Throwback Thursday | First Passenger Air Service in America

Guests of South Pasadena’s Raymond Hotel enjoy flights over downtown Los Angeles

PHOTO: Pasadena Museum of History | News | Guests of the Raymond Hotel depart from the hanger grounds, South Pasadena (1913)

Roy Knabenshue established the first passenger air service in America by taking guests of the Raymond Hotel in his “Knabenshue Airship” on regular flights over parts of the San Gabriel Valley and downtown Los Angeles.

PHOTO: R.W. Flan Collection | News | Roy Knabenshue in his flight-ready gear (1913)

The 13-passenger dirigible made daily aerial tours for $25 per passenger.

The hotel’s proprietor, Walter Raymond, encouraged Roy’s pioneering venture, helping him to build his hanger nearby at the corner of Glenarm Street and Marengo Avenue.

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Walter Raymond’s son Arthur credits Roy for his lifelong passion for air travel, which led him to design such classic aircraft as the DC-3 and DC-8.

Throwback Thursday is written and produced by Rick Thomas


Author Rick Thomas is the former museum curator and vice-chair of education for the South Pasadena Preservation Foundation. He served on the South Pasadena Natural Resources Commission, helping to maintain a strict policy protecting the city’s great old-growth trees. Using touchstone photographs from his own collection—one of the San Gabriel Valley’s largest accumulations of historical images and artifacts—as well as national, state, and local historical archives, Thomas provides a window to his city’s past and an understanding of why its preservation is so important.