Thursday, June 13, 2024

St. Louis Lambert Airport: A Look Into The Past

One observer in St. Louis Star wrote that Lambert was born in 1875 with the “proverbial spoon” in his mouth. Louis Star, Lambert was born in 1875 with the “proverbial silver spoon” in his mouth, wrote one observer. His father, Lambert Pharmacal, made Listerine. The family home on Vandeventer was where Albert put on circus-style and musical shows. He was a great golfer in his 20s. He played in the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris and the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. The Olympic competition was held at Glen Echo Golf Club, his father-in-law’s course.

Lambert was still working in the family business at that point. He established factories in France, Germany, and Germany. He was fascinated by hot-air balloons while in Europe and began to learn how to fly them. Later, he brought a major balloon race from Europe to Forest Park. He also trained balloon pilots for U.S. Army and earned the rank of major.

Lambert fell in love with planes by chance. After taking lessons from one of the Wright brothers, Lambert earned his license and leased the land in Bridgeton, which would eventually become the airport. Lambert spent his own money to clear the land and grade it into an airport. He even built a hangar that anyone could use free of charge.

The site hosted several days of plane races in 1923. Nearly 200,000 people attended the event, along with a young pilot named Charles A. Lindbergh. Lindbergh asked Lambert and other wealthy St. Louisans to sponsor him when he decided to fly the first transatlantic flight. Lindbergh christened his plane Spirit of St. Louis.

Lambert purchased the property after the expiration of the lease and sold it to St. Louis. This ownership continues today, even though Lambert’s airport is in the county. Lambert was a strong supporter of the airport for many years.

Lambert was a resident of Hortense Place in the Central West End. He also enjoyed motorcycling and fishing and was a member of the Board of Police Commissioners. His goal was to clamp down on reckless drivers and gamblers. The airport is his greatest legacy. Daniel L. Rust, in his 2016 book America’s Aerial Crossroads: St. Louis’s Lambert Airport wrote that “Aviation history and the history of St. Louis would have been very different without the vision of Albert Bond Lambert.”

Leave a Reply