Great Moments in Travel History – December 2016
George Cayley was born on December 27, 1773. With his work on aeronautical engineering and fixed-wing flying machines, as well as the fact that he designed the first glider in history to carry a human, he is regarded by many to be the father of aviation.
The Wright Brothers made the first powered controlled flight, in a heavier-than-air craft, on December 17, 1903, in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
The Palace Hotel, which survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake only to be consumed by the fires in the quake’s aftermath, reopened its doors on December 19, 1909. It is currently a Starwood Luxury Collection property.
The Boeing Airplane Co. B-1 mail plane, the first Boeing-designed commercial aircraft, made its first flight on December 27, 1919.
The Drake Hotel in Chicago opened its doors on December 31, 1920. The luxury hotel is a longtime rival of the historic Palmer House hotel in Chicago.
The first ever motel opened its doors on December 12, 1925 in San Luis Obispo, California. The Milestone Mo-Tel, now known as the Motel Inn of San Luis Obispo, was built by Arthur Heineman who combined the words “motor” and “hotel” as sales of automobiles began to take off. Heineman’s motel was notable for a sign that changed the first letter so it alternated the words “hotel” and “motel.” Guests had 160 individual chalets available, each with a bathroom, telephone, and garage.
The attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan occurred on December 7, 1941, bringing the United States into World War II.
On December 7, 1946, the deadliest hotel fire in U.S. history took place at the Winecoff Hotel, now known as the Ellis Hotel, in Atlanta, Georgia. One hundred and nineteen people perished in the blaze.
The Park Slope Plane Crash occurred on December 16, 1960, when United Airlines Flight 826, a Douglas DC-8-11, collided with Trans World Airlines Flight 266, a Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation, over New York City. All 128 passengers onboard the aircraft, as well as six people on the ground, lost their lives. The incident became the first time in history that a black box was used to provide details in a plane crash investigation.
John F. Kennedy International Airport, originally dedicated as New York International Airport and later known as Idlewild Airport, was renamed on December 24, 1963, a month after President Kennedy’s assassination.
Eastern Air Lines Flight 401, a Lockheed L-1011-1 Tristar jet, crashed in the Florida Everglades on December 29, 1972. One hundred and one people died in what was the first wide-body aircraft crash.
Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, launched on December 21, 1968, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
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