Created By: Wichita History Walk
(Look across the street for this building.)
Everett Watkins worked in a blacksmith shop until he was blinded in one eye by a stray ember. He then tried his hand at entrepreneurial ventures such as banking and the aircraft industry. He established the Watkins Aircraft company in 1929 at 2300 E Douglas, the same year as the stock market crash, and the Depression greatly affected his business. Only six planes were built before the company failed, and those were low wing monoplanes called the Skylark. While Watkins was the fifth Wichita-based aviation company to receive an approval certificate from the Department of Commerce, his business ultimately failed due to the effects of the Depression and this building was sold in 1931 to new owners.
Of the six Skylarks built by Watkins, one remains and is on display at the Kansas Aviation Museum. Pieces of the plane were discovered in an old boxcar on a farm in Milan, Kansas. With the help of museum volunteers, it was restored more than 80 years after its last flight.
This point of interest is part of the tour: East Douglas Heritage