“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Falcon Heights in Ramsey County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Curtiss Northwest Airport and its Fliers

Curtiss Northwest Airport and its Fliers marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By McGhiever, July 2, 2021
1. Curtiss Northwest Airport and its Fliers marker
Inscription.  Curtiss Northwest Airport – In 1919, Snelling and Larpenteur Avenues were two-lane, unpaved roads in what was then Rose Township. The southeast corner of the intersection had most recently been a farm field. But now it became home to the first major airport in Minnesota and, for a brief time, the center of aviation in the state. You could buy a plane here, learn to fly it, and have it serviced and repaired. Hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people would come here on summer Sundays to watch air shows.

Phoebe Fairgrave and Vernon Omlie –
This duo first teamed up at Curtiss Northwest Airport in 1921 when Fairgrave set a world's record 15,2000-foot parachute jump with Omlie at the plane's controls. Fairgrave and Omlie left St. Paul to barnstorm and eventually married. She became the first woman to achieve a Transport Pilot's License and went on to win several national air races. Together, they established the first airport in the mid-South.

Bill Kidder –
A former real estate salesman with a flair for promotion, Kidder learned to fly at a Curtiss Company flight school in Newport News,
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Virginia. Following World War I, he got his start in the aviation business by acquiring a trainload of second-hand Curtiss Jenny biplanes for pennies on the dollar. Kidder's contract with Curtiss gave him exclusive rights to represent the company in Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. He was a pivotal figure in the early days of transition between the barnstorming era and commercial aviation.

Charles "Speed" Holman –
The legendary barnstormer and Northwest Airway's first pilot was an enthusiastic promoter of aviation across the region. In 1924, Curtiss Northwest mechanics helped him prepare his Thomas-Morse Scout biplane to compete in the Nation Air Race at Dayton, Ohio. Holman finished second, adding to his growing reputation. St. Paul's downtown airport is named for him.

Glen Curtiss
Glen Curtiss – An aviation pioneer and rival of the Wright Brothers, Curtiss was the first to fly an airplane in Minnesota. On June 23, 1910, 12,000 people watched as he took off from the Minnesota State Fairgrounds and flew to Lake Johanna and back, airborne for an impressive 10 minutes. By 1916, Curtiss headed the world's largest aviation company, establishing dealerships to sell planes across the United States, one of the first being right here.
Erected by City of
Marker in Curtiss Field Park image. Click for full size.
Photographed By McGhiever, July 2, 2021
2. Marker in Curtiss Field Park
Falcon Heights.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & SpaceIndustry & CommerceWomen. A significant historical year for this entry is 1919.
Location. 44° 59.357′ N, 93° 9.96′ W. Marker is in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, in Ramsey County. Marker can be reached from Iowa Avenue West west of Arona Street. Located in Curtiss Field Park, just west of the playground. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1551 Iowa Ave W, Saint Paul MN 55113, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Century in the Sky (within shouting distance of this marker); Curtiss Northwest Airport – Serving the Area (within shouting distance of this marker); Como Zoo Today (approx. 0.8 miles away); A Glasshouse Becomes a Reality (approx. 0.8 miles away); Sparky Show & Toby the Tortoise (approx. 0.8 miles away); Extending the U (approx. 0.8 miles away); The Zoo Expands (approx. 0.8 miles away); The Early Years (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Falcon Heights.
Additional keywords. Curtiss Northwest Airport and its Fliers
Credits. This page was last revised on August 27, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 26, 2021, by McGhiever of Minneapolis, Minnesota. This page has been viewed 229 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 26, 2021, by McGhiever of Minneapolis, Minnesota. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 12, 2024