Jim Hester Special Collection
Jim Hester was born to John and Amelia Hester in Rocky Ford, Colorado in 1898. The family operated a cattle ranch there and later in Riverside, CA. After school he served as the Chief Research Engineer for the Edison Company among other jobs but took up an interest in aviation as a hobby. By 1917 Hester was doing aviation full time in Venice CA. He served in the USAAS at Kelly Field, TX briefly during WWI then returned to Venice. He was a test and stunt pilot in the southern California area between 1919 and 1925. Hester was associated with the famous “Black Cats” barnstorming show and was a friend of many of the leading aviators of the time. During this time he worked for the Timm Brothers, Douglas Aircraft, Northrop and various film studios as a stunt flyer. After giving up flying around 1930 Hester owned and electrical and appliance store at 516 Santa Monica Blvd. He and his wife owned and managed a “Dude Ranch” in the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu called Big Oak Basin Ranch. Avid horse riders, the Hester family provided for and maintained many equestrian trails in the mountains around the Los Angeles area.
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