(from the Introduction)

Most people today consider Chicago to be an “aviation capital” only in its demonstrated ability to thoroughly disrupt air travel throughout the nation. Many who are older or have an interest in Chicago history realize that Municipal/Midway Airport was the nation’s aviation crossroads for decades.

When one thinks of U.S. aviation centers, cities such as Dayton OH, Hammondsport NY, Seattle WA, and Wichita KS come to mind, not Chicago. But in fact, Chicago arguably surpassed all these cities in the early decades of the 20th century. As an article about aviation in the September 18, 1910 issue of the Chicago Tribune proclaimed:

It is doubtful if there is any city on the continent which can show a greater activity and a wider growth of interest in aviation than Chicago. It is the outcropping in a new field of the same old celebrated “Chicago spirit” which thrives, as it does under no other conditions, when encountering opposition and obstacle.[1]

To support this bold claim, we have only to look at the facts:

Chicago’s influence spread far beyond the city.

Chicago’s aviation impact is undeniable and it was not all hype when in 1929, this aviation school ad described Chicago as one of the school’s advantages:

Only Greer Students have the advantage that Chicago, “the Air Capital of the United States,” can give them – the world-famous Municipal Airport about which are grouped the hangars of every famous transport company East and Mid-West – endless varieties of industries are here both in the field of Aviation and out of it. Here, if anywhere, are the greatest opportunities for the graduate.[2]

[1]          Chicagology (online) “Aeronautical Center Introduction - Chicago's Aviation Pioneers”; accessed 2/1/2018;

[2]        Aeronautics: For Sportsman, Business Man and Pilot; Chicago: Aeronautical Publications, Inc.

"Continued Leadership after 27 Years of Success; Greer College (Advertisement)," September 1929, p. 77, accessed 9/30/2017.