The Omlie Tower

The Omlie Tower (HM1OP3)

Location: Memphis, TN 38116 Shelby County
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Country: United States of America
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N 35° 3.032', W 89° 58.933'

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Vernon Cleophas Omlie (1895-1936) Phebe Fairgrave Omlie (1902-1975)

Vernon Omlie, a flight instructor during World War I, and Phoebe Fairgrave began barnstorming in the Midwest in 1921. They landed in Memphis a year later, married and opened the first commercial aviation company in Memphis, Mid-South Airways, Inc. offered charters, cargo transport, aerial photography, crop dusting, and flight training. The Onlies taught hundreds to fly, including the author William Faulkner and his brothers. The Omlies and the Memphis Aero Club leased a field at Woodstock and established the first airport in the Memphis area, Armstrong Field, in 1927, Mid-South Airways offered $60 roundtrip flights to Chicago. Charles Lindbergh landed at Armstrong Field on his nationwide tour after flying the Atlantic.

When Memphis Municipal Airport opened in June 1929, Mid-South Airways relocated to the new facility, part of the Curtis-Wright complex, with Capt. Omlie as chied pilot and operations manager. Vernon Omlie continued in that capacity until his death in a plane crash in St. Louis in 1936.

Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie, the first woman to obtain both a transport and a mechanics license was a champion air racer and the first woman to hold an aviation post in the U.S. federal government, a position she held for twenty years (1933-1952). She died in 1975

In honor of these aviation pioneers, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation in June 1982 designating the control tower at Memphis International Airport "The Omlie Tower."
HM NumberHM1OP3
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, October 20th, 2015 at 5:01am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 227993 N 3882714
Decimal Degrees35.05053333, -89.98221667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 35° 3.032', W 89° 58.933'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds35° 3' 1.92" N, 89° 58' 55.98" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)901
Closest Postal AddressAt or near Jim McGehee Pkwy, Memphis TN 38116, US
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