Arago: Documents


Letter permitting Airmail Service use of grounds


This letter, dated October 23, 1918, to Captain Benjamin B. Lipsner from the (Chicago) South Park Commissioners general superintendent, grants permission to use Chicago’s Grant Park as an airmail landing field. Airmail pilots Max Miller and Eddie Gardner had landed at Grant Park during their New York-to-Chicago airmail pathfinding flights a month earlier. Lipsner sought permission from the commission to use the park as the Chicago terminus for all airmail flights. The letter grants the service, and the first Cleveland–Chicago flight used the field on May 15, 1919. The service was extended to New York City on July 1, 1919.

The land in Grant Park that was used as the landing field extended south along the lakefront from Randolph Street. The Post Office Department erected a small hangar at the north end of the field. Because the field size was limited and the lake winds hazardous for take-off and landing, the Chicago airmail field was moved to Maywood’s Checkerboard Field in 1920.

The letter, addressed to Superintendent Lipsner, states,

“Your letter of the 15th [instant] was submitted to the South Park Commissioners at their meeting on October 16th. They approved of permitting the landing of your aeroplanes in Grant Park."

“As soon as you can furnish me with the dimensions of the area required for the purpose and the times when the landings will probably be made, I will have the permit issued locating the place and providing for all the other details connected with it."

“There will be no difficulty in taking care of it at the present time and when the park later on, which will probably be several years from now, is finally improved, I think it is very probable that arrangements can be made to continue the accommodation for you.”

October 23, 1918
paper; ink
25 x 21 cm (9 13/16 x 8 1/4 in.)
Museum ID:

  • Lipsner Airmail Collection
  • High Resolution
Additional Records
  • Letter permitting Airmail Service use of grounds
  • Letter to customers explaining recovered 9/11 mail
  • Letter-copy book for the Chicago post office
  • Postal rates and regulations form letter
  • Postmaster reprimand form letter
  • Order to evacuate CSA Post Office records
  • Special passport for postal employee
  • Travel pass for William Goddard
  • Advertisement for airmail service
  • Chart of the Post Office’s first airmail flights
  • Travel commission for a Railway Mail Service clerk
  • Travel commission for a Rural Delivery special agent

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