West Potomac Park in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The route connected Washington, Philadelphia and New York. Curtiss JN 4-H airplanes with a capacity of 150 pounds of mail flew the 230 miles in about three hours.
The service was inaugurated by the Post Office Department in cooperation with the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps of the U. S. Army. On August 12, 1918, the service was taken over in its entirety by the Post Office Department.
Erected 1958 by The Aero Club of Washington on the fortieth anniversary, May 15, 1958.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & Space • Communications. In addition, it is included in the Postal Mail and Philately series list. A significant historical date for this entry is May 15, 1764.
Location. 38° 52.885′ N, 77° 2.607′ W. Marker is in West Potomac Park in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is on Ohio Drive Southwest near East Basin Drive Southwest, on the left when travelingTouch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 342 Ohio Drive Southwest, Washington DC 20418, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Yoshino (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial (about 700 feet away); "He Died in Harness" (about 700 feet away); The United Nations (about 700 feet away); I Hate War (about 700 feet away); Wartime President (about 700 feet away); Combatting Economic Depression (about 700 feet away); The Gift of Friendship (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in West Potomac Park.
More about this marker. It is between the road and the paved walkway at the river’s edge. It faces the walkway; all you see from the road is the back of the boulder.
Regarding Air Mail. The airfield, now West Potomac Park, was known then as the Washington Polo Grounds. The route was Washington Polo Grounds to Belmont Park in New York City with an intermediary stop at Bustleton Field in Philadelphia. The original Air Mail letter rate was 24 cents per ounce. First class mail then cost 2 cents for the first ounce.
Also see . . . The Airmail Takes Wing. Condensed from a narrative by C. V. Glines. “A phone call came to [Henry H.] Arnold from [George L.]Boyle about an hour after he had left the Polo Grounds. Lost and nearly out of gas, he had landed in a farmer’s field at Waldorf MD, 20 miles southeast of his takeoff point. The plane had flipped (Submitted on April 3, 2009.)
1. An Article by Nancy Allison Wright, “Washington’s Potomac Park"
Former Airfield, Now West Potomac Park
Polo field was rimmed with trees 30 to 60 feet tall. Within the field stood a covered grandstand and one lone tree. [Reuben H.] Fleet could do nothing about the grandstand, but he ordered the tree, which had already caused one crash, to be removed by May 14. The Park Department replied that it would take three months to receive permission to cut down the offending tree. Fleet then told the local mechanics to chop down the tree six inches below the ground, cover the hole with cinders, stomp hard on it, then drag the tree outside the park.” (Submitted on
— Submitted September 9, 2016.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 17, 2019. It was originally submitted on April 3, 2009, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 3,990 times since then and 81 times this year. It was the Marker of the Week May 12, 2019. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on April 3, 2009, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. 4. submitted on May 11, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. 5. submitted on April 3, 2009, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.