The Monroe Girl With Wings (Mid-1940s)
Welcome back, Monroe history lovers. I have a question for you. Just who is this curly-haired cutie with the control stick in hand, apparently ready to take to the skies with a smile? Why that’s a teenaged Lois Hurd, one of the daughters of Monroe Airport founder Ben Hurd. Her family and close friends call her Susie, and I suppose at least for this week we can too. Sure, it would be easy to assume that these images are just a sharp-dressed happy young girl posing for a couple of family snapshots, but believe me, that would be a very big mistake. You see, Susie Hurd is no poser.
Susie didn’t just hang around the Monroe Airport looking for photo opportunities, she actually had a hand in building it. As a very young girl she sat upon her father’s lap as he ran his bulldozer at night, plowing shallow trenches from west to east and burying the stone walls of the old family farm to create the airstrip. Only the glow of the bulldozer’s dim headlamps lit their way, but they persevered as a team until the job was done. And, when the airport finally opened in 1941 to train young pilots for the war to come, Susie was right there, doing any job required of her, from fueling aircraft to feeding our fledgling pilots at the airport hangar’s canteen.
No one could argue that it was a time of demanding and necessary work, but in life there’s a time for work and a time for play. And when it was time for play, Susie loved to go flying. One of her favorite planes to fly in with her father was his Waco biplane. On one famous occasion, before she was even 16, Susie took off with a young pilot and performed 26 consecutive loop-the-loops above the airport in a Piper J-3 Cub, the very same type of airplane you see in this week’s photos. There’s no app on your Smartphone to equal that feat, kids!
Thankfully, Susie is still with us today and loves both her family history and Monroe history. I hope this week’s post gives her a smile. I also hope that all of you enjoy this week’s historic spotlight on Susie Hurd. It’s high time her story is told, and this is just a day in her life! Please share her history with your family and friends and please leave her a comment as there’s a very good chance she’ll read and appreciate it. As always, thank you for your continued support and interest in Monroe history. Until next time, keep your eyes to the skies.
Historian, Monroe Historical Society
Our Past is Always Present