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Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) standing under the nose of her Lockheed 10-E Electra aeroplane. (Wikipedia public domain photo of 1937)

Amelia Earhart at the York Airport in 1933

In 1932 Amelia Earhart became the first woman, and second person, to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, doing so five years after Charles Lindbergh accomplished that feat. The United States Congress awarded Earhart the highest of all flying honors, the Army Air Corps Distinguished Flying Cross for “heroism of extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight.”

York was a stop on Earhart’s lecture circuit in 1933, where she recounted events of the flight. Kathy Trimmer prompted this post in stating her grandmother met Amelia Earhart at the York Airport during that visit. Quoting a section of Kathy’s e-mail:

“My mom tells the story of one of grandma’s early birthday presents. It was an airplane ride at the York Airport. After which she started wearing her hair in the style of Amelia Earhart. Grandma often walked to the airport and watched the airplanes. One day Amelia Earhart actually showed up, and had a short conversation with grandma. She declared Amelia was the most famous person she ever met.”

Kathy is working on a family history and wanted to know if I could pinpoint the date when that happened. She is also very interested in any newspaper or personal photos of Amelia’s arrival at the York Airport. She is holding out hope that her grandma might show up in those photos.

In 1933, the York Airport was located along the west side of Airport Road in Springettsbury Township. Airport Road was renamed Haines Road in 1937. The following model is a southwest looking view of what the York Airport hanger and office looked like. That region is now in the Fayfield development, between 7th and 9th Avenues.

YORK AIRPORT (1930 to 1937) hanger and office as represented in a scale model constructed by Paul Schiding, Allen Bond, and Morris Hendrickson. This is a southwest looking view between what is now 7th and 9th Avenues in the Fayfield area of Springettsbury Township. (S.H. Smith photo, 2019)

Local newspapers indicated Amelia Earhart spoke at the William Penn High School Auditorium on Saturday November 4, 1933 at 8:00 P.M. The College Club of York County sponsored her lecture “My Adventures in the Air.” Admission was $1.50 for reserved seats, $1.00 general admission and $0.35 for students. Proceeds went into the College Club’s scholarship fund for girls.

There appears to be no news coverage of Earhart’s arrival in York. I checked for news coverage of Earhart’s lectures leading up to York. The Charleston Daily Mail, of Charleston, West Virginia reported on lectures by Earhart the two days prior to her presentation in York. A Thursday November 2, 1933 lecture was in Wheeling, West Virginia. The Friday November 3, 1933 lecture was in Charleston, West Virginia. Amelia Earhart was flown to those sites in “Miss Fidelity,” an aeroplane owned by Mr. Fred King and piloted by George Haldeman. Possibly that was also the case for Earhart’s lecture in York?

Amelia Earhart arrives in Culmore, Northern Ireland on May 21, 1932 after becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She flew a single engine Lockheed Vega 5B aeroplane. (1932 photo via Ancestry.com)

Amelia Earhart’s lecture in York is reviewed in The Gazette and Daily of November 6, 1933. Quoting a few highlights: “Tells of her flight across the Atlantic Ocean with fluency and fervor” … “She was not only fluent and humorous, but well cultured. She told of her start and early experiences in aviation.” … “Her description of the flight [solo across the Atlantic], at night, was a veritable word picture and held her audience spell-bound.”

Besides promoting commercial aviation, Amelia Earhart was know for encouraging youth interest in flying, particularly young women. Beginning in 1933, she began using the following teaching aid. It has a stick and peddles which move the elevator, ailerons and rudder, resulting in the aeroplane model moving as if it were in flight.

Amelia Earhart teaches youngsters elements of flying. The teaching aid has a stick and peddles which move the elevator, ailerons and rudder, resulting in the aeroplane model moving as if it were in flight. (AP photo of 1933 via Ancestry.com)

In an attempt to become the first female pilot to circumnavigate the planet, Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean on July 2, 1937. They were on one of the final legs of the feat. The United States Navy conducted a massive search, however no remains of the aviator or her Lockheed 10-E Electra aeroplane were found.

“Final Search for Amelia Earhart” front page Associated Press article in The Gazette and Daily (York, PA) of July 17, 1937

Click on this LINK for a yorkblog.com Full View of the photos and illustrations in this post.

Links to related posts:

Fayfield developed in Springettsbury on site of first York Airport

York Airport building along Haines Road

Santa flight that started a York tradition

Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts