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Duluth Aviation Institute
preserving yesterday, inspiring today, exploring tomorrow
DULUTH ONE

DULUTH TO THE MOON
Manís First Steps on the Moon
Robert Gilruth leads the nation and the world 
to the first lunar landing.

On the hillside of Duluth resided a young boy whose dreams and goals would make a lasting impression on the nation and the world. "I was going to build something. I built some boats but I thought the airplane was much more fascinating." Robert Gilruth

Born in Nashwauk to Henry and Francis Gilruth on October 8, 1913, Robert moved to Duluth when he was just nine. The family lived in a modest home at 701 North 20th Avenue East until 1956. His maternal grandfather, a mining captain, grandmother, aunt and uncle lived just two blocks away.

"In the small sunroom adjoining the three bedrooms upstairs, Bob used to study and tinker with his planes and crystal radios. The view from there spans neat yards and tree-lined streets... Itís a wonderful spot for a boy to dream and fashion his goals for the future. Reading and quiet reflection, the kind that sharpens thoughts and is not mere daydreaming, always played an important part in the familyís home life." Duluth News Tribune, October 13, 1962


"I was going to build something. 
I built some boats but I thought the airplane 
was much more fascinating."
Robert Gilruth


The son of educators, his father was the principal of Morgan Park High School and his mother was a substitute teacher primarily in high school math and home economics. A close family, the Gilruths nurtured their young son, guiding and encouraging him to pursue his ideas and experiments.

"I started building model airplanes before the age of balsa wood and piano wire, Japanese tissue and ambroid. When the American Boy magazine came out with those things, that was a revolution but I learned about that technology from the Duluth News Tribune, which was our local paper. The newspaper had imported a man from Chicago who was a model airplane builder, champion, to teach a class of Duluth boys who might want to attend. This is how I got sort of a giant step into that business." Gilruth, NASA Interview 1986

Robert went to school at the Duluth Normal School, a training school for teachers, East Junior High School, and Duluth Central High School, graduating in 1931. He continued his education at Duluth Junior College, on the top floor of Denfeld High School and graduated in 1933 with "Aís" in all courses dealing with aeronautics, chemistry and mathematics. The depression had settled on the nation however, Gilruth chose to pursue his education at the University of Minnesota. He received his masters in aerospace engineering in 1936.    

Continued

LARK OF DULUTH

BUILDING THE LARK

GODFATHER TO
THE ASTRONAUTS

ABOUT US

MEMBERSHIP

PATH TO AVIATION
SKY HARBOR
AIRPORT BIRTHDAY


SPACE FLIGHT
LESSON PLAN

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Duluth 1920's
MNHS

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