First Airline Monument

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First Airline Monument

St. Petersburg is the birthplace of commercial aviation, so it’s appropriate that we commemorate that history in a suitable way. The Benoist Centennial Plaza (it’s pronounced “Ben-wah,” by the way) features a life-sized sculpture of the Benoist Airboat that pilot Tony Jannus flew on the first airline roundtrip to Tampa on January 1, 1914. His only passenger that day? St. Pete Mayor Abe Pheil, who paid a then-astronomical sum of $400. Fun historical fact: The exhibit is located on the exact same spot as the hangar used for the World’s First Airline.