As It Was: Medford, Ore., Aviators Offer Early Flights from Gore Field
In 1919, three World War I aviators from Medford, Ore., Seely Hall, Floyd Hart, and Frank Farrell, formed an aviation corporation, the Medford Aeroplane, Co., and sold $100-shares to stockholders. Their goal was to sell rides to Rogue Valley residents.
Hall and Hart went to the Mather Field in Sacramento, Calif., in search of a plane. They found a surplus Curtiss “Jenny” biplane with a supposedly new engine. Hart listened to the engine and remarked that it “may fly.” After a few test flights, they purchased the airplane for $2,850 and unanimously voted to paint the name “Mayfly” on its tail.
The next day they returned to Gore Field on the outskirts of Medford. The 5-hour trip was long and dangerous, crossing the Siskiyous after stops at Chico, Redding, and Grenada for fuel, an engine check and lunch. Mayfly was the first civilian plane to make the trip.
Soon passenger flights got underway. A 15-minute flight cost $10, plus $1 for the war tax.
To make passengers feel more secure, newspaper articles about the Mayfly nicknamed it “Old Sturdy.”
Sources: Truwe, Ben. "Old Sturdy-Southern Oregon History." Southern Oregon Historical Society, Medford Mail Tribune, July 1919, truwe.sohs.org/files/oldsturdy.html. Accessed 12 Feb. 2018; Miller, Bill. "You reckon maybe she'll fly?" Mail Tribune, 18 Nov. 2012 [Medford, OR] , www.mailtribune.com/article/20121118/NEWS/211180330. Accessed 12 Feb. 2018; "Hall, Seely Vinton." Southern Oregon Historical Society, SOHS, sohs.pastperfectonline.com/byperson?keyword=Hall%2C+Seely+Vinton. Accessed 11 Feb. 2018.