While camping in Guadalupe Mountains National Park this past July, we decided to explore the area during the hottest part of the day (typically noon-5pm) in order to find refuge from the heat.
It was during one of those days that my husband took me to Sitting Bull Falls within the Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico (about 1.5-hour drive) for my birthday. The man knows I love water and love to swim and we were smake dab in the middle of a desert, and yet he found water!
After spending several hours at the falls, he asked what I wanted to do next, which I replied that I wanted to explore! We decided to explore the national forest and do some geocaching while we were at it!
As we were exploring we came upon this very peculiar statue. Turns out, it was a monument to the flying paper boy!
History of the Flying Paper Boy Monument
The flying paper boy monument, which is located in Queen, New Mexico is a tribute to Frank Kindel.
Before the cyber age when people lived in worked in remote regions of the United States they relied on people like Kindel to drop newspapers from the sky in their gusty fliers. Much of what we think of as paper boys today that would deliver newspapers on their bicycles.
Kindel migrated with his family to the region in 1898 where as a boy he herded sheep. In later years he became a member of the Carlsbad City Council, a director for the Chamber of Commerce and a leading promoter the nearby Carlsbad Caverns. However, his greatest love was flying his single engine, two-seater aircraft all over the country.
He regularly flew newspapers out to remote ranches up until the time of his death.
Kindel was small man, barely more than five feet tall, and in later years sported a white mustache. Makes you wonder if this was another reason he was given the term paper boy, aside from the obvious.
Kindel was 71 years old when his Piper PA-12 Cub made its final flight. On that fateful Sunday, he was carrying a Presbyterian minister (Reverend Plapp) from the nearby ruins of Queen to conduct early Sunday morning services for church campers in the mountains.
Shortly after takeoff, his plane stalled as he was circling to land for reasons unknown. The airplane hit the ground and skidded some 50 feet before coming to rest in a clearing some 200 yards from the airstrip. The wreckage then exploded into flames.
The minister was thrown from the plane and survived, however, Kindel met his fate that day. It was believed that Kindel suffered a heart attack, but the autopsy was inconclusive. Reverend Plapp passed away in 1998.
According to internet stories, since Kindel’s death a Carlsbad doctor, T. E. Hauser, had taken up his annual chore of dropping papers by plane to hunters in the Guadalupe Mountains.
The plaque on the monument reads:
In Memoriam Frank A. Kindel
The Flying Paper Boy Of The Guadalupes
October 30, 1892 – May 31, 1964
Whatever propelled Frank A Kindel through life left an undiminishing wake.
Whether riding his unicycle in a parade, greeting and entertaining visitors to his community or dropping newspapers from his Piper Cruiser to ranchers and hunters in these Guadalupe Mountains he lived a life of service dedicated to his family, his community and his fellow man.
On his last day in life, he flew the Rev. Willis E. Plapp to this site to conduct sunrise services for members of the Pecos Valley Trail Ride.
The services were the last for Frank. He flew across the great divide into eternity when his plane crashed near this spot in the Lincoln National Forest.
Our Thoughts & Tips
If you are in the area, you should definitely stop by, just keep a look out because it is easy to miss. While you are there visit the old Queen Cemetary just down the road from it. We also suggest visiting 5 Points Vista for an amazing view of the area.
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A FULL TANK OF GAS!! There are NO gas stations anywhere. There use to be a gas station in Queen (and it even shows there is one on google maps) however, they stopped selling gas years ago due to the fact that it would evaporate quicker than they could sell it.
Also take water and snacks. Again there are no gas stations or grocery stores and if you plan on making a day trip out of it, make sure to also pack a lunch, snacks, and drinks!
Directions & Information
North of Carlsbad on US Hwy 285 to Hwy 137 (Queen Rd/Hwy). Turn west and head toward Queen at every fork in the road. The monument is 36 miles west from US Hwy 285, inside the Lincoln National Forest, just past the Guadalupe Christian Camp, on the right hand side. Almost to the Texas border, but there’s no way to get to it from Texas.