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Local History

Amelia Earhart, Part 2

 Childhood portrait of Amelia Earhart“Amelia Earhart, Air Heroine, Once Resided in Springfield,” Springfield (Mo.) Press, May 23, 1932, 1. 

Amelia Earhart Putnam, who recently added to her fame by being the first woman pilot to fly across the Atlantic, once lived in Springfield. Amelia’s father, E.S. Earhart, was Frisco claim agent here in 1914, according to Walter F. Baker of the Frisco claim department.  He was here a year, leaving Springfield for Kansas City, Mr. Baker declared.

The family spent several weeks here in August and September of 1914, Mr. Baker said.  Mr. Baker was staying at the Metropolitan hotel and members of the family discussed moving to Springfield from Des Moines, he said, but Mr. Earhart went from here to Kansas City instead.  The Earharts discussed moving into a residence on North Douglas Avenue near Mr. Baker’s home.

 c1928Amelia was about 16 years old at the time she was here.  Her younger sister, Muriel, and her mother, also were here Mr. Baker recalled.  The family was not widely known outside of the railroad circles, however, he said.  Little is remembered about Amelia. Attendants at the Metropolitan hotel have changed since 1914 and no one there remembered the Earhart family, they said Monday.

Since her stay in Springfield, America’s most famous aviatrix has crowded enough activity into her brief life to make careers for several women. Her versatile experiences have included war nurse, commercial photographer, social worker, aviation company executive, magazine editor, teacher, member of many aviation committees and pilot.  [Illegible]

She gained worldwide fame when she was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic.  She crossed from Trepassey, Newfoundland, to Buryport, Wales, in a tri-motored monoplane in 1928 with Wilmer Stultz, pilot, and Louis Gordon, mechanic.  She also made a transcontinental autogiro trip.  She stopped in Springfield for a few hours last summer returning to New York in her autogiro. At the time of her visit here she refused to make any statement about her future plans except that she planned to experiment with the autogiros which she said she thought “very interesting.”

A slim, freckled girl with tousled blonde hair giving her a striking resemblance to her masculine counterpart, Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh, she looked far short of her 34 adventurous years.  Hands thrust jauntily in the pockets of her worn jodhpurs, helmet cockily awry on her hair, she chatted in friendly manner with airport attendants while stopping here a short while last summer.

 Amelia Earhart's airplane dangling at the loading operation, as it was lifted by a derrick barge from the liner Lurline at Honolulu Mrs. Putnam, then Miss Earhart, left the Ogontz school for girls in Philadelphia to join the Canadian Red Cross in 1917 for World war service.  After the war she entered Columbia University for a pre-medical course and a year later went to California. It was in California that she became interested in aviation as a recreation.  She amassed 500 solo hours in aerial pleasure jaunts along the California coast.  In Los Angles she studied commercial photography and ventured into the business with a woman partner.  Returning east she taught a university extension course at Lowell, then entered social service work.  Later she returned to flying and skyrocketed to fame with the trans-Atlantic flight.

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