Aviator's Lounge Log on the Desk, Ca. 1930s
This page explores the log book of the Aviator's Lounge located in the Pioneer Hotel. Tucson, AZ. It lay open on a desk in the lounge from at least January 22, 1930 to at least October 12, 1933. For context, you can view the interior of the Aviator's Lounge at the link.
Take some time to study the room and its contents via the high-resolution image you can download at the link. This log book, right, is visible in the room, lying open on the desk just off the gentleman's right elbow. He is George
Benefield, manager of the Pioneer Hotel. Note especially the photographs on the rear wall, the furnishings, and the aviation memorabilia. The Lounge is one of the more engaging entities on the site.
Who were some of the people who partook of the charms of the room? We know them, because we have color images of the 51 pages, plus illustrated end pages, of a leather-bound sign-in book that was kept on the desk. The color images were made available to us on February 14. 2019 by the Pima Air & Space Museum via Ashley Paige. They were oriented and cropped for uniformity in PhotoShop by your Webmaster, but the color, patina, ink smudges and contrast were not modified from the original pages as scanned by Ms. Paige. You can download the contents of the log at this link.
The front cover of the log measures 9 1/8"W x 6 1/2"H. The "Hangar" reference was a wink to the hangar flying that surely went on in the Lounge.
Cover of the Log Book of the Pioneer Hotel Aviator's Lounge, Ca. 1930s (Source: PASM)
A good number of the signers also signed the Register of the Davis-Monthan Airfield; some did not. Examples follow.
PAGE1 Erik Nelson signed both books on January (February?) 12, 1930, soon after the Hotel opened.
PAGE 3 V.N. Johns signed both books on February 17, 1930. Note that he wrote cryptically in the remarks column "Flying Grocery." That's because the airplane he flew through Tucson, the Ford trimotor NC7863, was outfitted with shelves and an inventory of foodstuffs for sale. Go to the link to see photos of the plane's interior.
PAGE 4 Airport manager C.B. Cosgrove signed on March 7, 1930. Be sure tto read about him at his link. He also signed on page 14.
PAGE 5 James Fechet and his pilot Ira Eaker signed both books March 22, 1930.
PAGES 10 & 13 First woman to sign, Marie Graham. We learn she held Limited Commercial pilot certificate number LC8696. Note also Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr. (1898-1974) on page 10. He was not a pilot.
Page 14 of the Log Book of the Pioneer Hotel Aviator's Lounge, Ca. 1930s (Source: PASM)
PAGE 14 All of the Hunter Brothers (above) signed both books on July 20, 1930. They had recently set an endurance record and were on their way to Los Angeles to negotiate (unsuccessfully) a movie contract.
PAGE 15 Amelia Earhart signed the Airfield Register and the Aviator's Lounge books on July 25, 1930. According to the Airfield Register, she flew her red Lockheed Vega, NC7952.
PAGE 17 & 18 These pages record on August 19th some of the pilots participating in the 1930 National Air Races (8/23-9/1) as it passed through Arizona. Six women competing in the women's derby signed: Ruth Barron, Mildred Morgan, Jean LaRene, Ruth Stewart, Margery Doig and Gladys O'Donnell. A photograph of all these women is exhibited at Ms. Doig's link. O'Donnell was ultimately the winner. Note, too, Earle Ovington (see below), a well-known pilot who, surprisingly, never signed any of the Registers that comprise these Web sites.
PAGE 19 Al Wilson noted on September 29, 1930 that he was "Pushing West." This is because the airplane he brought to Tucson, NC3378, was a replica of a 1911 Curtiss Pusher. The Airfield Register recorded him signing in on September 28th and departing the 30th.
PAGE 23 John Reynolds, while not signed in the Airfield Register, deserves our attention because of the caption in the remarks column of the Lounge book. It says, "This is the man, who with Kirke Moore and Moss Rothrauff, selected the [location for the] present Davis-Monthan Airport in 1925."
PAGE 29 Will Rogers, Claremore,OK, in green, below, visited during May 1931.
Page 29 of the Log Book of the Pioneer Hotel Aviator's Lounge, Ca. 1930s (Source: PASM)
PAGE 32 Zantford Granville was enroute to Douglas, AZ competing
in the 1931 Transcontinental Handicap Air Derby, which ran
from Santa Monica to Cleveland (the Cleveland Air Races were
held August 29th–September 7th that year).
PAGE 39 This page, below, dated September 23,1931, commemorates the 20th anniversary of the first air mail flight on September 23, 1911. The pilot of that first flight, Earle Ovington (1879-1936), was in the Aviator's Lounge for the celebration. This page, with its informal artwork of Ovington's airplane and Ovington logo stamp, commemorated, but understated, the importance of the event.
Page 39 of the Log Book of the Pioneer Hotel Aviator's Lounge, Ca. 1930s (Source: PASM)
The other two signers on the page are of interest. Frank Hitchcock was the Postmaster General of the U.S. in 1911, and hired Ovington for the job. He is pictured at Ovington's link, above. Henry W. Zipf was a Tucson businessman and postmaster ("P.M.") from 1920-1935. The 107th anniversary was celebrated in AOPA Pilot magazine September 2018 as follows.
107th Anniversary of First Airmail (Source: AOPA Pilot)
PAGE 40 Art Goebel said he, "Enjoyed a very delightful luncheon on my stopover." He signed both the Lounge book and the Airfield Register on Wednesday October 7, 1931. In the Register he noted his arrival time was 11:20AM and departure 2:30PM, just the right amount of time for lunch. He flew his Lockheed Vega NR7954.
PAGE 41 & 42 Someone spilled the ink bottle!
PAGE 45 appears Jack Frye. He did not sign the Airfield Register on March 3, 1932, but he did sign it 20 other times between 1926 and 1929. Also, at the bottom of the page appeared Jack Oakie (1903-1978) and Ben Turpin (1869-1940), both movie actors of the era.
The body of the Aviator's Lounge log book ended on October 12, 1933 with the signature of Clinton E. Herberger of Los Angeles. He signed the Airfield Register, but not on the same day. He signed a few years earlier of September 30, 1930. He remarked in 1933, "This hangar is almost a National Museum."
On page 52, someone named Drake dated a line December 25, 1939. This was probably not be an accurate entry.
Page 53, below, is actually the left fly leaf, It displays a sketch of a parachutist, a wish for happy landings, and an illegible inscription that looks something like, "hysoyesclszy oyezty 5/31." If you can figure it out, please let me KNOW.
Page 53 of the Log Book of the Pioneer Hotel Aviator's Lounge, Ca. 1930s (Source: PASM)
These examples are not exhaustive. I'll leave you to find others by using the PEOPLE menu, top right.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 04/19/19 REVISED: