site: 560 E. Main St.
Santa Paula Travel Co. Bldg..
area of mural for detail
Honoring Founders and Pilots of Santa Paula Airport, 1890s-1940s The sepia-toned panel shows Ralph Dickenson's 1929 SM-2AC Stinson Detroiter in which he flew down the airport runway in August, 1930, officially opening the airport. Standing is Ralph Dickenson founder, and the driving force behind the present airport’s development. To the right is Bill Hackbarth's restored 1918 De Havilland DH-4 which flew mail from Rock Springs, Wyoming to Salt Lake City, Utah until it crashed in 1922. Bill brought the remains to Santa Paula in 1965 to restore it. In 1967 he flew the plane across the United States and donated it to the Smithsonian Institution.
Wendell Dowling, muralist
Muralist Wendell Dowling, a local artist, has a passion for detailed illustrations, and a passion for airplanes. A hangar at Santa Paula Airport is home for his artist's studio, perched up above family owned planes below. He was chosen for this mural due to his close association with the airport and a member of a famous family of pilots. Wendell worked closely with the airport community in determining the individuals and planes to be included in the mural.
His father-in-law, Sammy Mason, was a famous test pilot for Lockheed Corporation and a legend among flying enthusiasts in Santa Paula and beyond. The artist paid tribute to Sammy Mason by including in the mural a tiny helicopter flying upside down which was thought to be impossible. Mason thought it not only possible, he demonstrated that it could be done!