Wednesday, July 19, 2017

94 Years Remembered in 94 Days-Post 12

One of the stories Teresa told quite often were the times that she got to go the airport with her dad to see Eleanor Roosevelt and then Amelia Earhardt.    She always said she was just a little kid and didn't realize who she was seeing.  But her dad felt it was very important to take his kids to historical events.

I found the following article in the Douglas Dispatch.    Just think, our grandfather and Teresa were at both of these events!!

A group of airport supporters, city staff and Mayor and Council were on hand Thursday afternoon to commemorate the stopover of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in Douglas Airport, located at the end of 10th Street.

The event was marked with a plaque which will be placed in a small garden near the Airport Museum.

In December 1928, Douglas’ airport became the first international airport in the Americas, and was dedicated as such by Eleanor Roosevelt on June 5, 1933 by striking a bottle of water (remember it was still Prohibition) against a flagpole at the site.


Roosevelt decided to make a last minute stop in Douglas to dedicate the airport on a trip to California. She spent 20 minutes in Douglas before continuing her trip.

Chris Overlock of the Cochise County Historical Society, spoke about Roosevelt’s brief stopover during the dedication ceremony.

Liz Ames dedicated the plaque in much the same manner as Roosevelt breaking a bottle of sparkling cider against the rock the plaque will be placed on.
The plaque reads: “At this location on June 5, 1933, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, dedicated Douglas International Airport as the first international airport in the United States.

Designed by J.P. Sexton as the first and only truly international airport in the Americas, Douglas International Airport began operations in 1929. The Douglas airfield was connected with the Agua Prieta, Mexico, airport by a common north-south runway.

“Early air travel between the United States and Mexico required plans to be cleared both for entry and exit of their respective counties. In other border cities, that meant a “hop and a skip” from one country’s airport to another country’s airfield. With DIA, planes could land in one country , pull back the wide gate on the barbed wire fence at the border, and taxi across to the other country. Then, after clearing customs, pilots and passengers could resume the flight to their destination.

In 1929, the first Women’s Air Derby, a transcontinental air race for woman pilots (Amelia Earhart, among them) included Douglas as one of its stops. In October, 1930, Douglas was a stop on the first transcontinental airmail route. Douglas International Airport became a successful commercial airport with regular airline service.

“By the late 1940s, most commercial traffic went through Bisbee-Douglas International Airport, about nine miles north of Douglas. Douglas International Airport lost its international designation, and became Douglas Municipal Airport.

On December 30, 1975, Douglas International Airport was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Cochise County Historical Society, June 5, 2008.


Host of firsts
The Douglas International Airport has been the home of a  host of firsts including being the first airport in the state, first involved in military maneuvers and bombings and Douglas was on the route of the first regularly scheduled coast-to-coast airmail service, said Les Stimac, Airport Museum volunteer.

On Oct. 15, 1930, two of the three inaugural airmail flights landed at Douglas airport.

In 1933, Douglas airport was ranked as one of the 10 best in the country.

The nod goes to Douglas Airport for being involved in the first aerial military missions as  a plane leaving the airport was conducting spy missions for General Pershing against Pancho Villa in Mexico. Pershing later used aerial bombing on railroad tracks in Mexico using buckets filled with lard, metal pieces and explosives.


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