View Full Version : The Acorn Days

28th Feb 2004, 22:51

Denham S. Scott

Reprinted from NAAR (North American Aviation Retirees Bulletin) - Summer 2001

How many of you know that in 1910 the mighty Martin Marietta Company got its start in an abandoned church in Santa Ana, CA? That’s where the late Glenn L. Martin with his mother “Minta” Martin, and a mechanic named Roy Beal, built a fragile contraption with which Glenn taught himself to fly

It has often been told how the Douglas Company started operations in 1920 by renting the rear of a barbershop on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles. The barbershop is still there. The Lockheed Company built its first Vega in 1927 in what is now the Victory Cleaners and Dryers at 1040 Sycamore Avenue in Hollywood. Claude Ryan who at 24 held a reserve commission as a flyer, had his hair cut in San Diego one day in 1922. The barber told him how the town aviator was in jail for smuggling Chinese across the border. Claude investigated and stayed on in San Diego to rent the old airfield from the city at fifty dollars a month and replace the guy in the pokey. He agreed to fly North instead of South.

In 1928, the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, Transcontinental Air Transport (now TWA) and the Douglas Company chipped in enough money to start North American Aviation, a holding company. The present company bearing the Northrop name came into being in a small hotel in Hawthorne. The “hotel” was conveniently vacant and available because the police had raided it and found that steady residents were a passel of money-minded gals who entertained transitory male guests.

After Glenn Martin built his airplane in the church, he moved ......