Category Archives: Airport

Johnston-Hatcher fires, 1907 & 1913

The Johnston-Hatcher Co. sold home furnishings of all kinds from 1899 to 1949 in downtown Springfield. The store, however, fell victim to two of the city’s most devastating early 20th-century fires. Johnston-Hatcher was the creation of two sets of brothers … Continue reading

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John E. Hickey (pioneer aviator)

John E. Hickey (1890-1970), a founder of aviation’s Silver Wings Fraternity, had been a pilot for longer than anyone else in Illinois when he died in 1970. Hickey’s first flight took place in a hot-air balloon in 1908. He told … Continue reading

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Adelaide O’Brien Rentschler (aviator)

Adelaide O’Brien (1915-99) of Springfield was the first licensed woman pilot in downstate Illinois. During World War II, O’Brien was a local ground instructor for U.S. Army Air Corps flight cadets. O’Brien also was widely known in central Illinois for … Continue reading

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Opening of Commercial Airport, 1928 (photo)

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Endurance flying record, 1939

Brothers Hunter and Humphrey Moody beat the world record for endurance flying in a light aircraft — nearly 344 hours — in July and August 1939. The brothers, who lived in Dalton City, set the record flying out of Springfield … Continue reading

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Thornton Walker

Thornton Walker* (1912-45) was the Illinois State Journal’s part-time aviation columnist during the 1930s. A Flickr page set up by his son-in-law, Bill Strouse, contains many photos of Southwest Airport, along with reproductions of some of Walker’s columns for the Journal. … Continue reading

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Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport

Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport was dedicated, under its original name of Capital Airport, on Nov. 2, 1947. The ceremony culminated a nearly decade-long effort to build a new airport, an initiative sparked when the two airlines that previously served Springfield … Continue reading

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Howard Knotts

Howard Knotts (1895-1942) shot down six German planes in less than a month during World War I, winning the U.S. Distinguished Service Cross and the British Distinguished Flying Cross. He was downstate Illinois’ only “flying ace” during World War I. … Continue reading

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Charles Lindbergh’s airmail flights

Before Charles Lindbergh became famous for his nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927, he flew the U.S. mail between Springfield, Chicago and St. Louis for the Robertson Aircraft Corporation. The first official flight, piloted by Lindbergh, was … Continue reading

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P-51D aircraft (National Register)

A U.S. Army P-51D aircraft, the top-performing fighter plane in World War II, housed at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The plane, which is on display at Mike George’s Air Combat Museum, … Continue reading

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