Otis H. Ashley & the Kanawha City Air Field

Allow 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:

Otis Ashley

This 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 contact me.


Otis's real passion however was flying....

Kanawha City Field

Kanawha City Field

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.

Kanawha City Field

Later, when Wertz Field opened in 1930,  Otis flew there...

  Kanawha City Field


Otis AshleyOtis Ashley
Otis AshleyOtis Ashley
Otis AshleyOtis Ashley

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....


Otis Ashley
Otis Ashley
Otis Ashley



Otis Ashley

Otis Ashley

Buried in Sebastian Florida, so ended the life of one of Charleston's earliest and most locally famous pilots.

Birth:     Jun. 21, 1891
Clay County
West Virginia, USA
Death:     Aug. 8, 1933
Orange County
Florida, USA

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....

Kanawha City Airfield



Kanawha City Airfield



The Remington-Rand landing was a HUGE event, with most of the "who's who" waiting....

Kanawha City Airfield

Kanawha City Airfield



Kanawha City Airfield




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