Rawson Custom Woodworks,LLC Blog Article: "How One Man from Rockford, Illinois Dared to Beat Charles Lindbergh"
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August 14, 2013

How One Man from Rockford, Illinois Dared to Beat Charles Lindbergh

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Rockford, Illinois is our hometown. Rockford is were Rawson Custom Woodworks, LLC was born and built. We love our city, and we are proud of its rich history.

Rockford has been the home of many unique and inspiring individuals. One of the great stories from Rockford's past is the story of Col. Bert Hassel and the Greater Rockford airplane.

On May 22, 1927, Charles Lindbergh captivated the spirit of our nation when he landed in Paris, France thus completing the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. On that day, Lindbergh inspired the spirit of adventure in every American, and one person he greatly inspired was Bert Hassel.

Inspired by Lindbergh's historic flight, Hassel set out to carve his own name into history books. Hassel set out to conduct the first flight from Rockford, Illinois to Stockholm, Sweden by use of the Arctic Circle (Cunningham).

For years, Rockford, Illinois had become the home of thousands of Swedish immigrants. For the early part of the 20th century, the Swedish population out grew all other ethnic groups. So Hassel's flight plan to Stockholm had a specific and special significance for the citizens of Rockford (Cunningham).

On July 28, 1928, Hassel took to the skies from Rockford's Machesney Field airport. Thousands of people came out to watch this historic flight. However, their enthusiasm was dismayed. After just minuets of flight time, Hassel and the Greater Rockford airplane crashed into a cornfield just outside of town (Cunningham).

But, not discourage by the anticlimactic first run, Hassel took flight again weeks later on August 16, 1928. This time the flight appeared to be a success. The plane made it to the first refueling stop in Cochrane, Ontario. However, the plane never made it its second stop at Mount Evens, Greenland (Cunningham).

After days of searching through the Arctic tundra when the plane never reached its next destination, Hassel and his copilot were found. Although technically it was an unsuccessful flight, Hassel still became famous. The story of his rescue was broadcast around the world, and President Calvin Coolridge even invited Hassel to the White House (Cunningham).

One of the most interesting aspects of this story is the actual plane, The Greater Rockford. Hassel was rescued from the Arctic but his plane was not. However, years later, explorers went back to the Greenland tundra and were able to actually find, recover, and restore Hassel's plane. Today, this historic and captivating plane is on display at Rockford, Illinois' Midway Museum (Cunningham).

For more information about Midway Museum in Rockford, Illinois, here is a link to their home page:


Yes, Rawson Custom Woodworks, LLC is proud of our city's rich history, proud of the many inspiring people that have shaped our community through out the years, and we are proud to give back to our city. We are proud to contribute to its unfolding history.

Works Cited

Cunningham, Pat. Rockford: Big Town, Little City. Rockford Newspaper, Inc: Rockford, Illinois, 2000. Print.

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