The first Aviation Country Club was opened in New York. A branch in
Chicago was supposed to open in . This card in Vicky’s memorabilia says that the club was located at Palwaukee Airport now located in the northwest suburbs of Wheeling and Prospects Heights.
The Aviation Country Club was patterned after Golf Clubs. It had all the amenities for the upper class members. The Club included Club airplanes, private member planes, machine shops, fueling facilities, and spectator stands for air shows.
Members could commute to work and back. Members of one club were permitted to use other clubs in different cities.
The Clubhouse had rooms to stay overnight, restaurants and a bar. It truly was very swanky with its elite clientele. During the evening there was dancing under the stars.
The restaurant at Palwaukee was a called Petruska’s. It was a branch of a downtown place of the same name.
Lindbergh, Guggenheim, Vanderbilt, and JP Morgan were the founding members of the Aviation Country Club.
Even though Vicky had the card saying that the Club was at Palwaukee airport websites say that the club was really at Sky Harbor Airport near Glencoe, IL. One of the main attractions was the fully pilot training school.
Safety was the major concerns of the Club. The airport was equipped for day and night flying. Very few fields had lighting so they could fly at night. This airfield had a revolving beacon that made night flying possible.
Social flying in the 30’s increased the interest in joining the Aviation Country Club. Near the club flyers built large homes with room to have runways.
The club was an upscale hangout for aviators. It was a perfect place to fly whether you used the clubs planes or your own. “Fame, money, and high-flying connections were requirements for membership. Because Vicky and Ward were related to Durant they were socially acceptable to join. Don’t know if they were members but it sure would have been a place that Vicky would fit in. Membership was a matter of social connections and status just like a golf club.
Another reason for the existence for the clubs was a serious matter. It was hoped to
develop pilots for a potential war where planes and pilots would be needed for the war effort.
Many of these clubs were being developed and membership was extended to all. Pilots that were members of the Hicksville club would be members of any other club in the country.
Unfortunately, the Depression caused the demise of the Aviation Country Clubs. This area would become Levittown, the first planned suburban community.