Learn with Lindbergh: Granby aviation museum details historic pilot’s local ties (with video)
GRANBY — On May 20, 1927, a shy aviation enthusiast took off from Roosevelt Field in New York and landed, 33-and-a-half hours later, 3,600 miles away in Paris. It was the first completion of a non-stop solo transatlantic flight.
That pilot, Charles Lindbergh, had made history and was considered a national hero.
While most people are aware of Lindbergh’s historic flight, what’s not as well known is his connection to Grand County.
Those local ties were discussed Monday during a celebration of the 92nd anniversary of Lindbergh’s flight.
Will O’Donnell, donning similar clothing worn on the 1927 flight and closely resembling the famed aviator, impersonated Lindbergh during the celebration at the Emily Warner Field Aviation Museum in Granby.
“The transatlantic flight was the news of the day,” exclaimed O’Donnell. “Every newspaper around the world that day was filled with the story of the flight… and it’s pretty neat that we have that connection.”
Indeed, the stories of Grand County and Lindbergh are undeniably interwoven.
Before his world-famous flight in 1927, Lindbergh worked as a flight instructor for a man named Harry Knight, a leading banker in St. Louis.
Knight was essential in funding the Spirit of St. Louis, Lindbergh’s custom-built monoplane he used to make his flight. He owned a ranch — which now resides under Lake Granby — where Lindbergh and his wife, Anne, would spend summers and give flying tours of Grand County prior to their son’s infamous and tragic kidnapping and murder.
Moreover, Lone Eagle Peak, located in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area, is named for Lindbergh’s call sign.
Story continues below video.
“That’s why we have this event because it’s important that our community knows the history of Lindbergh and Grand County,” commented Penny Hamilton, founder of the museum. “One of the most iconic aviators in American history used to fly in Granby. That’s just so unique.”
The storytelling session was followed by a special bagpipe tribute led by Mark Daniel, showing how Parisians would have greeted Lindbergh upon his landing in 1927.
The Emily Warner Field Aviation Museum opens for the summer season June 1, and will close on Sept. 1. The museum is open every Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and is free to all visitors.
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