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

Lark O' the Lake Festival
July 12-14, 2013 Sky Harbor Airport Come for Fun!

THE LARK OF DULUTH
The World's First Airliner
1913-1914
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Mankind’s first inspirations of flight came while watching birds soar into the blue and white sky. In 1913, one of Duluth’s most honored citizens, Julius Barnes, entrepreneur, business leader, and philanthropist, wanted to fly.

"It was in 1913, before World War I, I brought to Duluth from St. Louis a biplane flying boat which we christened The Lark of Duluth. There were no flying fields in the country so a water surface was necessary and we stationed it at the Boat Club on Minnesota Point."  Julius Barnes, 1954  


"The Lark of Duluth is painted green and is spanned 
by 35 feet of white wings." 
Duluth News Tribune, July 4, 1913


As the president of the Duluth Boat Club, Barnes wanted to introduce his beloved city to aviation. A celebration of flight was planned.

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The celebration was named The Lark O’ the Lake - Six Weekend Carnivals - Come for Fun. Air Ship Flights, Band Concerts, Open Air Dancing, Motor Boat Racing, Rowing Regattas, Canoe Contests, Sailing Races, Water Baseball, Log Rolling, Comic Water Clowns. June 27-28, July 4-5, July 11-12, July 18-19, July 25-26, August 1-2. The whole city prepared for a summer season of fun. Posters, brochures, cartoons, fireworks, and trophies were all part of the celebration.

"The Lark of Duluth is painted green and is spanned by 35 feet of white wings. Under the upper plane, where the world as it watches may read, is printed the name of the boat, so Duluth will receive enviable advertising from the flight." Duluth News Tribune, July 4, 1913

The hull of the Benoist (BEN-wah) flying boat was made of three layers of spruce with fabric between each layer. The Roberts engine and a pusher propeller gave the aircraft a top speed of 64 mph. The wings were of linen stretched over spruce spars. The engine was placed in the hull and the pusher propeller required a chain drive.

"With the ship I brought two instructors from St. Louis to teach Bill Jones and myself how to fly. You will be interested that after the first flight and publicity the bank directors advised me not to fly. I was borrowing large sums for the export grain trade." Julius Barnes, 1954

Although Barnes’ dream of flight was thwarted by concerned bankers, he inspired a whole new economy of aviation by inviting and allowing others to achieve their goals. Flights were made, weather permitting, all summer long flying to and from the Spirit Lake branch of the Boat Club, and up and through the Aerial Lift Bridge as well as the bridges along St. Louis River.                                                                       

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LARK OF DULUTH

GODFATHER TO
THE ASTRONAUTS

ABOUT US

MEMBERSHIP

PATH TO AVIATION
SKY HARBOR
AIRPORT BIRTHDAY
BUILDING THE LARK


AIRLINES
LESSON PLAN

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Julius Barnes

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Duluth Boat Club Brochure, 1913

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