EDDIE RICKENBACKER

Bob Reiss, from the Re-Echo, Winter 2003

About 1915, Mrs. Dagmar Nelson had a boarding house at what is now Wooddale and 35th Street in St. Louis Park.  That summer she had a boarder that spend the summer tuning up his race car in an old blacksmith shop on Walker Street near the creosote plant.  that fall he won several races at the Minnesota State Fair.  His name was Eddie Rickenbacker.

Eddie Rickebacker went on to be a World War I flying ace.  he shot down 22 enemy planes and four balloons.  After the war, the gained an international reputation in automobile racing, owned the Indianapolis Speedway for 18 years, and was President of Eastern Airlines for 21 years.

No one remembered his St. Louis Park connection until World War II when Eddie and his crew were downed in the Pacific while on an inspection trip for Secretary of War Henry Stimson.  The drifted on rubber rafts for 24 days before being rescued.  During this period, reporters from the Minneapolis Star Journal came to interview Mrs. Nelson to see what information she had.