Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Signal Hill in Los Angeles County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Early Aviation on the Hill

Part of the “Memory Necklace”

 

—A Series of Historical Panels Located in the Hilltop Loop Trail —

 
Early Aviation on the Hill Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, November 24, 2016
1. Early Aviation on the Hill Marker
Inscription. Signal Hill was the early launch site of Earl Daugherty, pioneer aviator, airplane builder and WWI flying ace. Just a few years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, (on December 17, 1903), Daugherty was handcrafting primitive gliders and hauling them up Signal Hill to soar in ocean breezes. Both Daugherty and William Boeing attended the first National Air Meet in 1910, in nearby Dominguez Hills. The show must have inspired them because, Daugherty, 24, flying in a Curtiss-Type biplane, became the 87th American to qualify for a pilot license in 1911. Boeing eventually founded the most influential commercial airplane manufacturing company in U.S. History.

Until the early 1920s, the main landing strip in the city was Long Beach’s crescent shaped beach. Soon the small coterie of pilots outgrew the beach, with its narrow landing strip and low tide landing/takeoff. In 1919, Daugherty built his own airstrip near American Avenue (now Long Beach Boulevard) and Bixby Avenue. He named it “Chateau Thierry” after a French battlefield from his service in the first World War.

Daugherty went on to operate a passenger service and give flying lessons. In his first year of operation, he flew some 1,786 passengers on sightseeing tours with sweeping views from San Pedro to Huntington Beach. This was remarkable
Early Aviation on the Hill Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, November 24, 2016
2. Early Aviation on the Hill Marker
because flying was considered a daring feat in those days.

Daugherty was a legendary stunt pilot. he and his fiancee, Katherine, even “got hitched” in an air wedding ceremony, the first of its kind. With a vision for Long Beach aviation, he used his influence as a local Army Air Corps flying ace and barnstorming legend to persuade the Long Beach City Council to plan for an airport. In 1923, the council set aside 150 acres near the Cherry and Spring Street intersection for the construction of the Long Beach airport, the first municipal airport in Southern California. (Just to the left of this viewshed) (Marker Number 4.)
 
Location. 33° 48.07′ N, 118° 9.682′ W. Marker is in Signal Hill, California, in Los Angeles County. Marker is on Panorama Drive, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2628-2632 Panorama Drive, Signal Hill CA 90755, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Japanese Farming on the Hill (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Broadcasting and Music on the Hill (approx. 0.2 miles away); Oil Fires on the Hill (approx. 0.2 miles away); Car Climbs on the Hill (approx. 0.2 miles away); "Unity Monument" (approx. ¼ mile away); “Tribute to the Roughnecks” (approx. ¼ mile away); Hilltop Park (approx. ¼ mile away); Discovery of Oil on the Hill (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Signal Hill.
 
Categories. Air & Space
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 15, 2016, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. This page has been viewed 184 times since then and 72 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 15, 2016, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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