The history of Lambert–St. Louis International Airport is the story of American aviation. Everything that has taken place on the airport’s footprint—from Lindbergh to American Airlines, jet airliners to space travel—constitutes a microcosm of the triumphs and tragedies of winged flight in America. The Aerial Crossroads of America chronicles the transformation of the patch of farmland leased by Albert Bond Lambert in 1920 into the sprawling international airport it is today. Illustrated extensively with images from the airport’s history, the book tells not only the story of Lambert but also the history of what it means to take flight in America.
Aviation expert Daniel L. Rust begins his story with Albert Bond Lambert’s pioneering efforts to promote air travel in the Midwest. Although other American airports might today eclipse Lambert, Rust shows that airports serving New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago all lack the longevity of Lambert and its range of historic activity. In the book, Rust moves at supersonic speed, covering the 1923 Air Races, Charles Lindbergh and his Spirit of St. Louis, the U.S. Air Mail Service, the birth of American Airlines, military aviation, the rise of the aircraft manufacturing industry, the development of air traffic control, regulation and deregulation, and the decline of Lambert as a large hub following the demise of TWA and 9/11.
Brimming with anecdotes, little-known historical threads, and lively explanations of just what Lambert has meant to the aviation industry, The Aerial Crossroads of America will be an invaluable resource for anyone interested in aviation, inspiring readers to glance out their windows and admire the view on every ascent.
Daniel L. Rust is an assistant professor of transportation and logistics at the University of Wisconsin–Superior. Previously he served as assistant director of the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. He earned his doctorate from the University of Idaho and is the author of Flying Across America: The Airline Passenger Experience.
“The upcoming centennial of this illustrious airport is a fitting time to outline and share the history of Lambert–St. Louis International Airport. From the early days of grass and dirt runways, to the beauty of the copper-clad arches of the Minoru Yamasaki–designed terminal, Lambert has seen, and has been very much a part of, the development of civilian and military aviation in the United States. This book serves as a marvelous testament to a great airport.”
—Mark Nankivil, president, Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum
ISBN: 978-1-883982-89-8, $35, cloth