Early Aviation Scrapbook of Marr Field

Marr Field Scrapbook

Chattanooga’s first commercial airfield, Marr Field, was dedicated in 1919 and was located between the railroad and Dodson Avenue north of Glass Street in East Chattanooga.

Read more about Marr Field and this Scrapbook at Chattanoogan.com

Scrapbook donated by Archer Di Peppe

...who owned an Antique shop in downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia for 15 years.

“It probably came in a box of things or sometime when I bought out an attic or basement full of things. I just remember setting it aside and hanging on to it. I came upon it recently when my wife and I were going through boxes. Somebody cared a great deal about the airport and the news clippings, and the original photographs are very interesting.”
Ben King (left) John Lovell (right)

Benjamin King
Aviation Promoter and Scrapbooker

The content of this scrapbook is a detailed view into its last years in operation when a promoter from Washington D.C., Benjamin King, leased it for one year at $500. The contract specified that King would commit to ‘the full development of aviation as rapidly as conditions will justify.’ He kept a scrapbook and documented his time in Chattanooga.

King resided at the Hotel Patten, where no doubt he quickly made the acquaintance of John E. Lovell, who became manager there in 1918.

Lovell was a dynamic individual who charismatically guided practically every important civic project in Chattanooga in the 25 years preceding his death in 1947.

READ MORE about John Lovell

Cure for deafness?

Handwritten letter from a Mrs. W. T. Moore of Cleveland, TN addressed to Walter Marr asking if a ‘safe a pilot as possible’ would take her 4 year-old deaf son (Tom Moore) up in a plane – her friends having told her this might restore his hearing. I don’t know if that trip was taken, but we do know he remained deaf. When posted on the Cleveland TN History Page on Facebook, many people have great memories of Tom Moore, who operated a Jewelry store in Cleveland for many years.

Good Stunt

Handwritten note on a Hotel Patten envelope:
Parachute with golf ball & note for Mr. Lovell was dropped on the course at the country club Feb 4th. By B.K.

Ben – Good stunt. It fell in front of me and my caddie got it. J E L


First Flights to ATL

Pilot Eugene Fricks telegraphed Ben King of a successful 1 hour, fifteen minute trip from Marr Field to Atlanta. King took the same flight the next day – sending a telegraph to his wife upon arrival.

Airway passenger service between Atlanta and Chattanooga was formally inaugurated May 1st, 1928.

Birth of Air Mail

In the mid-1920s, Contract Air Mail (CAM) routes were assigned by the U.S. Postal Service to domestic commercial air carriers to carry mail between U.S. cities.

By transferring airmail operations to private companies, the government effectively would help create the commercial aviation industry. 'CAM-30' was awarded to Interstate Airlines. IA was formed in June 1928 to operate the mail route between Chicago IL and Atlanta GA.
Chattanooga was a stop along this route.


Walter L. Marr

Walter Lorenzo Marr (1865-1941) was an innovative engineer who played an unheralded but crucial part in the development of the early auto industry and General Motors. Walter worked with David Buick, Billy Durant, Louis Chevrolet and a host of other early automotive pioneers. Marr was involved in early aircraft design and patented an ‘Aeroplane stabilizer' in 1910.

Years later he chose to escape the long hours and stress-filled auto industry – eventually moving his family to the then new resort development of Signal Mountain, TN. At first, in a cottage near the inn that his wife named "It Suits Me". Later, Marr built a palatial home on the mountain called Marrcrest. Both residences remain today.

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