Great Moments in Travel History – July 2014
On July 10, 1887, the Grand Hotel opened on Mackinac Island, Michigan. The property, a National Historic Landmark, boasts of having the world’s largest porch. Over the years, the hotel has hosted a variety of notable guests, including Thomas Edison, Mark Twain, five U.S. Presidents (Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton), Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev.
Amelia Earheart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, was born on July 24, 1898.
The Grand Hotel Rimini opened on July 1, 1908, in Rimini, Italy. The five-star hotel became world-famous after Italian director Federico Fellini included it in several of his films. It was recognized as a national monument in 1994, and is still in operation today.
On July 27, 1909, Orville Wright piloted the first official test flight of the U.S. Army’s first airplane at Fort Myer, Virginia. The flight lasted approximately one hour and 12 minutes.
The British dirigible Airship R-34 completed the first crossing of the Atlantic on July 6, 1919. The lighter-than-air craft flew to New York from East Fortune in Scotland.
On July 17, 1948, Miss Macao, a Catalina seaplane owned by Cathay Pacific and operated by one of its subsidiaries, was hijacked by a group of people who intended to rob and ransom the passengers. After a struggle in the cockpit, the plane crashed on its way from Macau to Hong Kong, killing every one of the 26 people on board except for the lead hijacker. The incident was the first recorded hijacking of a commercial aircraft in history.
Varney Speed Lines (later known as Continental Airlines) made its first flight on July 15, 1934. The flight carried only mail, no passengers, on a 530-mile route from Pueblo, Colorado, to El Paso, Texas, with stops in Las Vegas, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque.
On July 21, 1936, the Boeing Airplane Company signed a contract with Pan American Airways to build six Model 314 Clippers.
On July 8, 1940, the first Boeing Trans World Airlines Stratoliner flew from New York to Los Angeles in 12 hours and 18 minutes.
El Al Israel Airlines completed its first international flight on July 3, 1949, with service from Tel Aviv to Paris.