Photos of Charles Lindbergh's reception in Belize, late 1927 and early 1928
1. The Spirit of St. Louis on the ground at the Barracks guarded by Belize policemen
2. Lindy emerges to an enthusiastic welcome. Dr. Cran is on his right. Note the
dress code of the day...Lindy is wearing a suit and tie and holding his fedora
in hand, this after hours in the cramped cockpit of that little airplane!
3. Lindbergh being received at St. John's College, Loyola Park on December 30, 1927. In
the photo besides Lindy are: Dr. Cran on his right; Governor Sir John and
Lady Burdon; Sir Herbert and Lady Sisnett; DC Hamilton Anderson and an
4. Charles Lindbergh at St. John’s College
5. Pioneer Aviator Charles Lindbergh at Loyola Park, 1928. Belize, British Honduras. - His Excellency, Sir John Bourdon, Governor of British Honduras, and Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh on the steps of the NEWTOWN POLO and GOLF CLUB. Where a reception was held for the famous Air Ambassador. 1/5/28 taken by "Wide World Photos."
6. The reception of Charles Lindbergh in late 1927 at Loyola Park. To the left of Lindbergh is Governor Sir John Alder Burdon and extreme right front row is Superintendent of Police McDonald. Govenor Burdon is who the Burdon Canal was named after.
8. I beleve this is at the Polo Club at the Barracks. Rev. Cleghorn held tbe post at the time which would be the equivalent of Mayor of Belize City today. This is why he made the speech. There was a copy of the speech, framed at Lindburgh landing. Lindburghs Landing was owned by Mr Jerry Nisbet.
After leaving Belize, Lindy went to each of the Central American capitals, around the tip of South America, back north through the islands, and returned to St. Louis. His famous airplane was retired from service following this trip and now hangs in the Air and Space Museaum of the Smithsonian in Washington.
Lindbergh landed on what was formally the landing field at the New Town Barracks. Further up the road was the ‘target range’ and the soldiers burial ground. This area is now known as Caribbean Shores leading into Hone Park.
WHEN 'LINDY' CAME TO TOWN
By Neil Fraser
“Belize, and all Central American nations, took to the air age early and quickly. The lack of roads and railways, formidable jungles and mountains, long journeys by sea, all made airplanes the ideal way of reaching the cities, towns and outposts of these countries. The age of air transport was introduced to Belize on December 30, 1927, by none other than the "Lone Eagle" himself, Colonel Charles Lindbergh.
Lindbergh, a great believer in the future of air transport, was retained by the founders of Pan American Airways to scout Central America and the Caribbean for future air routes. After his transatlantic triumph, he set off to make a quick goodwill tour, departing just before Christmas 1927. The first leg of this, Lindbergh's second historic flight, took him from Washington, DC, to Mexico City. From there the Spirit of St. Louis winged its way to Guatemala City, then to Belize, arriving two days before New Year's. The estimated arrival time at each of Lindbergh's stops was sent ahead by wireless. It is a tribute to his skill as a pilot that he was almost exactly on schedule reaching each destination. Coming into Belize from the south and flying in overcast weather, he strayed out over the water. Letting down through the clouds, he swung west to make a landfall around Stann Creek (now Dangriga). Turning back to the north, he soon arrived over Belize to the excitement of waiting crowds below. The only available landing place in Belize was what Lindbergh, in his autobiography, called "a polo field". It is that area known as The Barracks on the North side of the city where the Golf and Polo Clubs were located...as well as the insane asylum. The open field, bordered by water on one side, was the site of polo, soccer and cricket matches. Until the present municipal airport was constructed in the late 1930s, it was also the landing field for aircraft coming into Belize.
The Spirit of St. Louis landed safely and was immediately surrounded by the people of Belize. One of those on the welcoming committee was my grandfather, Dr. James Cran. The welcoming celebrations included speeches at the Golf Club and the Polo Club, and a parade through the city to Government House. Photos of Lindbergh's visit to Belize provide an interesting insight into the prevailing dress code of the time. In that tropical climate everyone in the photos is formally clad in suits and wearing hats. Lindbergh himself appears to have stepped from the cockpit wearing a suit and holding his fedora. One photo shows Lindbergh working on the engine of his aircraft while wearing his hat, with the sleeves of his white shirt partially rolled up and his tie protectively tucked into his shirt. In this photo, Lindbergh is making a minor repair to the Spirit of St. Louis. Its engine apparently broke a valve spring which the versatile aviator replaced. Somehow my family obtained the broken part. It was an almost sacred relic kept in our dining room's china closet, a rusting piece of metal beside my mother's finest china and glassware: A piece of Lindbergh's airplane. After departing from Belize, Lindbergh piloted the Spirit of St. Louis through the capitol cities of the Central American republics and to the Panama Canal Zone. From there he swung around the northern coast of South America and headed north again via the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba. He departed Havana in early February of 1928, returning to U.S. airspace near Fort Myers, continuing on non-stop across Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee and finally landing at his home base in St. Louis. There the Spirit of St. Louis was retired into history, eventually to hang from the ceiling of the Smithsonian.
