Lindbergh First Night Flight, April 1923, Lake Village, Arkansas
This obelisk, which stands alongside highway 159 by the shores of Lake Chicot (pronounce that CHEEK-oh), marks the site of an event of immeasurable historical importance. Here's the story, paraphrased from the accompanying historical marker: In April of 1923, a not-yet-famous mail pilot named Charles Lindbergh develops engine trouble and makes an emergency landing on a golf course by the lakeside resort of Lake Village. That gray thing in the background on the left side of the photo is the foundation of the old clubhouse.

April, 1973 was the fiftieth anniversary of a celebrated event in the history of Lake Village...The first night flight of Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh.

In his book, “We”, published several years later, Lindbergh described his visit to Lake Village: “After circling Lake Village I landed in a field several miles from town. The nearest building was a clubhouse and soon the keeper and his family had arrived beside, the plane. They invited me to stay with them as long as I wished, but the keeper persistently, refused to accept a flight in return for his hospitality. I carried only a handful of passengers that afternoon. The flying territory around that part of the country was fairly good and there were a number of fields available for planes to land in. Consequently an airplane was no longer the drawing attraction that it was farther in the interior.

“I staked the plane down much earlier than usual and went over to the clubhouse.

“Evening came on with the clearness of a full moon and open sky. The landscape was illuminated with a soft yellow light; an ideal night for flying. I decided to see what the country looked like from the air at night and jokingly asked my host to accompany me. For some reason he had no fear of a night flight although I had been unable to persuade him to go up with me in the daytime. What his reaction would have been, had he known that I had never flown after dark before, is a matter of speculation.

“We untied the plane, removed the canvasses from engine and cockpit, and after a few minutes spent in warming up the motor, taxied down the field and took off for a moonlight flight down the Mississippi and over Lake Village.

“Later in the evening after the ship was again securely staked to the ground, and we were sitting quietly in the clubhouse, my host stated that he had never spent a more enjoyable quarter of hour in his life.”

It was some three years following his visit here that “The Lone Eagle” made his celebrated non-stop solo flight across the Atlantic from New York to Paris.

The clubhouse Lindbergh mentioned in his book is the home now owned by the Paul Steinle family on North Lake Shore Road. A monument placed there in 1934 by the Chicot Delphian Society still marks the spot of the flight. The “keeper” Lindbergh referred to was a Mr. Henry from Pine Bluff who operated the building as an inn. The building previously has been the clubhouse of the Lake Village County Club, which became a defunct organization a year or so after its establishment.


Reprinted from the Sesquicentennial Edition. © 1996, 1997, 1998 Sheila Farrell Brannon. Copying is permitted for noncommercial, educational use by individuals and libraries. This message must appear on all copied material.

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