Minneapolis neighborhood dedicates memorial to victims of 1950's plane crash

6:52 PM, Aug 28, 2011   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - It has been more than six decades since a plane crashed into a house in South Minneapolis, killing two children in that home and everyone on board.  

On Saturday, a memorial was dedicated at the crash site so those victims are not forgotten.

Relatives of the victims gathered nearby at Lynnhurst Park, many of them meeting for the first time.  

Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 307 went down during a snowstorm on March 7th, 1950 crashing into 1116 West Minnehaha Parkway, the home of Diane Doughty Madsen, now of Elk River, who was 15 at the time.

Her siblings, 8-year-old Tommy and 10-year-old Janet, who were sleeping upstairs, were killed, while she and her parents, who were downstairs, survived. 

All that Doughty Madsen remembers was a seeing big red fireball, somehow ending up outside and then being taken away in an ambulance, having no idea what happened.  

Old photos from the Minnesota Historical Society show there was nothing left of the home but charred remains.

Doughty Madsen is grateful that former city council member Mark Kaplan heard the story and then raised private funds for the memorial marker, a 2.5 ton boulder with a cast aluminum plaque.

She said, "Oh I think it's just wonderful after all these years that someone who had no connection at all would go through all this for us."  She said some her memories of her siblings are still fresh and she sometimes wonders why she was the only sibling to survive.  So she's glad others will now remember them too saying, "It just makes me feel good that they're not forgotten."

Dee Ann Lemon made the trip from her home in Ohio to be at the dedication.  She was 8-years-old when she lost her mother, Helen Overlien Hott, a passenger on the plane. 

She found out about the memorial online when she logged on to her computer on March 7th this year, the anniversary of the crash, and 'Googled' it.

She said she and her mother were always together.  But because Lemon was in school, Hott made the trip to Minneapolis to visit relatives without her.  She said her father raised her, with help from her mother's sisters, after the crash.

Lemon said, "You wonder what your life would have been like if this hadn't happened.  But for whatever reason, God has a plan and you just have to trust in that plan."

Also at the dedication were other relatives of victims including was the 99 year old widow of the pilot. 

The memorial marker is at 1114 West Minnehaha Parkway across the street from where the home stood. 

Doughty Madsen said her family moved after the crash.  She says someone else built a new home where her home once stood.

(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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