Charles Lindbergh House and Museum
1620 Lindbergh Drive S.
Little Falls, MN 56345

Hours

May 26 - Sept 3, 2018:
Thu-Sat 10 am-5 pm
Sun Noon-5 pm

Open Memorial Day, July 4, and Labor Day, 10 am-5 pm

September 2018:
Sat 10 am-5 pm

Call 320-616-5421 for group tours and school field trips year-round.

Admission

  • $8 adults
  • $6 seniors
  • $6 veterans and active military
  • $6 college students
  • $6 children ages 5-17
  • Free for children age 4 and under and MNHS members

Contact

320-616-5421

Life in Motion

“Science, freedom, beauty, adventure: what more could you ask of life? Aviation combined all the elements I loved,” Charles Lindbergh wrote in his book "The Spirit of St. Louis." Each of these elements can be traced to Lindbergh’s youth on a farm in central Minnesota. From the freedom to explore the surrounding woods and river as a child to traveling across the country by train and automobile, each adventure shaped the individual who would become one of the most famous men in the world.

Early Childhood

Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr.Charles Augustus Lindbergh was born in Detroit, Mich., on Feb. 4, 1902. His mother, Evangeline, had gone to her hometown to give birth so she could be attended to by her uncle, a medical doctor. The infant Charles was brought home to Little Falls, to the grand home his parents had built on the banks of the Mississippi River on a 110-acre farm outside of town. The farm was also home to Charles' two half-sisters, Lillian and Eva, from his father’s first marriage, and three live-in staff. 

The Lindberghs regularly entertained in their home, hosting families like the Weyerhaeusers and Mussers, owners of the Pine Tree Logging Company. But on Sunday Aug. 6, 1905, the home caught fire and burned to the ground. Lindbergh recalled: 

"There was sudden shouting—women’s voices. I was picked up quickly and taken across the road to a place behind the barn. Somehow I got to a corner of the barn and looked around it to see a huge column of smoke billowing skyward from a corner of our house. Then I was taken back and told I mustn’t look.”  (The Spirit of St. Louis, 1953)

The house was a total loss. While they never divorced, C.A. and Evangeline had been estranged, and from this point forward, they would live in separate homes. 

Life at "Camp"

Charles and his dog, 'Dingo'.After the fire, the Lindberghs built a smaller home on the same site. C.A., Charles' father, had won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, and would be taking the family to live part of the year in Washington, D.C. Each fall the family would travel to Detroit, where they would spend a month visiting the Lands, before traveling on to the nation's capital. They would make the same trip back each spring. 

Charles Lindbergh as a young boy huntingCharles Lindbergh later remembered “Through the long winters I counted the weeks and days until spring when we would return to our Minnesota farm,” which the family often referred to as "camp." Lindbergh loved his time outside on the farm. He would often spend his days swimming in the river, climbing trees, interacting with the lumberjacks who brought logs down the river and hunting with his father. He recalled many of his adventures in letters written to the Minnesota Historical Society and published in a book called "Boyhood on the Upper Mississippi."

It was here in Little Falls that Lindbergh saw his first airplane. In "The Spirit of St. Louis", Lindbergh recollected:

"One day I was playing upstairs in our house on the riverbank. The sound of a distant engine drifted in through an open window…Suddenly I sat up straight and listened. No automobile engine made that noise. It was approaching too fast. It was on the wrong side of the house! … I ran to the window and climbed out onto the tarry roof. It was an airplane! Flying upriver below higher branches of trees, a biplane was less than two hundred yards away—a frail, complicated structure, with the pilot sitting out in front between struts and wires. I watched it fly quickly out of sight…"

1916 Saxon Six

Lindbergh's 1916 Saxon SixIn 1916, Evangeline and Charles drove to California to visit Lillian, who had been diagnosed with tuberculosis. Evangeline did not have a good relationship with either of her stepchildren, but at the urging of Charles, she took the trip to help make amends. In October they set off in the family's new Saxon Six automobile. Joining them was Uncle Charles from Detroit and the family dog, Wahgoosh. With the Saxon reaching a top speed of just 25 miles per hour, it took 40 days to reach their destination. It also did not provide adequate protection in bad weather and could not handle rough road conditions. Evangeline and Charles spent the winter of 1916-17 in southern California.

Old car with sign 'Capt. Lindberghs first gear shift auto motive machine'

In 1927, souvenir hunters stripped the car and took it through town for Lindbergh’s homecoming parade with “Lindbergh’s First Plane” painted on the side. In the late 1960s a maintenance battalion from Camp Ripley restored the Saxon to running condition.

The car is on display at the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site. Watch a video about the Saxon Six.