February 4, 1929
Lindbergh's next trip to Central America started in the early morning of his birthday, February 4, 1929. This time at the controls of a Sikorsky S-36 twin-engined amphibian, he lifted off the runway at Miami on the first leg of a 2,327 mile flight to Cristobal in the Panama Canal Zone. It was the inauguration flight of Pan American's mail and later passenger service to the Caribbean basin. A crowd of more than 1,000 people, some in evening clothes, were on hand to watch his dawn departure and the dawn of the air age in Central America. The S-36 Lindbergh piloted on this trip was only the second such aircraft built by Sikorsky under a contract with Pan American signed the year before. On board, in addition to Lindbergh, were Colonel Juan Hambledon, Vice President of Pan Am as co-pilot, and Henry L. Buskey as mechanic and radio operator. Pan American's president, Juan Tripp e, rode as a passenger.
After refueling stops in Cuba, the S-36 left bound for Belize, crossing the Yucatan Channel then hugging the coastline southward until its arrival in Belize at 2:55 p.m. The people of Belize, expecting the flight, had been making hasty preparations. My father, C. N. Fraser, who then was an engineer with the British Honduras Public Works, designed and had constructed a wooden ramp extending out into the water offshore from the Barracks. The ramp allowed the amphibious aircraft to lower its wheels in the water then taxi up onto the shore, where a 20- foot square platform waited for unloading and loading. Lindbergh made a smooth water landing, taxied up the ramp as planned, then ran off the end of the platform, bogging the amphibian's wheels into the soft earth. The slight mishap did not dim the jubilation and the ceremonies surrounding Lindbergh's second arrival in Belize. Festivities included the usual speeches at the Golf Club, a dinner and reception at Government House, and then another speechmaking reception at the Polo Club, where Lindbergh stated: "I want to tell you that I am glad to be back in Belize once again, and particularly on the first flight of a service linking Belize, not only with the United States but also with Central and South America. I hope that before long these planes will not only land here once in two weeks but once each day, and I think I can assure you that before many months will have passed that will be realized." Earlier in the day Lindbergh took the governor, Sir John Burdon, and his party for a ride in the Sikorsky while making an aerial survey of the area looking for a possible airport site.
At 9:10 a.m. on February 5, the Sikorsky departed Belize headed for Managua and on to Cristobal in the Canal Zone, arriving there in the afternoon of February 6. At every stop along the way it was greeted by throngs of cheering people. Air transport had arrived in Central America. Belize and the other Central American nations owe a debt of gratitude to Colonel Charles Lindbergh.”
LINDBERGH FLYING OVER MAYAN RUINS
Pilots Two Archaeologists Over Unexplored Portions of Site of Ancient Civilization
This story was published in the Oct. 7, 1929, edition of the Lewiston Tribune.
Miami Fla., Oct. 6. — (AP) — Flying his amphibian plane, symbol of modern civilization, Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh today piloted two archaeologists over hitherto unexplored ruins of the ancient civilization of the Mayas in the Central American wilderness between Belize, British Honduras, and Merida, Yucatan.
The flight, according to reports received here by M. J. Rice, local traffic manager for the Pan American Airways, started at 10:15 a.m. and landing was made in Merida at 3:45 p.m. Colonel Lindbergh was accompanied by Dr. Alfred Kidder and Dr. Oliver Ricketson. Carnegie institution scientists, Mrs. Lindbergh, and a copilot. The aerial explorations are sponsored by the Pan-American Airways.
Further trips are planned over Yucatan, Quintana Roo and Chiapas, Mexico, Guatemala, and British Honduras. Cozumel island, off the east coast of Yucatan, and known site of many remains of the Mayan culture, may be made the base for the expedition.
The civilization of the Mayas is generally credited by modem scholars as having been the most advanced on the American continents prior to the coming of the white man, even surpassing that of the Aztecs and Incas. Some experts have said the Mayan culture was ahead of the contemporary European civilization of the “dark ages.” The Mayan calendar recently has been declared more accurate than the present western calendar and the fine arts of the Mayas, such as painting, sculpture and architecture, have aroused intense interest and admiration among archaeologists.
Exploration has hitherto been handicapped by the dangerous maze of jungles that isolate the Mayan ruins and Colonel Lindbergh’s flights are in effort to overcome this ruthless grip of the wilderness and discover more secrets of ancient America.
No details of today’s flight were received here, but one radiogram from the expedition to Mr. Rice said “detailed resort tomorrow.”
Merida, Yucatan, Oct. 6. — Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh and his wife were heartily received here today by local authorities and officials when they flew from Belize, British Honduras, on an archaeological expedition far study of Maya ruins.
The aviator was invited to lunch by Governor Torre Diaz but could not take time from his survey to accept. The party rested here tonight and will return to Belize early tomorrow. Colonel and Mrs. Lindbergh were guests at the home of Colonel Garza Leal, inspector general of police.
Lindbergh declined to give any interview but it appeared that he planned to fly over the famous Maya ruins of Chichen Itza.
Photographs courtesy of the late Neil Fraser
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