Charles Lindbergh Crash

Charles Lindbergh's crashed planeIn the summer of 1923, an obscure pilot named Charles Lindbergh was in route from southern Minnesota to see his father campaigning in Shakopee. But as the 21-year-old Lindbergh approached his landing site, he encountered a thunderstorm so severe he was unable to descend. He continued on until engine failure forced him to land in a swampy area near Savage. The soft ground tipped the nose of his newly purchased World War I Curtis Jenny forward, cracking the propeller.

The uninjured aviator cut himself free from the wreckage. After reviewing the damage, he headed toward a nearby farmhouse for help. He was met by a farmer who had seen the plane crash. Two boys had also witnessed the accident and spread the news that a plane had crashed in Savage. Before long, the townspeople had gathered to see the felled plane on the site now occupied by Port Cargill. With their help, Lindbergh pulled the plane onto solid ground. The broken propeller, however, kept him from going much further. For three days Lindbergh remained in Savage as he waited for a replacement propeller to arrive from his hometown of Little Falls. He stayed in the Savage depot, and was kept company by depot agent and mayor Charles F. McCarthy.

Four years later, Savage's unexpected guest made world history by completing the first nonstop transatlantic flight from New York to Paris. In the months that followed, Lindbergh toured the United States with his airplane, Spirit of St. Louis. Among his stops were the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Before he left the area, however, Lindbergh made a special pass over Savage to acknowledge the hospitality and friendship extended to him a few years earlier. McCarthy, the man who hosted Lindbergh during his short stay in Savage, witnessed the return visit, telling others that the aviator had swooped down on our town at 12:15 circling the village three or four times, coming down to scarcely more than 100 feet.

In the summer of 1989, Lindbergh's celebration U.S. tour was re-enacted by Capt. John T. Race. Although only those cities that Lindbergh had actually landed in were included on the re-enactment tour, former resident and successful entrepreneur Roman F. Arnoldy saw to it that the pilot flew over Savage just as Lindbergh had done 62 years earlier. Arnoldy's interest stemmed from his witnessing the Lindbergh crash in Savage. In appreciation for Arnoldy's efforts to preserve and celebrate local history, Arnoldy was commended for outstanding citizenship by the City Council on August 10, 1989.