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Oct. 18, 1921: Three U.S. Army balloons prepare for launch from Ross Field. This photo was published in the Oct. 19, 1921, L.A. Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

Oct. 18, 1921: Three U.S. Army balloons wait to get off the ground. The original negative of the photo is stored at the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

Oct. 18, 1921: Capt. Edgar P. Sorensen, left, and pilot Capt. H.C. Gray are the crew of U.S. Army balloon 19-35. This photo was publshed in The Times on Oct. 19, 1921.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

December 1921: A "Type R" U.S. Army observation balloon is lowered at Arcadia Balloon School. This photo was published in the Dec. 19, 1921, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: E. J. Spencer / Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

1921: U.S. Army balloon operations at Ross Field.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

September 1922: U.S. Army Dirigible C-2 is on its way to Ross Field from Langley Field, Va. A Times staff artist outlined the balloon and lettering in the photo, published Sept. 24, 1922.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

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Arcadia Balloon School — Ross Field

Opened in 1918, the Arcadia Balloon School was built to train U.S. Army balloon observation troops for World War I. Before any graduates arrived in Europe, the war ended.

In November 1918, the base was renamed Ross Field, honoring Lt. Cleo J. Ross of the U.S. Army 8th Balloon Company, killed in action in France.

U.S. Army balloon operations continued at Ross Field for a few years, but by the mid-1920s, the base was closed. Today it’s the site of Arcadia County Park and Golf Course.

The photos in this gallery are from 1921 and 1922. A year ago, Steve Harvey wrote this article on the Arcadia Balloon School.

1 Comment

  1. April 13, 2012, 9:46 am

    Not much smog in those days. The mountains in the background are barely visible and the trees visible only through the haze. It almost looks like a typical day in the southland during the May haze or June gloom periods.


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