Side A: Here, on September 6, 1918, Bryan’s Air Mail Field began operations as one of Ohio’s first official airfields with the arrival of a survey flight to establish air mail service between New York and Chicago. Scheduled service began on July 1, 1919, and stretched west to San Francisco on September 8, 1920, completing the 2,666 mile U.S transcontinental air mail route. Flying the Curtiss JN-4H “Jenny,” R-4, Standard JR-1B, and later, the De Havilland DH-4, aviators pioneered cross continental flight in open cockpit biplanes without radios or electronic navigational aids and reduced coast to coast mail delivery from 87 hours by rail to 33 hours by air.
Side B: Air Mail Field was relocated 1.5 miles north of this site on July 1, 1924, in preparation for overnight mail service and the first scheduled night flights through Bryan, July 1, 1925. By May 1926, more efficient air mail planes began to overfly Bryan and Air Mail Field was reduced to serving as an emergency landing site. On September 1, 1927, the Post Office Department relinquished control of the transcontinental route to private contractors and Bryan’s role in air mail service officially ended. Air Mail Field and the aeropost flights became a part of aviation’s heritage, having performed vital roles in the advancement of air commerce as well as charting a course for the future of global air transportation.
Sponsors: Ohio Bicentennial Commission, The Longaberger Company, Miller Aviation Heritage Fund, and The Ohio Historical Society