July 24, 1927: Two months after his pioneering solo trans-Atlantic flight in the Spirit of St. Louis, aviator Charles Lindbergh lands the same plane in Old Orchard Beach while on a goodwill tour.

His original landing site – Portland’s new airfield in Scarborough – is fogbound, so he uses Old Orchard Beach instead.

“You see, we cannot land in fog,” the world-famous aviator later tells about 25,000 people gathered in Portland’s Deering Oaks to hear him advocate for increased use of air mail and commercial aviation.

Harry Jones, operator of a flying service in Old Orchard Beach from 1919 to 1930, points something out to Charles Lindbergh, center right with a hand in his pocket, in July 1927. On the right is a reporter from the New York Daily Mirror, and on the left is a local police officer.

Lindbergh’s visit also draws thousands of people to the cordoned-off Scarborough airfield. Looking into the mist expectantly, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Spirit of St. Louis landing, they are surprised to see Lindberg chauffeured up to the enclosure that was set aside for the plane. He is riding in the car of the state highway police chief, who brings him there from Old Orchard Beach.

Lindbergh also is the feature attraction of a parade that winds its way through downtown Portland. That evening, 700 people attend a banquet given at Portland’s Eastland Hotel in Lindbergh’s honor, with hundreds more trying unsuccessfully to storm the doors outside.

Presented by:

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at islandportpress.com. To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at: [email protected]

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