Willard Surely Coming

by Laurel | September 3rd, 2009

September 3, 1910
Secretary Burgess Closes Up the Arrangements for Flights the 17th.

Diagram of the Curtiss biplane

Diagram of the Curtiss biplane

Secretary George E. Burgess of the Young Men’s Christian association received the contracts from Charles F. Willard, the aviator, yesterday afternoon and it has been definitely decided to have an exhibition of flying at the Highland park, Saturday, the 17th. A committee of 10 has been appointed to have the arrangements in charge and the field will be placed in condition at once. Highland Park, where the flights will be made, is a tract of about 60 acres owned by a corporation which will simplify the task of collecting admissions to the field. The tract is an ideal one for the purpose, the sides of the of the tract rising from the center making of the spot a kind of natural amphitheater. The cost of preparing the field and of bringing Mr. Willard to Holyoke will be considerable but it is estimated that the receipts will settle the bill although it is not probable that any great amount of money will be made. The proceeds of the venture will be devoted to the Young Men’s Christian association.

The committee appointed will meet today and complete arrangements for the meet. Alderman John J. White has been elected chairman of the committee and the balance serving are as follows: Frank H. Metcalf, Frederick A. McLane, Samuel Hoyt, F. F. Partridge, G. E. Burgess, Arthur Ryan, W. P. Kennedy, James J. Dunn and J. W. Fuller. The number of flights to be made at the park has not yet been decided. Mr. Willard will use the Curtliss type of biplane. On his visit to the city recently he looked over the ground where the flights will be made and was pleased with the place. The committee visited the park yesterday and talked over the work to be done. It is probable that those admitted to the park will be provided with tags so that those who have paid for the privilege of witnessing the flight at close quarters can be easily distinguished. There are many details, yet to be arranged and with the event but two weeks away it will mean considerable hard work on the part of the committee.

From The Springfield Republican.

[Note: Imagine the excitement back then! On July 4, 1908, Glenn H. Curtiss, a hometown mechanical genius with a flair for speed made the first pre-announced flight in America of a heavier-than-air flying machine. Two years later, the idea of seeing a biplane fly in Holyoke must have been huge! By the way, if you are interested in the history of flight, I heartily suggest a drive to the Glenn Curtiss Museum, Hammondsport, NY (a short drive from where I now live, about 5 hours or so from Holyoke). Fun museum and there is a fantastic homecoming event in September where you can even get a ride on seaplanes. This year the 6th Annual Seaplane Homecoming is the weekend of Sept 18-20, more information here.]

Diagram courtesy of Educational Technology Clearinghouse, FCIT.

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