Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site
August 14, 2012
He was playing upstairs in the house when he heard an unusual, loud noise. He recognized the sound as that of an engine. He knew it wasn’t a car; Nor was it a boat . . . however, the noise was coming from the direction of the Mississippi River. He climbed out of the window and up onto the roof, and that is when, at age 9, the now-famed aviator Charles Lindbergh saw his first airplane.
Charles Lindbergh–often called Lucky Lindy or The Lone Eagle due to his success at completing the first successful solo flight across the Atlantic in his airplane, The Spirit of St. Louis–spent the summers of his boyhood years at the home his father built on the west bank of the Mississippi River in Little Falls, MN. In 1969, this house–the house from which Charles spotted his first airplane–was given to the Minnesota Historical Society and is now, together with the Museum and Interpretive Center, part of the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site.
Most of us are familiar with Charles Lindbergh the heroic aviator; however, when visiting The Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site, we are given the opportunity to see a more intimate picture of
Lindbergh’s boyhood life. Guided tours of Lindbergh’s boyhood home include stories of his boyhood and provide a glimpse into aspects of Lindbergh’s life that are not as well-known.
With over 90% of the home furnishings being original, it is easy to step back in time and imagine, with the help of tales sketched out by interpretive guides, Charles as a young child with an ever-shining glimmer of inspiration and curiosity in his eye.
We learn about Charles’ chores and his early interest in science and engineering. We hear anecdotes of Charles’ everyday boyhood life, shared by historic interpreters as they were recounted by Lindbergh himself. We understand how stories of WWI fighting pilots, such as Tam O’ the Scoots by Edgar Wallace, fueled Charles’ desire to become a fighter pilot. We explore the history of the farm that Charles ran as a teenager and realize Charles was not only interested in how things worked, but was also mechanically inclined.
As we discover Charles’ early passion for all things mechanical, we also come to realize that his remarkable, yet often-overshadowed involvement in designing the heart perfusion pump with Alexis Carrel in the 1930s seemed to Lindbergh a natural, logical mechanical solution. “He related a bad heart to a tractor with a bad part,” explained Melissa Peterson, Site Supervisor of the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site. “When a part is bad, you take it out and replace it with a new one.”
The museum and interpretive center at the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site tells the full story of Lindbergh’s life through photographic displays, artifacts, hand-on exhibits, and a 23-minute documentary that plays in the Museum’s lower-level theater. Visitors can recount the chronicles of Lindbergh’s life: triumphant tales, such as Charles’ heroic flight in the Spirit of St. Louis and his homecoming celebration; life-altering moments, such his marriage to Anne Morrow and the kidnapping and murder of their toddler son; and impassioned movements, such as his unpopular stance prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and his commendable involvement in conservation activities.
The museum is open and guided tours of Lindbergh’s childhood home are given each Thursday – Sunday, Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend.
Special events held each year at the Lindbergh House include:
- Living History Day – Twice each summer, The Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site holds a Living History Day, where you step back in time to 1906 and learn about Charles’ everyday boyhood life from costumed characters portraying Mrs. Lindbergh and others who helped on the Lindbergh Farm.
- Children’s Day – Children’s Day is held once each summer and, in addition to the home tours and exhibits, includes special games and activities for children and families that are inspired by Lindbergh’s life. Learn how play influenced Charles’ boyhood dreams and how it can also have an effect on your goals and accomplishments.
- Christmas with the Lindberghs: 1918 – Each year, the Saturday following Thanksgiving, you can step back to 1918 when Charles, a teenager, and his mother spent their first winter at the Lindbergh home in Little Falls. Costumed characters provide a home tour and accounts of why C.A. Lindbergh didn’t seek re-election, the end of World War I, as well as peoples’ hopes for what will come in the new year of 1919.
Watch for these events on the Brainerd.com Events Calendar.
Group and Educational Tours for groups of 10 or more are available year-round with advance notice. It is recommended that Group Tours are pre-arranged with a minimum notice of 2-weeks and can be arranged as much as a year in advance. Contact the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site at 320-616-5421 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements.
More information about the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site, including driving directions, admission rates dates of special events and hours of operation, is available on the Minnesota Historical Society website or by emailing email@example.com.