Great Moments in Travel History – September 2012

By Paul Riegler on 1 September 2012
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Ladies’ entrance, Palmer House, 1903

The science of aviation made a major advance on September 6, 1809 when Sir George Cayley, 1773-1857, published an essay entitled “On Aerial Navigation” in Nicholson’s Journal of Natural Philosophy, Chemistry and the Arts.  Cayley, whom some refer to as the Father of Aviation, was the first to understand and explain weight, lift, drag, and thrust, all concepts we take for granted today.  He was also the first person to build a manned glider.

The historic Palmer House hotel opened its doors in downtown Chicago on September 26, 1871, and burnt down just 13 days later on October 9th in the Great Chicago Fire.  It reopened in 1875 and is now known as the Palmer House Hilton.

New York’s St Regis hotel opened its doors on September 4, 1904.  Located on Fifth Avenue, it was built by John Jacob Astor IV, who also owned half of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel at the time.  It was declared a New York City landmark in 1965 and is now part of the Starwood Hotels chain, which also operates a line of St. Regis luxury hotels across the globe.

Located at Madison Avenue and 45th Street in Manhattan, the Roosevelt Hotel opened its doors on September 22, 1924.  A notable New York landmark, the Roosevelt Hotel has appeared and been referenced in several major films and television shows, including The French Connection, Wall Street, Maid in Manhattan, Man on a Ledge, and Mad Men.

On September 28, 1924, two Douglas World Cruisers, the Chicago and the New Orleans, completed the first ever circumnavigation of the globe by air.  The flights had begun on April 6, 1924, albeit with four Douglas World Cruiser aircraft.  The routing took the Seattle, Chicago, Boston and New Orleans from Seattle to Alaska, then over the Pacific to Japan, across Asia, the Middle East and Europe, over the Atlantic to Newfoundland via Iceland and Greenland, and then over the continental United States from Boston to Seattle.  Douglas Aircraft then adopted the slogan “First Around the World – First the World Around.”

On September 20, 1932, Trans World Airlines awarded Douglas a contract to build a prototype of the DC-1 aircraft, the first of the successful DC (Douglas Commercial) series.  The contract included options for 60 additional planes.

Government regulators and the Air Mail Act of 1934 required the breakup of the United Aircraft and Transport Corp., which took place on September 28, 1934.  Three separate companies were formed by the split: United Aircraft, Boeing Airplane, and United Air Lines. The latter took over the Boeing School of Aeronautics.

Click here to continue to Page 2DC-3 and DC-8 Go Into Service, Gulf Hotel Fire, Roll-out of the 747-100, and Skytrain

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