Magnuson Park Exhibit Marks 96th Anniversary
of the First World Flight
ON SEPTEMBER 28, 1924 three Army Air Service pilots landed at Magnuson Park (then the Sand Point Air Field), completing a 175 day journey around the world. Called the second most important event in aviation history behind the Wright Brothers’ first heavier than air flight in 1903, the First World Flight of 1924 captured the imagination of the world. The American Fliers, in planes made by Douglas Aircraft Company equipped with Boeing-made pontoons, were the first to cross the Pacific and the Atlantic by air, several years before Charles Lindbergh.
“It’s an exciting adventure story! These men were flying planes made of wood and cloth and wire through uncharted air and extreme weather conditions, without parachutes or radios. They landed in 22 countries, places that had never seen an airplane before, and it was truly a global effort to keep the Fliers going. Newspapers around the world reported on every landing, every broken bone and bout of dysentery, every near miss of Arctic glacier and crocodile” says Elisa Law, Executive Director of Friends of Magnuson Park.
“People pass by the First World Flight monument outside of Magnuson Park every time they enter, most unaware of the story behind it”
As we near the centennial of this important global event in aviation, Friends of Magnuson Park wants to change that.
See the virtual exhibition in person at Mercy Magnuson Place 7101 62nd Avenue Northeast, Seattle, WA (Installation Date TBD).
Monday September 28th from 6pm-7pm we held a sneak peak on Zoom of The First World Flight exhibition.
If you missed it, check it out in the video below!
Friends of Magnuson Park Historic District welcomes new Executive Director
Elisa Law holds a B.A. in Anthropology and an M.A. in Museum Studies from the
University of Washington and has been working in the arts and heritage sector of the
Puget Sound region for nearly a decade.
Prior to coming on board as the Executive Director of Friends of Magnuson Park
Historic District, Elisa served as Women’s Suffrage Centennial Coordinator for the
Washington State Historical Society, managed the national photography initiative
Project 562: Changing the Way We See Native America, researched and wrote the
Unsettled~Resettled: Seattle’s Hunt Hotel traveling exhibit and publication with the
Northwest Nikkei Museum, and served in Peace Corps Samoa as an educator
and village-based development worker.
WWll Plane Artifact Found
Sand Point Plane artifact identified as Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon –
Last summer when a young sailing instructor pulled up his anchor in Pontiac Bay he had a small piece of history attached. He knew he had something special and took it home where it stayed over the summer in his garage. His mother realized it might be part of NAS Seattle’s history and called Sail Sandpoint on the former base who called Friends as keepers of the site history. We called City and State historic preservationists and the Navy even at the National level got involved in trying to solve the puzzle. Local divers helped too.
Mess Hall Large Mural
We wanted to share this mural with you courtesy of the PBY Museum. The mural was given to the museum by the children of the artist. When Sand Point Naval Air Station was decommissioned, the mural was cut down from a wall in the mess hall. It’s detail and time frame make it unique to the base history. Building 27, the Seaplane Hangar, in the mural is now Arena Sports. The ramp the PBY planes were hauled up out of Pontiac Bay is still visible near the NOAA fence and is a contributing structure in the historic district as is the Seaplane Hangar. At some point in the future it may be possible to have the mural at Sand Point. Unfortunately is in need of repair and the estimates we have are close to $75,000. Friends is committed to helping raise funds for the renovation. It is an amazing depiction of the base during WWII. If you have questions contact:
PBY Naval Air Museum
Oak Harbor, WA
www.pbymf.org and on Facebook.
Two Artists Celebrate Sand Point Aviation History
Friends has been saddened these last 20 years that there is still so little visual recognition of the important aviation and military history of Sand Point. This year we will have two artists working to celebrate this aviation history
Model Airplane Exhibit
This summer, one of our board members, Bob Lucas, will donate to Friends part of his large lifetime collection of model airplanes. Bob has researched and will have on display every plane that flew in or out of Sand Point. The display will be in a corner of the newly remodeled Brig and join our current displays honoring a member of the Seabees who served at Sand Point in the 1960’s and a PBY pilot who was stationed at Sand Point in WWll.
Visitors Interpretive Center, Old Gas Station
Friends has been hoping to have Parks designate a building for a Visitor’s Interpretative Center for 20 years. It has always been a recognized need since being turned over by the Navy in 1998. The original document identified the Old Gas Station, Building 41, as an ideal central location across from the Park office. We agree. It would be open on weekends when park staff are mostly gone and buildings with public restrooms closed. A visitor could stop to get a map, information, a cup of coffee, see a video about the park, take a nature, art or history walk or just relax. The recent increase in park use and special events on the weekends adds to the need. Friends would partner with Parks and any group within the park that would like to help raise funds for the renovation. We are currently watching while the Parks and the Tennis Center who currently hold the building in their lease, negotiate its release for public use. We plan to help with its security this summer with an art project celebrating the history of aviation on wood panels and securing the windows.