Thomas Scott Baldwin on a steamboat on the Missouri River

October 25, 1904

Captain Thomas Scott Baldwin’s airship demonstration at the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition of 1904 was St. Louis’s first exposure to controlled flight. A. Roy Knabenshue operated the powered balloon, maneuvering it in the shape of an S. He flew for 37 minutes and climbed to 2,000 feet above the fairgrounds.

This post was contributed by Ross Malone. A historian and a retired school teacher, Ross has authored many books about Missouri’s history, weird facts, and folk tales. He has also written children’s historical fiction. Visit his website, and buy his books in the Missouri Life store.