Great Moments in Travel History – September 2014
Chicago’s Palmer House hotel opened its doors on September 26, 1871, a mere 13 days before the Great Chicago Fire. The structure did not survive the blaze and had to be rebuilt. It reopened its doors in 1875.
John Jacob Astor IV’s St. Regis hotel in New York City opened its doors on September 4, 1904. At the time, Astor also owned half of the Waldorf-Astoria. It’s known for its iconic King Cole Bar, the centerpiece of which is Maxfield Parrish’s “Old King Cole” painting that had been created for Astor’s short-lived Knickbocker Hotel on Broadway. Astor died in the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.
On September 1, 1910, Glenn H. Curtiss made a return flight over Lake Erie from Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio to Euclid Beach in Cleveland in an hour and forty-two minutes. While he did not break his August record for the longest flight over water, he did average around 55 mph (88.5 km/h) in his biplane, securing the record for the reverse course.
The Roosevelt Hotel, named in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt and located on Madison Avenue and 45th Street in Manhattan, opened its doors on September 22, 1924. The 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.
Douglas World Cruisers Chicago and New Orleans completed an around-the-world flight on September 28, 1924. Originally, four aircraft had set out on the expedition (the Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, and Seattle), but the Boston and Seattle crashed during the trip.
On September 20, 1932, Douglas was awarded a contract by TWA to build a prototype of the DC-1, a two-pilot, 12-passenger plane. The agreement also gave TWA options for 60 additional aircraft.
Air Canada’s predecessor, Trans-Canada Air Lines (TCA), inaugurated service carrying two passengers and mail between Vancouver and Seattle aboard a Lockheed L-10A Electra on September 1, 1937.
On September 20, 1945, a converted British Gloster Meteor, the first operational British jet fighter, the only Allied jet fighter to see combat in World War II, made its first flight as the test bed for the Rolls Royce Trent-engines that had five-bladed propellers. The aircraft pioneered turboprop power and the one-off model was retired in 1948.