Great Moments in Travel History – October 2013

By Jesse Sokolow on 1 October 2013
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William Boeing

The original Palmer House hotel, the first of three, burned to the ground on October 9 during the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, just 13 days after its opening.

William E. Boeing was born on October 1, 1888, in Detroit, Michigan.  He later went on to found the Boeing Airplane Company.

An estimated $5 to $10 million went into the planning, building, and furnishing of the Jefferson hotel in Richmond, Virginia, which opened its doors on October 31, 1895.  Richmond sculptor Edward V. Valentine created a life-size statue of the hotel’s namesake out of Carrara marble for the lobby.  Valentine borrowed and copied actual clothing worn by Thomas Jefferson to create the $12,000 statue, which took two years to complete.

Built by King Alfonso XIII, the Ritz Madrid hotel in Madrid, Spain, opened on October 2, 1910.  Personalities such as Ernest Hemingway, Ava Gardner, Michelle Pfeiffer, Madonna, and Duran have stayed at the hotel.

What is now the St. Regis hotel in Washington, D.C. opened its doors as the Carlton Hotel on October 1, 1926.  The name was changed to the St. Regis in 1999.  The property is located on K Street, just two blocks from the White House.

On October 30, 1928, the Boeing Airplane and Transport Corporation was formed to encompass both airline and aircraft manufacturing operations.

The first proven act of air sabotage in the history of commercial aviation occurred on October 10, 1933, when an on-board explosive device went off in a Boeing 247 propliner headed from Cleveland to Chicago.  All seven people aboard perished in the crash.  Despite thorough investigation, no suspect has ever been identified or charged with the incident, and it remains unsolved to this day.

On October 30, 1942, the New Frontier Hotel and Casino opened in Las Vegas.  Originally called the Hotel Last Frontier, the property was the second resort ever to open on the Las Vegas strip.

The B-29 Pacusan Dreamboat set a world nonstop, unrefueled distance record of 9,500 miles (15,288 kilometers) on a flight from Honolulu to Cairo, Egypt on October 4, 1946.

The Sahara Hotel and Casino opened on the Las Vegas strip on October 7, 1952.  With 1,720 rooms, it was the last vintage casino-hotel from the 50s and served as an anchor at the northern end of the Strip.  It closed in 2011, and is currently undergoing renovations, with a planned reopening as the SLS Las Vegas in fall 2014.

On October 16, 1955, the Boeing Dash 80 flew nonstop from Seattle to Washington, D.C., and back.  The flight broke all transcontinental records for a commercial transport, at average speeds of 592 mph and 567 mph (952 km/h and 912 km/h).

First production on the Boeing Model 707-120 jet rolled out at Renton, Washington on October 28, 1957.  The model first flew on December 20 of that year.

After multiple birds struck the aircraft, Eastern Airlines Flight 375 crashed upon takeoff at Boston’s Logan International Airport on October 4, 1960.  Sixty-two of the 72 people aboard the Lockheed L-188 Super Electra died.

On October 2, 1970, one of two planes carrying the Wichita State University football team to a game at Utah State crashed in Colorado.  Twenty-nine people died in the crash, and two more later died from injuries sustained in the crash.

Click here to continue to Page 2Pan Am, TWA, the DC-9, the 777, and the Charles

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