Calling all Space Cadets: a new exhibit at St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) features vintage space-inspired toys on loan from the Space Museum in Bonne Terre, Missouri. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll see if you stop by STL Terminal 1, plus a fun video from ‘Living St. Louis’ all about the museum and its creator.
Born in 1875, Albert Lambert was an avid balloonist and an accomplished golfer who competed in the 1900 and 1904 summer Olympics. And, lucky for us, he was also an aviation enthusiast who, after taking a ride in a plane piloted by Orville Wright, took flying lessons from the Wright Brothers’ company. In 1911, Lambert became the first licensed pilot in St. Louis.
In 1920, Lambert and the Missouri Aeronautical Society leased farmland to serve as an airfield for St. Louis. And it was Lambert, whose family owned the pharmaceutical company that made Listerine, who paid to have the land developed as an airfield. In 1925, when the lease ran out, Lambert purchased the airfield property. He sold it in 1928 to the city of St. Louis, at cost.
The new mural, “Dream Beyond the Clouds,” was designed by Martin Donlin. And in the video, below, Donlin describes the artistic inspiration for the mural design, the ‘making-of’ the mural, and what he learned about the airport’s namesake.
You’ll want to see the mural up close. Look for it in Terminal One, across from entry door 4.
Happy Friday. We’re ending the week here at Stuck at The Airport with some tidbits that caught our attention, like this #TBT – “Throwback Thursday” – tweet from O’Hare International Airport
And this #TBT tweet from Houston’s Hobby Airport (HOU)
All month long, we’re been paying attention to – and learning from – the tweets from St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) highlighting the people featured on the airport’s Black Americans in Flight mural.
We’re sad we missed seeing this exhibit at Orlando International Airport (MCO).
And we’re impressed that Delta’s Flight Museum is being used as a mass vaccination site in Georgia.
5 Things We Love About St. Louis Lambert International Airport – STL
1. The Historic STL Terminal
In 1956, famed Japanese-American architect Minoru Yamasaki’s iconic arched terminal opened at Lambert.
Yamasaki also designed the original World Trade Center in New York City and many other iconic buildings.
The signature terminal at STL was originally built as a multi-level facility with a grand ticketing hall topped with three 30-ft high domed, concrete vaults.
The STL terminal expanded in 1965 with a fourth identical dome.
That original mid-century design has been credited with influencing the designs for other iconic terminals, including the TWA Terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York (now the TWA Hotel) and Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., both designed by Eero Saarinen.
2. The art collection at STL
St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) has an art museum feel, with ten major works on temporary or permanent display in both terminals.
One of the most notable art pieces at STL is Zhu Wei’s China China bronze statue (above), on loan from the Gateway Foundation.
Here’s a sampling of some of the other artwork you’ll find at STL in the Lambert Gallery (in Terminal 1) and on Concourses A and C.
The 5-panel mural is eight feet tall and 51 feet long. It pays tribute to African-American achievements in aviation from 1917 onward.
You’ll find it on the lower level of Terminal 1, outside of security, near Exit 11.
4. STL’s Red Rocking Chairs
Rocking chairs are one of the calming amenities travelers most enjoy when they’re stuck at the airport.
At some airports, the rockers are white or plain brown. Elsewhere, they’re painted by artists and each is different.
At STL Airport the rocking chairs are bright red and emblazoned with the STL logo.
Is it the cardinal red of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team? Maybe. But these rockers are hard to miss and clearly very, very comfortable.
5. The bonus views
In the 1960s, Lambert International Airport was the home to a McDonnell Douglas facility that built the Gemini space capsule.
Today, there’s a Boeing plant on the STL property that builds the U.S. Air Force’s F-15 Hornet jet fighter, which can reach a maximum speed of Mach 2.5. The plant also produces the T-7 Air Force trainer jet and the Navy’s MQ-25 refueling drone.
Passengers landing at STL are sometimes treated to the sight of a military or Boeing test pilot making a vertical ascent.
Even more thing we love at STL Airport
Here are two extra bonus items we love at STL Airport: Vending Machines for Ted Drewes Ice Cream and the Glatz Monocoupe.
Ted Drewes Ice Cream Machines at STL
If you live in St. Louis – or have visited – you’re probably a fan of Ted Drewes frozen custard. Lucky thing, then, that there are four Ted Drewes vending machines at STL airport. Two are in the Southwest Airlines Terminal 2 near Gates E10 and E20. Two other machines are in the historic Terminal 1, by Gate A15 and Gate C15.
In STL Terminal 2 you’ll find a Monocoupe 110 Special on display.
The “Glatz” Monocoupe, as it is known, is on loan from the Missouri Historical Society and was manufactured by the Mono Aircraft Corporation of Moline, Illinois in March 1931. The plane has been on display at STL since 1998.
Did we miss one of your favorite features or amenities at STL? Be sure to leave a note in the comments section below. And let us know where our “5 Things We Love About …” series should land next.
Make sure to see this historic mural at STL Airport
August 13, 2020 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the dedication ceremony unveiling the Black Americans In Flight mural that now hangs in Terminal One (T1) at St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL).
The five-panel mural is eight feet tall and 51 feet long. It pays tribute to African-American Achievements in Aviation from 1917 onward.
Included in the historic mural are 75 portraits, 18 aircraft, five unit patches, and one spacecraft.
In 1986 the Committee for the Aviation Mural Project Success (CAMPS) commissioned St. Louis artist Spencer Taylor to create the mural.
The initial assignment was to honor St. Louis African-American pilots that flew in World War II, also known as Tuskegee Airmen. But Taylor worked with another local artist, Solomon Thurman, and expanded the mural to include the much broader story of African-Americans in aviation and the history they made.
Notable people featured in the mural
A few of the notable people you can spot in the mural include:
Capt. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. On September 2, 1941, David became the first African-American to solo an aircraft as an officer of the U.S. Army Air Corp.
Capt. Wendell O. Pruitt. A St. Louis native, Pruitt was one-half of the famed “Gruesome Twosome.” Capt. Pruitt along and Capt. Lee Archer are considered the most successful pair of Tuskegee pilots in terms of air victories. Both men were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Capt. Marcella A. Hayes. Hayes is the first African-American woman to complete U.S. Army pilot training in 1979. Following her training, she became an Army helicopter pilot.
Capt. Edward J. Dwight, Jr. He is the first African-American candidate for NASA’s space program.
Ronald E. McNair, Ph.D. McNair was a specialist aboard the fatal launch of the Challenger space shuttle in January of 1986.
Mae C. Jemison, M.D. She is the first African-American female astronaut.
In 2017, STL held an event to commemorate the 27th anniversary of the mural’s installation. COVID-19 means no formal ceremony or event can take place now, for the 30th anniversary.