Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search results

Archives at The Museum of Flight

Hamilton, Charles Keeney, 1885-1914



  • Existence: 1885-1914

Biographical Note

Charles Keeney Hamilton was an early aviator with a repuation for being a bit of a daredevil.

Charles K. Mahilton was born on May 30, 1885 in New Britain, Connecticut. By the age of 18, Hamilton described himself as an "aeronaut." He flew hot air balloons and did parachute jumps at local fairs. He later became friends with Roy Knabenshue and flew dirigibles, including piloting one across the Bay of Osaka in Japan in 1909.

Late in 1909, Hamilton began flying lessons with Glenn Curtiss, eventually joining his exhibition team. On March 11, 1910, Hamilton earned the distinction of being the first to fly in Washington state as he flew the "Reims Racer" over Seattle. On the very next day he returned to the air, allegedly drunk, and crashed into the lake at The Meadows racetrack, which was the first aircraft crash in Washington state.

Hamilton continued to rack up achivements and firsts, earning a reputation as a daredevil flyer. He died of complications from tuberculosis on January 22, 1914.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Early Seattle Aviation Photograph Album

Identifier: 1991-04-08
Abstract The collection consists of an album containing ten black-and-white photographs featuring early aviators and aircraft in Seattle, Washington.

The Museum of Flight | 9404 E. Marginal Way South | Seattle WA 98108-4097 | 206-764-5874
Contact us with a research request