More information and pictures of the dedication can be found at http://civilwarwashingtondc1861-1865.blogspot.com/2011/06/lincolns-air-force-and-advent-of-aerial.html
— Submitted June 12, 2011, by Steven Berkowitz of Annnandale, Virginia.
Categories. • Air & Space • Military • War, US Civil •
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Credits. This page was last revised on October 6, 2019. This page originally submitted on June 12, 2011. This page has been viewed 730 times since then and 3 times this year. Last updated on October 6, 2019. Photos: 1. submitted on June 12, 2011, by Steven Berkowitz of Annnandale, Virginia. 2, 3. submitted on November 13, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 4. submitted on May 3, 2019, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. 5. submitted on July 21, 2019, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.