First Flight in Georgia: Site of Ben Epps’ Garage

First Flight in Georgia: Site of Ben Epps’ Garage

first-flight-in-georgia-2Year Erected: 2007

Marker Text: Georgia’s pioneer aviator, Benjamin Thomas Epps, was born in Oconee County in 1888. He opened Athens’ first automobile repair garage at this location on East Washington Street in 1907. That same year, nineteen-year-old Epps designed and built his first airplane here – a monoplane with an upright buggy seat, bicycle wheels, and a 35-foot wingspan powered by a fifteen-horsepower French Anzani engine. Its successful flight earned him recognition as the father of Georgia aviation. Epps tested his aircraft and operated a flying service at what is now Athens-Ben Epps Airport. He died of injuries suffered in a plane crash in 1937 at the age of forty-nine.

Erected by the Georgia Historical Society, Athens-Clarke County Government, Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame, and the Epps Cousins Club in 2007.

Tips for Finding This Marker: On East Washington Street in Athens