Memorial arch.

Carl Ben Eielson Memorial Arch

Field review by the editors.

Hatton, North Dakota

A square arch with art deco lettering spans the entrance to tiny St. John's Cemetery. The letters spell out the name "Carl Ben Eielson," Hatton's most famous son, a polar explorer and arctic air mail pilot. And, also -- you probably figured this out from the location of the arch -- dead. This is an especially quiet burial ground, but the headstones show that Carl has lots of Norwegian neighbors to keep him company: the Petersons, Jacobsons, Andersons, Nelsons, Platsons, Swensons, Olsons, Hansons, Gullicksons, Tollefsons, Iversons....

Two large bronze plaques on either side of the arch tell Carl's story. He was the first air mail pilot in Alaska (1924) and the chief pilot "over the top of the world" of Sir Hubert Wilkins' 1928 arctic expedition. He died a year later, at age 32, on a mercy mission to Siberia.

Carl was a bona-fide, if now somewhat obscure, hero, and in 1997 he was belatedly inducted into the North Dakota Hall of Fame.

Also see: Sky Kings

Carl Ben Eielson Memorial Arch

St. John's Cemetery

Address:
Hwy 18, Hatton, ND
Directions:
St. John's Cemetery, about a mile north of town on Hwy 18.
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