1.21.2013

An Exciting Beach Find!

Lida & Maurice Weidenthal at Euclid Beach July 1911
In the early 1900’s my great grandfather Maurice and his beloved wife Lida spent many of their summer days on the shores of Lake Erie. (Guess the love for Lake Erie and the beach goes way back in my family!) We have pictures of them at Euclid Beach, where there was a popular amusement park and bathing beach. Gotta love those bathing costumes!
Maurice with two unidentified friends and Annie Firth, an aunt, Euclid Beach 1911
Grandfather William's sister Babette Weidenthal Newman, kneeling back row left, with friends - Euclid Beach, 1911
We don't know if the Weidenthals knew what they were going to see at the beach that August day in 1911, but we have pictures of my grandfather with the famous Atwood Biplane, which landed there for a short time.
William Weidenthal posing with Atwood's famous Biplane  - August 1911 Collection:Weidenthal Family
By then, Harry Nelson Atwood, (1884-1967) a student of the Wright brothers, had become one of America's most celebrated aviators.  An exhibition flyer, he stunned New Yorkers with his daredevil flight among Manhattan's skyscrapers and thrilled the country when he landed his biplane on the South Lawn of the White House.

Harry N. Atwood in flight over the south lawn of the White House in a Wright Model B biplane, July 14,1911 (Smithsonian Institution)
Atwood's 1911 record-setting  flights from Boston to Washington and from St. Louis to New York (1265 miles) August 14 to 25, 1911 brought him international fame.  According to newspaper reports of the time, Atwood landed his Wright biplane on Euclid Beach, in Cleveland, Ohio, on Thursday, August 17th, during his cross-country flight from St. Louis to New York City.
Atwood's Biplane 2 minutes after landing at Euclid Beach  Collection:Weidenthal Family
Flying in from Sandusky, Ohio, he first landed at Edgewater Park, in Cleveland, by mistake, but took off, right away, for Euclid Beach, which was his scheduled stop. Immediately after landing on Euclid Beach, around 5:00 p.m., his manager, Leo Stevens, was served with a claim, by the Standard Oil Company, for an unpaid oil and gasoline bill, which resulted in his biplane being held by the police. However, Atwood was able to fly his biplane out of Cleveland, the next day, at 4:03 p.m., after a bond was given for the claim. Though his intended stop was Erie, Pennsylvania, he decided to land, in a cornfield, near Swanville, Pennsylvania, ten miles west of Erie, due to approaching darkness and a loose brace on his biplane.
The noted aviator, was the guest of honor at a dinner in New York, and on the occasion his eloquent reply to a toast on aviation terminated neatly with these words:
"The aeroplane has come at last, but it was a long time coming. We can imagine Necessity, the mother of invention, looking up at a sky all criss-crossed with flying machines, and then saying, with a shake of her old head and with a contented smile: "'Of all my family, the aeroplane has been the hardest to raise.'"



7 comments:

Gaynor Mann said...

Another wonderfully, enjoyable read!

Jane said...

An amazing bit of history! I grew up near Euclid Beach and have fond memories of it!

Kim V said...

Thank you! I loved reading this!

jewelstreet said...

Love the history lessons! I really like looking at the old clothes.

Marcus Berkner said...

Such cool stories that now flip up in my 'followed blogs' section, thanks Susan.

Chris Stone said...

great pics and great story!

SToNZ said...

This blog post went up in 2011 but I added a few more photos this morning that I found in some family files. (The last two and some news clippings) -Susan

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