A very readable volume about the Grand Central Air Terminal is this book:
Underwood, John. 1984. Madcaps, Millionaires and 'Mose'. Heritage Press, Glendale, CA. 144pp.
There is no biographical file for Anton J. Lygum in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.
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Thanks to Guest Editor Bob Woodling for help researching this page.
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ANTON JOSEPH LYGUM
A.J. Lygum was born March 26, 1907. He was not a pilot who signed the Register. Rather he was one of many operators who staffed the control tower at the Grand Central Air Terminal and documented the arrivals and departures of pilots. Indeed, he "signed" the Register many, many times, but never as a pilot.
Lygum was born in Tacoma, WA to Minnie Dell Stickelman( 1882-?) and Jens Lygum (1878-1937). Their marriage certificate, above, is dated November 10, 1906.
A curious error crept into Lygum's initial birth certificate in 1907. His mother's maiden name was entered on the form as her married name. This was corrected on June 8, 1951 as the "true facts" by the notarized document at right. Notice that Lygum's mother's maiden name was Minnie Dell Stickelman. In 1951 her last name was Bertrand, indicating that she had remarried at some point. His father's name on this form was misspelled as James, as it was on many documents on ancestry.com.
The 1910 U.S. Census places Lygum at age 3 living with his parents in Tacoma. He had a younger sister named Jennie (1909-1996). His father was a 1900 immigrant from Denmark, and he worked as a "Tally man" at a "Lumber Mill." His mother (age 27) was not employed.
IN 1920, Lygum still lived with his family at age 12. They had moved to Lake View, WA. His parents owned their own home and it was free of mortgage. His father's job was listed as a "Lumberman."
I found no census data for Lygum for 1930, but his family was still in Lake View, WA. His father was still a "Tally man" at age 51. His mother was not employed, and his sister, now age 21 and living with her parents, was a "Head Saleslady" in a "Store." One city directory cites Lygum as a "meteorologist" at the Grand Central Air Terminal. This connects his presence at GCAT, and suggests that he maintained the Register in addition to his weather reporting duties. This suggestion is verified by the following faculty listing from the Curtiss-Wright Technical Institute for 1938. It lists Lygum, second from the bottom, as responsible for "Traffic Control and Meteorologist." The source link shows the original image on the owner's Flickr Stream.
Lygum traveled from Glendale to Mexico. On September 25, 1931, Lygum returned to the United States from Agua Caliente, Mexico aboard the Ryan B-5 Brougham NC313K, S/N 212. The U.S. immigration form is below. His age was 25. He was flown by GCAT Register pilot Jack Slaybaugh.
NC313K was owned by Gilpin Airlines at that time and it was signed for 28 landings in our Registers, all but one appearing at GCAT. Please direct your browser to Gilpin's link, and the links there from, for more information on this prolific pilot and his air line company.
Jack Slaybaugh, was also probably a pilot signed in the GCAT Register. I say probably, because Slaybaugh signed the Clover Field Register twice with his complete name (but flying different airplanes). He appears in the GCAT Register three times, but only identified as "Jack." He flew NC313K each time, and each time was in transit from Agua Caliente on behalf of Gilpin Airlines. Chances are good that "Jack" was Slaybaugh and that he served as pilot of 313K on the voyage logged on the form above, flying on September 25, 1931. Unfortunately, there is a gap in the Register through the month of September, so I can't track this flight back to GCAT.
A little over a year later, another passenger immigration listing includes reference to two people with the last name Lygum, below. The airplane, NC313K again, and George Farnham was a pilot for Gilpin Airlines. Please direct your browser to Farnham's link for further details. Who was "Happy" Lygum?
"Happy" was a stage name. Besides his tower duties at GCAT, an article from the blog Santa Clarita Valley Beacon states that on January 23, 1934:
|Next to CalArts, there was probably more live music played at The French Village than at any other place in the history of the valley. The dance club featured two orchestras on this date: Happy Lygum & His International Recording Orchestra and Bonnie Gray, Famous Rodeo Girl & Her Happy-Go-Lucky Band. Admission to the hall was 40 cents for gentlemen and 25 cents for ladies.|
Thus we now have "international" band leader "Happy" Lygum captured on Sunday, November 20, 1932 returning from Mexico to San Diego, CA. Helen F. Lygum was his wife and we find her mentioned also in the Los Angeles city directory for 1940. The 1940 U.S. Census placed Lygum and Helen in Glendale, CA. She was not employed. His occupation is cited as "Airport Traffic Control Operator" for an "Airline." I could find no information on Helen Lygum.
The 1941 city directory for Fresno, CA locates Lygum at 981 West Van Ness Avenue. That address today appears to be a vacant lot. Helen was not cited. Lygum married Emogene Marylee Wiese (7/25/1917-11/14/1988) in July, 1944. Emogene was a musician, and Emogene was from Fresno. I do not know if Helen H. passed away or she and Lygum were divorced sometime in 1940-41 when he moved to Fresno.
With respect to his music, a very obscure reference to Lygum appeared in a summary of unpublished music patents for 1950. At left, Lygum is cited as the arranger of a song entitled "You're My World." The words and music were by Emory Scott Stevens (1903-1982). They jointly held copyright for the song, dated November 17, 1950. Lygum and his wife Emogene must have enjoyed their mutual interest in music.
In the 1954 Santa Monica city directory, Lygum and Emogene lived at 928A 7th Avenue. His occupation was listed as "USN." Perhaps he was a meterologist for the Navy. The 1957 city directory for Santa Monica cites Lygum living with Emogene. He is an "Inspector for McCulloch's Motors." As made clear above, there are many gaps in Lygum's history. If you can help fill them in, please let me KNOW.
Lygum died January 13, 1974 at Santa Monica, CA. He was 66 years, 9 months, 18 days old, a relatively young man by today's standards of longevity.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 11/16/15 REVISED: