On October 25, 1911, the first plane ever to land in the state of Arizona did so right here in Yuma. Piloted by Robert G. Fowler, the Wright Model B biplane (also known as a “Cole Flyer”) weighed 800 pounds and was capable of reaching a top speed of 45 MPH. The plane housed a 30 HP engine that was rented from the famed Wright Brothers, who had made their historic flight years before.
Bob Fowler, making a little history of his own, began his flight in Santa Monica, California and was headed for the East coast. It was during this flight that he touched down in Yuma near a ball park between 1st and 3rd Streets on 4th. Avenue. About four days later, planning to continue his flight, Mr. Fowler found it necessary to enlist the aid of several local citizens who pushed the plane uphill on 3rd street in order to give it a “downhill” run. Forty-nine days later the “Cole Flyer” ended its journey by rolling to a halt near the surf of Miami, Florida.
Fifty-two years later Robert Fowler returned to Yuma for the dedication, an unveiling of the monument in his honor. Today a historic marker commemorating the “100th Anniversary of Flight in Yuma” stands in front of the Yuma Landing Restaurant-the very site of the biplane’s original touch down!
That spot is now also marked with a statue of the pilot, Robert G. Fowler sculpted by Artist Laurie Slenning of Tucson. The Yuma Landing Bar & Grill honors that history with it’s display of historic photos of the region. Many of our historic photos are of the Historic Coronado Motor Hotel just across the street.
The Yuma Landing and the hotel are owned and operated by the Peach family, residents of Yuma for the last 80 plus years. The hotel itself is one of the first Best Western hotels in the country, but is proud to say it is independently owned and operated under it’s own name and brand.
The Casa de Coronado Museum houses antiques ad artifacts depicting the history of the hotel from over the past 75 years.