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Fort Worth Flashback: Shenandoah one of four Navy airships

Posted Oct. 10, 2011

111010_flashbackUSSShenandoah

Sure, we see a blimp in the Fort Worth skies during major sporting events, but those blimps are shrimps compared to the USS Shenandoah, which made its way through our city in the 1920s.

The Shenandoah was a rigid airship based on the design of a German World War I high-altitude bomber that was forced down intact in France in October 1917. The captured airship was carefully studied by the Allies.

Shenandoah made one of its most impressive flights in October 1924 when the ship made a difficult 19-day journey across the country from New Jersey to San Diego, via Forth Worth. It then traveled up the west coast to Seattle and back to San Diego before returning to Lakehurst via Fort Worth.
On Sept. 3, 1925, on its 57th flight, Shenandoah crashed in a storm over Ohio, killing its mechanics.

2011 marks the 100th anniversary of powered flight in Fort Worth. All year the North Texas Aviation Centennial Committee and other groups have been celebrating various aspects of our rich aviation heritage.

One of this month’s activities is a scavenger hunt with a twist. Instead of going door to door for items, contestants will travel around Fort Worth and North Texas to visit sites that have connections to our aviation history.

Learn more about the scavenger hunt on the Veterans Memorial Air Park website or visit the group’s Facebook page.

The Fort Worth Library has approximately 10,000 items pertaining to the history of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. These items include city and county government documents, newspapers, directories, cemetery association records, maps as well as popular and scholarly books written by local authors or about local subjects. To learn more, call 817-392-7740 or email the Genealogy, History and Archives Section.

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