Letter to the Editor: Who was Minta Martin?

Dear Editor,

This article is the second in a series about the names given to buildings at Washington College. In the first article we discussed Clifton Miller, whose name is attached to the recently renovated building, housing the library on the WC campus.

Minta Martin Hall has been housing underclass girls at WC since 1954.

It is, however, rather difficult to find anyone who knows how Minta Martin Hall received a rather different a interesting name.

Speculation has it that the name Minta was that of an Indian princess, a breath mint, and a type of mouthwash or a type of mint used to make the perfect mint julep.

Actually, Minta is none of these. Minta was the mother of Glenn L. Martin, the aviation pioneer. The Martin Company, along with the Lockheed Brothers, were two of the earliest airplane companies in the United States. They were formed in California in 1912 and 1913; Martin was born in Iowa, in 1886.

It is interesting to note that Minta Martin assisted her son in the building of his company by holding a lantern so he could see how to work in his early airplane production facility. She also was an aviation pioneer in her own right. Martin began his interest in aviation at six years of age, when he began building box-kites.

The Martin Marietta Corporation was formed in 1961 through the merger of the Glenn L. Martin Company and the American-Marietta Corporation. In 1995 the company merged with the Lockheed Corporation to create Lockheed Martin.

The Glenn L. Martin Company relocated its plant to Middle, in Maryland from Cleveland, Ohio, in 1928. This relocation was made at the request of the Industrial Board. With the relocation of the Glenn L. Martin Company to Maryland many jobs were added to the Baltimore area workforce.

Glenn L. Martin was very generous with donations to the University of Maryland, where he created the Glenn L. Martin Institute of Technology, which includes the School of Engineering. At the University of Maryland there are the Minta Martin professors who are full professors in the Clark School, all of whom have made significant contributions in their field of research, in various disciplines in engineering. There is also a Minta Martin Distinguished Lecture in Engineering.

Glenn L. Martin maintained a hunting lodge in Kent County for some years, where he was well known in the community. This fact may well account for the naming of Minta Martin Hall, which will be 60 years of age in 2014.

Today the Martin State Airport stands on ground sold to the state of Maryland in 1975. The airport in Middle River, Maryland serves as a General Aviations Reliever Airport and is where the Maryland Air National Guard is located.

Names from the past, Glenn L. Martin and his mother, Minta, live on today, in Maryland due to the generosity of Glenn L. Martin.

Fletcher R. Hall
Washington College ‘63

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