Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Key to the First United Airlines "Mainliner"

Good morning key lovers!

  I hope all of you have had an exceptional morning and start to your day, as the weather continues to get hotter and drier up here in the Rocky Mountains.  Today I have decided to focus on a key that's unique story captured my attention right away- the key to the First United Air Lines "Mainliner."

  United Airlines Flight 629, registration N37559, also known as "Mainliner Denver," was blown up by a dynamite bomb placed in a bag of checked luggage on November 1, 1955.  The plane explosion occurred over Longmont, Colorado when the plane was flying from Denver, Colorado to Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington.  All 5 crew members and 39 passengers were killed in the explosion.

  After a lengthy and tedious investigation, investigators determined that a man named Jack Gilbert Graham was responsible for the explosion as a revenge plot on his mother for a claimed "troubled" childhood, and to obtain a large life insurance payout.  Graham, who already had an extensive criminal record, was tried, convicted, and executed for the crime within 15 months of the explosion.

  At the time of the explosion, there was actually no federal statute that made it a crime to blow up an aircraft.  Therefore, in order to convict Graham of his crime that tried him on the ground of premeditated murder against one victim, which was his mother Mrs. King.  Despite the multiple deaths, he was only executed on the murder of his mother, and it was the first trial to be televised in Colorado.

  Following the bombing and execution, a bill was introduced and signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956 that made the intentional bombing of an aircraft illegal.  Graham is believed to have been inspired by a similar crime committed by Albert Guay, in which he bombed an airplane with the intention of killing his wife.

  I know I have chosen some dark stories to focus on lately, but sometimes the darkest moments in our nation's history are the most interesting. But do come on down and find some keys that you may find especially interesting to yourself when you visit our key room!

  Til Next Time,