Friday, February 4, 2011

Florida History: Merle Fogg Field - Fort Lauderdale's first aviator, first airport

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By Jane Feehan  

Fort Lauderdale’s first airport, Merle Fogg Field, opened on an abandoned golf course May 1, 1929 – a year after its namesake died in an air crash in West Palm Beach.

Several firsts are credited to Merle Fogg (1898-1928), Fort Lauderdale’s first aviator. He was the first licensed pilot in Maine, the first to fly a plane from Maine to Florida, the first to land  a plane on Andros Island and on New Providence Island (Nassau).

With his airplane, Fogg helped create a snapshot of Broward County during good and bad times.  His flights over the county provided a picture of possibilities during the land boom days of the early 1920s. After the hurricane of 1926, Fogg flew reporters over its aftermath, giving them an opportunity to capture the extent of  the storm’s destruction.

The Fort Lauderdale Naval Air Station opened at the site during World War II and today, Merle Fogg Field is the site of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Weidling, Philip J. , Burghard, August. Checkered Sunshine. Gainesville: University of Florida Press (1966).

Tags: Fort Lauderdale history, Fort Lauderdale's first aviator, Merle Fogg, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, film researcher

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