Baltimore County Now
Debi Wynn, Director of Education
Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum
An airplane flying overhead usually goes without notice these days. The “wow” factor of man in flight was far different decades ago. Baltimore County’s aviation and space history starts in 1910, and includes appearances by Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, Glenn L. Martin, and astronaut Tom Jones.
Decades ago, airfields dotted the Baltimore County countryside with runways for recreational use. Air shows provided inspiration for younger attendees and awe for older folks. Traveling on a passenger plane in the 1950s and 60s was a major event, with folks dressing up to board their flight, even as Americans wondered which country would win the “space race.”
Seeing his first airplane in 1910
One of Baltimore County’s earliest aviation ventures was in a Halethorpe field in 1910, a time when most folks had never seen an airplane fly. Here, the Aero Club of Maryland held one of the first international air competitions in the United States, with $50,000 in prize money attracting pilots from all over the world for competitions of speed, altitude, endurance, bomb dropping, and cross country. Thirteen year old Baltimorean Henry Rinn attended. Rinn looked back years later to share his recollections. “It was really overwhelming to me. I can’t quite explain my reaction to seeing these planes go down the runway and up into the air.” One of the flights with pilot Hubert Latham took off from Halethorpe field and flew across the city.
Earhart and Lindbergh touch down in Dundalk
Famed pilots Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh landed at Dundalk Flying Field, Baltimore’s first major airfield. In the 1920’s, Dundalk Flying Field was the site of an air show sponsored by the American Flying Club. The site was renamed Logan Field to honor Pilot Lt. Patrick Logan, who suffered fatal injuries during a flight at the air show. The Maryland National Guard’s first flying unit was stationed at Logan, air mail service for Baltimore began at the field, and Baltimore’s first scheduled passenger flights took off here in 1930.
The airfield that launched a NASA career
While the Halethorpe, Woodlawn, Pikesville, Dundalk and Perry Hall air fields are long forgotten landings and take offs, one 20th century small airfield remains. In 1943, what is now called Essex Skypark was built in Back River, serving at one time as the only U.S. civilian base for seaplanes.
Now-retired astronaut and Baltimore County native Tom Jones took his first flight from Essex Skypark, launching a career that took him on four space shuttle missions, including three spacewalks.
Thanks to a 99-year lease with Baltimore County, the Essex Skypark Association continues operation and management of the general aviation airport, offering special events that introduce new generations to flying.
More local airfield snapshots
Perry Hall/White Marsh residents may not realize that land once used for flying is now housing and commercial development. Quinn Airport, built in the 1960s was a 60 acre general aviation airport on Forge Hill Road that operated as Baltimore Airpark until 2001.
In 1925, Bay Shore Park was the location for the Schneider Trophy Race, an international hydroplane contest won by U.S. Army Lt. James H. Doolittle.
In Woodlawn, Oliver Rutherford offered airplane rides and pilot training from his Rutherford Field starting in 1929. The site continued as a general aviation airfield until 1965. Pikesville was the location of Service Field, a 46 acre commercial airport from 1931 to 1935.
Baltimore Municipal Airport’s first flights in 1938 were from a seaplane ramp, where Martin and Boeing Clippers offered flights to and from Europe and Bermuda. As Harbor Field, the airport shared city and county boundaries and was served by three airlines. With the opening of Friendship Airport in the 1950s, Harbor Field lost its commercial airline traffic, but continued operation as a general aviation airport and Air Guard base until 1960.
Onward and upward
From the 1910 air show to today, over 110 years of flying feats throughout Baltimore County have amazed young and old, from Henry Rimm’s memories of seeing his first airplane to future-astronaut Tom Jones’s first flight at Essex Skypark to young visitors being mesmerized as they get into a pilot’s seat on Open Cockpit Day at the Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum.
The thrill of flight can inspire the next generation of Baltimore County pilots and the next inventive minds who, like Glenn L. Martin, will design the future of aviation. With the tools and resources available to today’s pilots and engineers, this next century should unveil incredibly exciting adventures in flight.
The Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum shares Martin and Maryland aviation stories with visitors of all ages. The museum is located at Martin State Airport, with historic aircraft on view nearby at Strawberry Point.
(References: Maryland Aloft, Essex Skypark Association, Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum)
Baltimore County Police Sergeant Pat Stonko, Burglary Unit
The blog title sums up what some criminals think about this time of year. There are some things to think about whether you’re on your way to the ocean or staying at home.
- Burglars are opportunists and look for the easiest way in. Unlocked doors and windows make life simple for a burglar. If you can, resist the temptation to leave windows ajar at night, or when you go out during the day when the weather gets hot. It’s easy to pry a window open if given a little wiggle room at the bottom of the window.
- You can’t always stop burglars, but you can deter them by making it difficult to enter your home.
- Sheds and garages are targeted more in the summer months. They often have bicycles and lawn equipment inside. Heavy duty locks on sheds slow down a criminal and may deter him altogether.
- Have a family member or trusted neighbor pick up your mail and all other deliveries. Piles of mail in the mailbox are clues to your absence.
- Going away? The world can wait to see your vacation pictures until you get home.
- Share memorable moments with family and friends through texts or emails. Steer clear of social media when you’re on the road.
- Use location spotters on smart phones with caution. The GPS tells your friends and family where you are. The spotter is also a helpful tool for a burglar. He can estimate how long he has to steal your valuables before you arrive home.
- There are people we inadvertently tell that we are we going away: the bank cashier, the cashier at the store, the person at the doctor’s office. We are so excited at the prospect of a vacation, we need to share it. Be careful sharing your plans with people you don’t know.
- If possible, check your credit cards and bank cards while you’re away. This will help you guard against credit card or identity theft while you’re having fun.
- Check your smoke, fire and carbon monoxide detectors before you leave for vacation or that quick, one day get-away. If a fire breaks out, the alarm could save your home and maybe a neighbor’s home as well.
Have a nice summer, have a great vacation and when driving, be sure to buckle up.
Baltimore County Tourism & Promotion
Whether you prefer classical in the park, folk along your local main street, some smooth jazz at a winery or vineyard, or rockin’ riffs at a raucous festival; there is something for everyone in Baltimore County with more than 150 concerts taking place this summer. Best of all, many of them are free and kid-friendly, so there is no need shell out for the babysitter.
With so much going on there is no excuse to spend a weekend evening at home watching Netflix (the new episodes of Orange is the New Black will still be there when you get home). Those winter doldrums will be back around before you know it, and you’ll be glad you spent your summer afternoons and evenings with some great music!
Here is a complete list of outdoor music and dance concerts throughout the summer.