First Air Mail Marker

A stone marker inscribed with words sites on a pathway surrounded by foggy trees.
The First Air Mail Marker

NPS / Kelsey Graczyk

Quick Facts
Washington, DC

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Parking - Auto, Wheelchair Accessible

This oft-overlooked marker memorializes the first air mail flight, which departed from this field May 15, 1918. Piloted by Lt. George Boyle, the Curtiss Jenny biplane roared aloft in front of a crowd that included President Woodrow Wilson. Bound for Philadelphia, Boyle became disoriented en route and crash-landed in a Maryland field. Although air mail was primarily a novelty at the time, it ushered in a new era for mail delivery and the global transportation systems we use today.


Air Mail
The world's first airplane mail to be operated as a continuously scheduled public service started from this field May 15, 1918.
The route connected Washington, Philadelphia and New York. Curtiss JN 4-H airplanes with a capacity of 150 pounds of mail flew the 230 miles in about three hours.
The service was inaugurated by the Post Office Department in cooperation with the aviation section of the Signal Corps of the US Army on August 12, 1928, the service as taken over in its entirety by the Post Office Department.
This marker was erected by the Aero Club of Washington on the fortieth anniversary, May 15, 1958.

National Mall and Memorial Parks

Last updated: January 11, 2024