Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | May 27, 2020

Donald Gordon, Aviation Pioneer

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From: Doug Anderson

Growing up at the Observatory, I knew a very interesting man, a former resident Donald Gordon.  Click for some history of Donald Gordon written by a neighbor of his in El Cajon back in the 1960’s.

Mr. Gordon had 160 acres on what was known as Morgan Hill.  He lived out west of the Upper French Valley on Palomar.  Mr. Gordon built and flew the first airplane west of the Mississippi!

We would ride our motor bikes over to see him on occasion. He lived in a water tank with a pump organ. He was always building something. One time over there he was laying out and hand making a chain sprocket to gear down a motorcycle. He had no electricity, he was using a hand crank drill press to drill the holes, then hand filing the teeth, unbelievable! He was stone deaf so we couldn’t communicate very well. He has mention at the museum in Valley Center, and I remember seeing his airplane motor that he donated to the San Diego Air and Space museum. I saw the engine before the Air and Space burned down in 1968, I don’t know if it was destroyed. I think it was a Wright Brothers engine.

I so loved his hand crank drill press that I now own one! Kids love to turn the crank and see it drill stuff.

Enjoy,
Doug Anderson

San Diego Air and Space Museum Donald Gordon

Donald Gordon Personal Papers

Donald Gordon by neighbor Hazel Sperry

Doug and Greg Anderson, Then and Now

Doug Anderson’s Life on Palomar


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