Tag Archives: aviation

This Day in History… Lindbergh and the “Spirit of St. Louis” Land in Cheyenne (1927)

Sub Neg 15389, Bonnie Gray and the 'Spirit of St. Louis', 9-2-1927

Bonnie Gray, champion rodeo cowgirl and trick rider, poses beside the “Spirit of St. Louis” during Col. Charles Lindbergh’s Guggenheim tour stop in Cheyenne, September 2, 1927 (WSA Richardson Print 636)

90 years ago today, Charles Lindbergh and “The Spirit of St. Louis” touched down in Cheyenne, Wyoming. His visit was part of a tour sponsored by the Daniel Guggenheim Fund to promote national interest in aviation. By all counts, the tour was a rousting success at this.

EPSON scanner image

Knights News Emporium in downtown Cheyenne festooned with bunting welcoming Lindbergh to Cheyenne (WSA Meyers Neg 3069)

The 3-month, 92 city tours of all 48 states followed Lindbergh’s solo trans-Atlantic flight in May and coincided with the release of his book “WE”, recounting the flight, that July. It is estimated that 30 million people or roughly one quarter of the United States population saw the aviator.

Ad for the Klein Music Co, Dildine Garage Company and Sam Zall Jewelers announcing ties of their products to Lindgbergh

The local papers were plastered with ads attempting to cash in on Lindbergh’s visit to Cheyenne (Wyoming State Tribune-Cheyenne State Leader 9-2-1927 p11)

Cheyenne was not immune to Lucky Lindy fever. Already a regional aviation hub, the city fathers saw this as a chance to shine and everyone wanted a piece of the action. Downtown buildings were festooned with bunting and pictures of the aviator. Significant portions of 3 days’ newspapers (September 1-3) were devoted to the stop, reporting in detail scheduled stops, meetings, tours, dinners, and speeches.

Headline "Lindbergh Arrives in Cheyenne Friday" "Spirit of St. Louis Circles then "WE" Land"

Front page of the Wyoming State Tribune-Cheyenne State Leader announcing Lindbergh’s arrival in Cheyenne. (September 2, 1927, p.1)

According to the papers, Lindbergh landed at the air field just before 2 pm. The paper took care to refute reports that the aviator was forced down by engine trouble. He was then given a tour of the business district by Governor Frank Emerson, Mayor C.W. Riner and Brigadier General Dwight E. Aultman of Fort D.A. Russell (now Warren Air Force Base). He then gave a short speech at Frontier Park which was broadcast live by local radio station KFBU. He spent sometime talking to the press at the Plains Hotel before a banquet with 600 lucky Cheyennites. The retired to his room at the Plains for the night. The next morning at 6 am, he left for Salt Lake City almost 2 hours early.

Headline "Cheyenne Honors Col. Charles A. Lindbergh", "Lindbergh, Cynosure of Millions of Eyes, Finds Things Here Like Every Place Else"

(Wyoming State Leader-Cheyenne State Tribune 9-3-1927 p1)

The press seemed to sympathize with the “Lone Eagle” and his packed schedule. They reported him looking extremely tired but remaining courteous and in good spirits despite an incessant press of people straining to get a glimpse of their hero.

P99-7_39, Spirit of St Louis and Charles Lindberg at the Cheyenne air field, Sept 2, 1927

Scrapbook page showing 4 prized photos taken shortly after the “Spirit of St. Louis” landed at the Cheyenne air field. The law enforcement officers guarding the plane can be seen in these images, along with ropes used to manage the crowd. (WSA P99-7/39)

p2017-_ _2, Charles Lindbergh and 'Spirit of St Louis' at Cheyenne Airport, 9-2-1927

Lindbergh and other men, probably mechanics or air field attendants, standing beside the “Spirit of St. Louis” with a hangar in the background. This is one of four photographs of the visit generously donated to the Wyoming State Archives in August 2017.


Additional Reading

Guggenheim Tour,” CharlesLindbergh.org. (accessed Aug 2017)

WE, by Charles Lindbergh (1927). The book was published by George P. Putnam of New York. Putnam enthusiastically promoted aviation and would later marry Amelia Earhart. 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Eyewitness to History, This Day in Wyoming History...

The Last WWI Pilot from Wyoming

As a young man, Herman Kreuger dreamt of being

image-238

Photo accompanied the article “WWI flying ace talks with pilots on Italian team”, Billings Gazette August 25, 1988. A copy of this article is filed with Kreuger’s oral history interview at the WSA. It is interesting to note that “ace” was blacked out on the copy in the file.

a pilot.  During World War One, he got
his wish – serving in the U.S. Aviation Service piloting Italian bombers in northern Italy.

 

Herman was born on April 5, 1894 in Bern, Kansas.  His father worked for company prospecting for coal and moved his family from Nebraska to Wyoming in 1885.  Herman’s mother “figured that Wyoming wasn’t much of a place to raise a family.”  Moreover, “there was nothing except rattlesnakes and long horned cattle and cowboys.”  

Given this rather glum outlook, it is not surprising that the family eventually returned to Nebraska.  After graduating from school, Herman earned a living as a teacher.

In the early 1900s, airplanes were a novelty.  Herman was so fascinated by the romance of flying that he built a glider in 1910.  It crashed shortly after takeoff but he was not seriously injured.  “It turned out that it wasn’t very comfortable and my mother put a stop to that foolishness after the first flight,” he said.

Prior to America’s entry in World War One, Herman was working at an army camp near San Antonio, where he was mesmerized watching airplanes flying into and out of the nearby field.  Following America’s declaration of war, he enlisted in reserve officer training but later opted for artillery and then aviation.  

caproni_ca5

The final version of the Caproni aircraft used during WWI. Krueger probably would have flown one of these later iterations. Photo from Wikipedia

 

After his training in Austin, he was shipped to France and then was finally assigned to the First Aerial Squadron in Italy where he flew Capronis, an Italian bomber.  His initial responsibility was to train other pilots.  A fellow pilot in his squadron was future New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.

In 1918, Herman was sent into combat, flying missions against Austrian forces near Padua in northern Italy.  It was not without danger.  The large plane with a four-man crew (Herman and three Italians) was an easy target.  One occasion, after returning to base, Herman and his crew discovered 67 bullet holes in their plane.  

Herman flew numerous aerial missions during the last five months of the war.  For his efforts he was decorated with the Italian War Cross.

sub-neg-1172-22nd-wy-legislature-house-1933-krueger

Krueger’s 1933 Wyoming House of Representatives portrait. (WSA Sub Neg 1172)

After the war, Herman moved to Wyoming, where he filed for a homestead and operated a car and farm-tractor dealership near Garland.  He married his wife Celia Gordon in 1925 in Deer Lodge, Montana, and served many years as a Wyoming state representative from Park County. In 1937, he was selected as Speaker of the House.

Herman Kreuger died in August 1991 at the age of 97.  He was the last World War One pilot from Wyoming.

— Carl Hallberg, Reference Archivist

 

 


Additional Resources

  • OH-905, Herman Kreuger oral history audio and transcript, 1983, Wyoming State Archives
  • Herman Fred Krueger Find A Grave memorial

Leave a comment

Filed under Wyoming at War