The small town of Little Falls produced a big name in history, Charles A. Lindbergh. The famous aviator grew up in Little Falls and it’s the place he saw his first airplane. His upbringing on a small farm shaped his wild imagination and creativity which would lead him to be the first person to fly a solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic in 1927, in the famed Spirit of St. Louis.
The Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site and Charles A. Lindbergh State Park are located just outside of town. The historic site contains a museum about Lindbergh and the boyhood home of the famous aviator, while the state park encompasses the farmland owned by the Lindbergh family. There are hiking trails, a campground, and a picnic area.
The main building is a museum dedicated to telling Lindbergh’s story, with several personal items from his childhood to his international road trips later in life, championing environmental causes. There are some interactive displays, such as a very fun flight simulator, and a short film about his life. Admission is US$8. The museum is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Hours are 10am to 5pm Thursday to Saturday and Sundays from noon to 5pm. It’s also open on Saturdays in May and September.
A special part of the museum is an optional guided tour of Lindbergh’s boyhood home on the west bank of the Mississippi River, just steps from the museum. Tours run every 30 minutes and last about 45 minutes.
In the home, you’ll be able to see authentic furniture and items from the Lindbergh home, including the bed he slept in on a screened-in patio (even in the harsh Minnesota winter!), his mother’s piano, and a secret hiding place he made for his toys.
In the garage sits a vintage 1916 Saxon Six. This was the family car, which Lindbergh drove to California on a family road trip when he was just 14. It took them over 40 days to arrive.
The guide on the tour was very enthusiastic and used several photographs and other items to enhance the tour. She was able to tell many stories about Lindbergh’s life in Little Falls, and specific incidences that occurred in the house. Lindbergh set up the museum when he donated the house to the Minnesota Historical Society. Much of what you see and hear is directly from Lindbergh himself. More importantly, the guide was very candid about the negative aspects of Lindbergh’s life, such as his anti-Semitic comments and racism, belief in eugenics, and his several mistresses and illegitimate children in Europe. Everyone on the tour appreciated the honesty and for not making Lindbergh out to be some sort of god. He was a brilliant man but he was still very human and had many terrible flaws.