Skip to main content

Distributed for Missouri Historical Society Press

The Aerial Crossroads of America

St. Louis’s Lambert Airport

The history of Lambert–St. Louis International Airport is the story of American aviation. Everything that has taken place on the airport’s footprint—from Lindbergh to American Airlines, jet airliners to space travel—constitutes a microcosm of the triumphs and tragedies of winged flight in America. The Aerial Crossroads of America chronicles the transformation of the patch of farmland leased by Albert Bond Lambert in 1920 into the sprawling international airport it is today. Illustrated extensively with images from the airport’s history, the book tells not only the story of Lambert, but also the history of what it means to take flight in America.

Aviation expert Daniel L. Rust begins his story with Albert Bond Lambert’s pioneering efforts to promote air travel in the Midwest. While other American airports might today eclipse Lambert, Rust shows that airports serving New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago all lack the longevity of Lambert and its range of historic activity. In the book, Rust moves at super-sonic speed, covering the 1923 Air Races, Charles Lindbergh and his Spirit of St. Louis, the US Air Mail service, the birth of American Airlines, military aviation, the rise of the aircraft manufacturing industry, the development of air traffic control, regulation and deregulation, and the decline of Lambert as a large hub following the demise of TWA and 9/11.

Brimming with anecdotes, little-known historical threads, and lively explanations of just what Lambert has meant to the aviation industry, The Aerial Crossroads of America will be an invaluable resource for anyone interested in aviation, inspiring readers to glance out their windows and admire the view on every ascent.

336 pages | 178 halftones | 8 1/2 x 11 | © 2016

History: American History

Travel and Tourism: Tourism and History

Missouri Historical Society Press image

View all books from Missouri Historical Society Press


“The upcoming centennial of this illustrious airport is a fitting time to outline and share the history of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. From the early days of grass and dirt runways, to the beauty of the copper-clad arches of the Minoru Yamasaki–designed terminal, Lambert has seen, and has been very much a part of, the development of civilian and military aviation in the United States. This book serves as a marvelous testament to a great airport.”

Mark Nankivil, president, Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum

“A major contribution to the story of how transportation shaped modern St. Louis. I have used Lambert–St. Louis International Airport countless times, but until I read Rust’s excellent history, I never realized what a fascinating legacy it embodied.”

Carlos A. Schwantes, University of Missouri–St. Louis

“In this generously illustrated book, Daniel L. Rust chronicles the efforts of Lambert and his successors to establish the airfield, explains the field’s role in the golden age of aviation, and describes the challenges faced by today’s airport.”

Missouri Historical Review

Table of Contents

Chapter 1        Albert Bond Lambert and the Genesis of Lambert-St. Louis Airport
Chapter 2        Lambert’s Airport | 1920-1927
Chapter 3        A Municipal Airport for the City of St. Louis | 1928-1939
Chapter 4        Lambert during World War II | 1940-1945
Chapter 5        The Postwar Years | 1946-1956
Chapter 6        The Jet Age and the Space Age | 1957-1968
Chapter 7        The Battle for Lambert Airport | 1968-1977
Chapter 8        The Era of Airline Deregulation | 1978-1988
Chapter 9        Expanding Lambert: Alternatives F-4 and W-1W | 1989-2000
Chapter 10      Lambert in the Twenty-first Century | 2001 and Beyond
Selected Bibliography

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press