Thursday, October 13, 2016

On This Date in Minnesota History: October 13

October 13, 1920 – Winning the distinction of piloting into his home town, the first plane to be used in regular air mail service between the Twin Cities and Chicago, William Carroll, the only Minneapolis pilot in the air mail service, landed at the Speedway Field late this afternoon. The plane, a De Havilland with twin motors, is one of the type built for the Post Office department, to be used only on the Twin Cities-St. Louis line. Carroll served for three years in France with the Royal Flying Corps, which he joined in 1916.

De Havilland DH-4B twin engine mail plane1

Returning to Chicago by rail tomorrow, the Minneapolis pilot will bring back a second plane, in readiness for the start of regular air mail service next Monday. He will be accompanied on his return trip by a second pilot, and two other pilots will remain in Chicago. At a conference sometime this week, C. F. Egge, superintendent of air mail, Postmaster Purdy, H. M. Garner and W. H. Brooks will discuss with Minneapolis jobbers, bankers and grain men the mail schedule best suited to their needs.

Once started, the service will continue without interruption. Two reserve pilots and three reserve planes have been provided to insure against delay by accident. The flying distance of 360 miles between the Twin Cities and Chicago will take from four to five hours.


Originally a concrete race track, the 160 acres of land inside the track became Speedway Field. It was first used as an airfield in 1920, and eventually grew into the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Map showing the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport with the original boundaries of the Twin Cities Speedway race track/Speedway Field (the center square) that preceded it.2

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Minneapolis Aviator Arrives With First Plane for Air Mail. William Carroll Pilots Twin-Motored De Haviland to Speedway Field.”; October 14, 1920; p. 1.




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