AKA Parker "Shorty" Cramer
Parker D. Cramer
     The airport was named for pioneer pilot Parker D. Cramer, shown beside one of the planes he flew in and out of the original airport, in the shadow of the hangar built there under joint federal and community auspices. The flying field (the first municipally-owned one in the United States) was later named in Cramer's honor after he and his crew were lost on a route-mapping flight over the North Sea. Cramer once flew a plane through this hangar, from end to end. Among other historic flying stunts was an attempt to fly off from Sixth Avenue in Clarion. It ended in a crackup but he emerged unhurt.
Courtesy Clarion County Historical Society

     If you search for "Parker D. Cramer +aviation", using the Google search engine, (11-18-03), you will find about 25 links. Probably the best place to start is on the website just below.

Bradford's Unknown Aviator
     This page on the Bradford Landmark Society website offers the most complete and comprehensive biography of Cramer I have found on the net. (11-18-03) Here you will find a fascinating story of his life and career as well as a beautiful picture of him and his friend Harri Emery in their plane. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.

     If time permits, you will want to read the biography of Sir Hubert Wilkins which is found on Gary Pierson's website, Antartic Philately. However is time is limited, you will want to read the paragraph which refers to Parker D. Cramer and is excerpted below.
     "The pilots of the second expedition were both experienced Arctic pilots. Al Cheeseman and Parker D. Cramer came with Wilkins while Eielson remained behind, preferring to fly in Arctic skies where he obtained a mail contract. As the team on Deception Island reorganized, a radio message arrived informing Wilkins that Eielson had taken off on a mercy mission to locate a stranded fur-trading vessel and had not returned. Shortly afterwards they heard that Joe Crosson had found the wreckage; Eielson had flown into a Siberian hillside that had been shrouded in fog. Eielson was dead and Wilkins said he felt the loss of a brother -- a "Brother to the Eagle".

The Florida Times-Union
Bill Foley
December 9, 1938 - January 29, 2001

"Parker Cramer turned up in Jacksonville about 1921.
He was short guy, which is why they called him Shorty, and he had a crooked grin.
He and auto mechanic Charlie Collier formed the Jacksonville Skywriting Corp. They used a Curtiss Oriole that Cramer crashed four times."

     You can read the whole story about "Shorty" Cramer and some of the others who challenged the Arctic by clicking on the title above.

After the World War I, B.R.J. (Fish) Hassell went barnstorming again, and for a time worked for the U.S. postal system. During this time, his great dream of flying the great circle course to Europe was developing. He wrote voluminous articles and a book, "The Hiking Viking", in which he pointed out the advantage of such a route.
     The people of Rockford, Illinois became interested and decided to back his scheme. A Stinson Detroiter monoplane was obtained and planning of the flight began. As his co-pilot and navigator, Hassell selected Parker "Shorty" Cramer, and together they began making test flights in the vicinity of Rockford. They set the date for the take-off as July 26, 1928. When the appointed time arrived, they took off with the crowd cheering. But the fuel load proved too heavy and they wound up in a corn field west of the river.
     After repairing the plane, they again took off on August 16, 1928 and headed for their first scheduled refueling stop, a base on the Sondre Stromfjord in south-west Greenland. After twenty hours in the air, they failed to find the base and were forced to make an emergency landing. The two adventurers set out to walk to the base. Fourteen days later, they encountered a group of Eskimos who brought them into the camp, just as they were about to be given up for lost.
     From the base, they worked their way to Holstenborg, on the coast where they got passage on a tramp steamer to Europe. From there, they made their way back to the United States and Rockford.
     Robert Carlin, district manager of National Airlines in Houston, an aviation buff and a native of Rockford, started a crusade to bring the plane back to Rockford. The Hassell family joined in. Parker Cramer, in the meantime, had lost his life in another exploring adventure.
From the CHIRP
January, 1970

Parker D. Cramer died in 1931
From The Early Birds of Aviation
Roster, 1996

     Papers belonging to the late Parker D. Cramer, Clarion flyer, were found floating in the sea off the Shetland Island; included were a lteer to his mother, his pilot's license and a description of the plane in which he was making his fatal, final flight.
Courtesy Clarion County Historical Society

     On Memorial Day, Clarion Park was formally dedicated. The park, on the site of the former Clarion County Fairgrounds, was purchased by the Parker D. Cramer Post, V. F. W., and $75,000 was raised to convert the fairgrounds to a park. It was a memorial to the county's men and women who had served in all wars.

LT. CRAMER, 1963
     Lt. Parker D. Cramer, second of the same name in the family of the late pioneer Clarion aviator, was killed in Vietnam on May 6, 1963
Courtesy Clarion County Historical Society

     The historic Stinson Monoplane of the late Parker D.Cramer, Clarion aviation pioneer, was rescued by helicopter from its forty-year resting place on the Greenland ice cap where Cramer had landed it safely, but out of fuel, during one of his great circle exploratory flights.
Editor's Note:
from History of Clarion County published 1976, compiler unknown
You can view this and other Historical Items by clicking on
Clarion County, Pennsylvania's Historical Highlights.
You can visit the homepage itself by clicking on
Clarion County, Pennsylvania, History, Topical Index
Courtesy of Billie McNamara



From Lee Banner
     The Parker D. Cramer airport was the first municipal airport in the U.S. It was located in the area to the north of the present-day Clarion Bi-Lo store. There were a few planes there up to at least 30 - 40 years ago, I think. I believe Parker D. was a WWI ace.
Editor's Note:
from History of Clarion County published 1976, compiler unknown
You can view this and other Historical Items by clicking on
Clarion County, Pennsylvania's Claims to Fame.
You can visit the homepage itself by clicking on
Clarion County, Pennsylvania, History, Topical Index
Courtesy of Billie McNamara

Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this pioneer aviator
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper
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