Cliff Henderson

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Clifford "Cliff" Henderson (1896-1984) was one of the early organizers of the National Air Races, and managed the races from 1928 through 1939.[1] In 1931, he convinced businessman Vincent Bendix to sponsor the Bendix Trophy Race, a transcontinental speed dash open to men and women. Henderson was awarded the L'Ordre de 'Etoile Noire de Benin for his service in WWII as the U.S. Air Force Military Commissioner of Dakar.[2] Henderson and his brother Randall founded Palm Desert, California in the 1940s, envisioning a modern utopia growing from the scrub. He built the Shadow Mountain Club in 1948. With its glamorous figure-eight swimming pool and high-dive competitions, the club drew celebrities, presidents, and future residents.

The National Aeronautic Association presents an annual Cliff Henderson Award for Achievement. The award is given to a living individual or group whose vision, leadership, or skill has made a significant and lasting contribution to the promotion and advancement of aviation or space activity.

Henderson was married to actress Marian Marsh. Many of Henderson's personal papers are stored at the Western Reserve Historical Society.


  1. ^ Harry Bruno (1944) Wings over America, page 323, Halcyon Press
  2. ^ Sport Aviation: 66. March 1977.  Missing or empty |title= (help)