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The quote in the box at right is from: ‘El Palacio’, a weekly review of Arts and Sciences, published by the School of American Research, the University of New Mexico and the Museum of New Mexico, Vol. XXIV.  March 31-April 7, 1928.  Nos. 13-14.

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Lew Wallace Springer, Ca. 1920s
Lew Wallace Springer, Ca. 1920s

Passenger Lew Wallace Springer landed on Tuesday, August 2, 1927 and on August 9, 1927, both times flying with pilot Sterling Rohlfs, and both times flying in the Fairchild FC-2 (S/N 7), NC1418. Based at Vermejo Park, NM, these two visits appear to be part of a week-long trip from Douglas, AZ to San Francisco, CA and back.

Springer was a New Mexico engineer and businessman.  He became manager of the Irrigation Enterprise, which built the Eagles Nest Dam.  Here is a link to information about his father, which notes Wallace and his brothers.

Image, right, of Springer probably taken during his WWI military duty. Pilot wings indicate he was a qualified flier at the time.

Springer was killed, along with pilot Rohlfs, in an airplane accident March 27, 1928. In the memoriam, below, the passage, "On a recent air trip to San Francisco...." may be referring to the trip they were on when they passed through Tucson. Please direct your browser to Rohlfs' link for details around their final flight.




The article, below, from the reference cited in the left sidebar, summarizes Springer's life.


Lt. Lew Wallace Springer

"Death came with tragic suddenness to Lt. Lew Wallace Springer, youngest son of the late Dr. Frank Springer of Las Vegas.  An aeroplane in which he was riding together with Sterling Rohlfs, the owner, and W. E. King, an attorney, went into a nose dive while over Toluca, Mexico, and crashed to the ground, 1000 feet.  Rohlfs and Springer were killed instantly and King died in less than an hour.  The party had left Santa Fe by aeroplane and flew to Douglas, Arizona, from where the start for Mexico City was made.  The news of the fatal accident came to Edward Springer, the brother of Wallace, over radio at Cimarron in Colfax County, New Mexico. 

"Lew Wallace Springer was born at Las Vegas, October 10, 1890, the son of the late Dr. Frank Springer and Josephine M. Springer.  He attended the Normal University in that City of which Dr. Edgar L. Hewett had been president and Dr. Frank Springer a regent.  He graduated from the Washington D. D., Law School, after which he studied electrical engineering for two years at Columbia University, New York City. 

"Wallace, as he was known to his intimates, volunteered for the United States Aviation service immediately upon the declaration of War in April 1917.  He was assigned to training school at Columbus, Ohio.  In June 1917 he was selected as one of four out of the Squadron for special service in Europe and was said to have been one of the first twelve American aviators to arrive in France.  He finished his training in the French aviation schools.  In July 1918 he was assigned to Day Bombing Squadron No. 11.  He was in the drive on St. Mihiel and the Argonne from September 9 to October 27, 1918, when his plane was shot down and he was shot through the shoulder.  He managed to make a landing and was sent to the Hospital.  He returned from the War in March 1919 and received his discharge on March 18 of that year. 

"Returning to New Mexico he became manager of the ranch and livestock interests of his uncle, Hon. Charles Springer, who is a regent of the Museum of New Mexico and member of the Managing Committee of the School of American Research.  Wallace maintained his interest in aviation and when Sterling Rohlfs, son of the noted novelist Anna Katherine Green of New York, took over the management of the Bartlett Ranch in Colfax country and made business trips in his plane to Raton, Denver and Santa Fe, Wallace often accompanied him. 

"On a recent air trip to San Francisco, Wallace, who was a fine photographer, took remarkable pictures of mountains, desert and plains which were published in the rotogravure supplements of a number of metropolitan dailies.  While in Santa Fe With Mr. Rohlfs, he interested himself in the development of the City’s landing field.  Here, a few days ago, he received a new lens for his camera which he took with him on the trip to Mexico, which was a business expedition involving large interests.  The monoplane in which the young men were flying was a Fairchild equipped with a Wright whirlwind motor.

"Because of his father’s deep interest in the Museum of New Mexico and the School of American Research, Wallace was a frequent visitor to the institution in Santa Fe and went in and out as an always welcome guest.  It was last fall that the father, Dr. Frank Springer, one of the world’s distinguished paleontologists and famous as an attorney, statesman, orator and philanthropist, died in Philadelphia.  The mother of Wallace, four sisters and brother are the immediate members of the family who remain to mourn  the untimely death of the young aviator."



The Register
I'm looking for additional information and photographs of passenger Springer to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.
Thanks to Candida Martinelli in the Netherlands for providing the photograph and information about passenger Springer and pilot Rohlfs (q.v.).
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