Otis H. Ashley & the Kanawha City Air Field
me to introduce Otis Ashley: He had the very first privatly
owned land based airplane in the valley. He gave rides to hundreds of
people from the old airfield in Kanawha City. He was an early
parachute jumper AND he flew the first land based plane under the South Side Bridge.
Otis was involved from the start as a local flier and also owned a very
successful garage on the east end, then on Main St. at Florida Street
on the West Side. You wont find Otis in the history books and
that's a shame, because every early pioneer deserves to be
remembered. This is my tribute to his memory. |
The field in Kanawha City meanwhile was the main place to land aircraft in these early days.
First, lets start with Otis in one of the finest gasoline ads of its day:
is the only known photo of Otis Ashley. What makes this ad so
special is that adding local photos to an ad was very expensive and
almost unheard of. We are fortunate to have this only known photo
of Otis. If you know of anyone who has a real photo, please
Otis's real passion however was flying....
Otis with his plane in Kanawha City. You can see the 35th Street Bridge in the background.
Planes landed in a couple of diferent places in Kanawha City due to the wide open area with few houses.
Later, when Wertz Field opened in 1930, Otis flew there...
|But then, after all that barnstorming and parachute jumping, Otis was killed in a car wreck after moving to Lakeland Florida to operate the airport there....|
Buried in Sebastian Florida, so ended the life of one of Charleston's earliest and most locally famous pilots.
Birth: Jun. 21, 1891
West Virginia, USA
Death: Aug. 8, 1933
Otis H Ashley married Audrey Brooks Fisher in Kanawha County, West Virginia in 1913.
There were at least three children born of this union: George W, Bettie C and Otis H Ashley, Jr.
Meanwhile, others were involved with the Kanawha City Airfield....
The Remington-Rand landing was a HUGE event, with most of the "who's who" waiting....