Lighthouse Stories

charles-k-hamilton leaving governor's island

CHARLES K. HAMILTON Taken on June 13, 1910,

at Governors Island, NYC, at the time of his round trip flight to Philadelphia

Library of Congress Collection, 12-2-06

Caption by Colin Green, 12-29-04

On June 13, 1910, Charles K. Hamilton completed the first round trip airplane flight between two major cities flying between New York City and Philadelphia. The leading newspapers in those cities, The New York Times and the Philadelphia Ledger, sponsored the prize-winning achievement, each contributing $5,000 to the first individual to successfully complete the feat. Taking off from Governor’s Island in New York harbor at 7:30 am, Hamilton followed the Pennsylvania Railroad main line and landed in Philadelphia at the Lighthouse Field at 9:26 am.

Concern for his safety led Hamilton to wrap 5 inner tubes around his midsection as he flew over the Hudson River.   Hamilton’s biplane is still in existence today in a museum in Nebraska.

This historic flight signaled the beginning of the commercial value and viability of airplane travel.

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