A new plaque memorializing the location of Malcolm and Allan Lockheeds’ workshop on lower State Street marks the spot where the brothers (originally known as “Loughead”) created their famous F-1 Seaplane. The brothers built their planes of wood and Irish linen from 1916 to 1921 at the William L. Rust garage, formerly on the northwest corner of State and Mason streets.
They arrived in 1916 with their little home-built Model G Seaplane and began giving plane rides to thrill-seeking tourists at a time when horses were still common on our city streets. (Their first paying customer was local farmer Peveril Meigs, for whom Meigs Road is named.)
Buoyed by the success of this early aircraft, the brothers, along with John K. Northrup, a 1913 graduate of Santa Barbara High School, built a larger seaplane at their State Street location. This F-1 Flying Seaplane took off from the beach just east of Castillo Street and provided $10 scenic flights to passengers including such notables as the King and Queen of Belgium.
The plaque is the brainchild of longtime Santa Barbara resident, John Fritsche, an active retiree who is an avid historian of Santa Barbara’s past, especially aviation. Fritsche would like Santa Barbara residents and our city’s tourists to remember where the Lockheeds got their start. He commissioned local artist Susan Dunbar to create a plaque based on a billboard advertising the Lockheed’s scenic flights.
The plaque is located at the bus stop on the west side of State Street just north of Mason. Ironically, the plaque is in a niche that was once occupied by another bit of history — a public pay phone.