Filed Under Aviation

Air Show Plaza

The Marjorie Rosenbaum Plaza at Burke Lakefront Airport celebrates the "Golden Age of Aviation" when Cleveland hosted the National Air Races eleven times between 1929-1949. It was during this era that Cleveland was referred to as the 'Indianapolis 500 of the Air.' The Plaza also celebrates the modern day Cleveland National Air Show held at Burke Lakefront Airport since 1964.

Granite plaques that ring the Air Show Plaza tell the stories of the National Air Races held in Cleveland between 1929-1949 including legendary pilots who flew here: Amelia Earhart; Charles Lindbergh; Jimmy Doolittle; and Roscoe Turner. The plaques tell the stories of some of the famous airplanes including the GeeBee air racer flown to victory by Jimmy Doolittle in 1932 in the Thompson Trophy speed pylon race. Also featured are stories of the incredible women air racers in those early years (including Amelia Earhart) who flew in the National Air Races. The finish line of the "Powderpuff Derby" women's distance race from Santa Monica, California to Cleveland was in front of of cheering fans in the Grandstand at Cleveland Municipal Airport (now Hopkins Airport), the location of the National Air Races in Cleveland until 1949.

The National Air Races were discontinued in Cleveland after 1949 (partially due to a fatal crash of a P-51C air racing plane flown by Bill Odom in Berea, Ohio during the 1949 National Air Races.) The current Cleveland National Air Show at Burke Lakefront Airport returned in 1964 and has become a Labor Day Weekend tradition in Cleveland and is one of the oldest and best annual air shows in America.

The Air Show Plaza features two F-4 Phantom jets on pedestals painted in the color schemes of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. Both demonstration teams have performed at the Cleveland National Air Show many times. (The F-4 was the only airframe used by both the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds at the same time.) Walk of Fame plaques that circle the Plaza celebrate the modern day Cleveland National Air Show since 1964 at Burke Lakefront Airport. These Walk of Fame plaques showcase some of the legendary flying acts and performers who have appeared at the Cleveland National Air Show since 1964.

The Air Show Plaza is named for benefactor Marjorie Rosenbaum, wife of Cleveland National Air Show Board Member and former Chairman Jacob Rosenbaum.

Images

Marjorie Rosenbaum Plaza at Burke Lakefront Airport The back wall of the Air Show Plaza includes a mural of flying acts since 1929 in Cleveland and the famous poem "High Flight," that includes: "Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence." -- Photo courtesy of the Cleveland National Air Show.
Air Show Plaza at Burke Lakefront Airport This Air Show Plaza honors the "Golden Age of Aviation" in Cleveland during the 1929-1949 National Air Races as well as the flying acts and performers at the modern day Cleveland National Air Show at Burke Lakefront Airport since 1964. The Plaza features two F-4 Phantom jets (the only airframe used by both the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds at the same time.) Photo courtesy of the Cleveland National Air Show.
Jimmy Doolittle flies the GeeBee, 1932 Pilot Jimmy Doolittle, flying the Gee Bee air racing plane, wins the 1932 National Air Races in Cleveland.
Jimmy Haizlip with Amelia Earhart, 1932 Jimmy Haizlip greeting Amelia Earhart at the 1932 National Air Races. Photo courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwartz Library. Special Collections.
Grandstands at 1937 Cleveland National Air Races Photo caption: "More of the 200,000 air race fans who jammed the huge grandstand to capacity on the last day of the races." Photo courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwartz Library. Special Collections.
Louise Thaden wins, 1929 Louise Thaden wins the first women's race at Cleveland in 1929 from Santa Monica to the National Air Races in Cleveland. Photo courtesy of Cleveland State University. Michael Schwartz Library. Special Collections.
Marjorie Rosenbaum Plaza at Burke Lakefront Airport Entrance to the Marjorie Rosenbaum Plaza at Burke Lakefront Airport. Photo courtesy of F.X. O'Grady
National Air Races granite plaque This granite plaque at the Air Show Plaza tells the story of the National Air Races in Cleveland. Photo courtesy of F.X. O'Grady
Walk of Fame plaque, SR-71 Blackbird The Walk of Fame plaques that circle the Air Show Plaza honor the modern day flying acts and performers of the Cleveland National Air Show since 1964. This plaque celebrates the SR-71 Blackbird and its appearance at the Cleveland National Air Show. Photo courtesy of F.X. O'Grady
Jimmy Doolittle plaque This granite plaque tells the story of legendary pilot Jimmy Doolittle who won the 1932 National Air Races in Cleveland flying the famed GeeBee air racing plane. During WWII, Doolittle would also go on to lead the daring, daylight 'Raid on Tokyo' as a Colonel in the U.S. Army Air Corps. For that heroic act, Doolittle would be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, presented to him by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Photo courtesy of F.X. O'Grady
Walk of Fame, Blue Angels The Walk of Fame plaques that circle the Air Show Plaza honor the modern day flying acts and performers of the Cleveland National Air Show since 1964. This plaque celebrates the many performances of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels at the Cleveland National Air Show. Photo courtesy of F.X. O'Grady

Location

Metadata

F.X. O'Grady, “Air Show Plaza,” Cleveland Historical, accessed May 24, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/505.