I have occasionally wondered how Charles Lindbergh’s The Spirit of St. Louis received its name. A natural first reaction was that it had something to do with the city in Missouri. Lindbergh, however was not from there – he was born in Detroit. The airplane was manufactured by Ryan aircraft in San Diego. It’s true that when he flew the plane from its manufacturer to New York, the departure point for his non-stop flight to Paris, he stopped on at St. Louis on they way, but that city was about midpoint across the U.S. and a natural stoppin gpoint. Once, someone, perhaps imbued with more piety than knowledge, suggested to me that because Lindbergh was flying to Paris, he named the airplane after France’s sainted 13th Century monarch, Louis IX. As discovering this bit of information was not particularly important, I let this quest lapse.
As it turns out, my first impression, as it often is, was correct. The Spirit was named for the city on the Mississippi because its Chamber of Commerce contributed financially to Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic. Wonder of wonders, organization of private businesses and entrepreneurs, and not the government, were responsible for this sea-changing (pun intended) feat.
Chris Mead, whose brother Walter Russell Mead, the Bard College professor and American Interest edition I quote and reference occasionally, is a VP of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. He is writing a history of the Chambers, believing that not enough has been said about the local folk who did much of the heavy lifting on main street.
So much heavy lifting that Chambers were responsible for, among other things, the downfall of a well known gangster and one of the defining events of 1960s American flower power. For more, please see this link..