Dale Mabry Highway honors the pioneer aviator from Florida who tragically passed away in 1922

Hillsborough County is full of inspiring, iconic, and interesting places, and there are remarkable people behind them. In this occasional series we explore namesakes of some of the county's well-known buildings, parks, and roads.

Dale Mabry Highway daytime

Who was Dale Mabry?

Mabry, 1891-1922, was a pioneer aviator. A captain with command of the U.S. Army's 10th Balloon Company in World War I, he returned home to Florida after the hostilities but remained in the military service. He was at the wheel of Airship Roma in a test flight over Norfolk, Va., when the dirigible's steering failed and the aircraft crashed on Feb. 21, 1922. Mabry and 33 other men aboard the aircraft died. It was the worst tragedy in the young history of American aeronautics.

Why name a road for him?

At the dawn of aviation, pilots were revered. When the first segment of a road connecting Drew Field (now the site of Tampa International Airport) with MacDill Field (now MacDill Air Force Base) was completed in the early 1940s, it was named in honor of Capt. Dale Mabry. Mabry Elementary School, 4201 W. Estrella St., in South Tampa, also honors the aviator.

About Dale Mabry Highway

The north-south road is the longest road in Tampa, stretching from the Air Force base north into Pasco County. Dale Mabry Highway is a key artery for daily commuters, linking South Tampa with Carrollwood, Lutz, Land O' Lakes, and other communities. The road borders Raymond James Stadium, George M. Steinbrenner Field, and the original Hillsborough Community College campus.

Last Modified: 1/30/2024, 2:42:45 PM

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