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  • Writer's pictureLawrence Lore

1st Plane in the County

Recently LCHS received a postcard image (see below) labeled “1st Plane to Come to Lawrence County “. A researcher, specifically John King, believes the article on page 1 of the Lawrenceville Republican August 31, 1916 describes the event.

Apparently, Lawrenceville wanted to have the biggest Labor Day celebration in the history of the county. The program would begin in the morning with a big parade. At least 25 floats, divided into three kinds, fraternal, industrial and novelty were in the line- up. There would be concerts, and auto races around the square. . . in high gear. The A. L. Maxwell Co would put on some special stunts with autos, such as having a car go without a driver.

In the afternoon there would be a Fat Man’s Race, a Havolines vs Robinson ball gave, a Farmer’s Smoking Race, sack races for the boys, and a motorcycle race starting at the grove going around by way of Bridgeport and ending at the grove. Then an electrical milking demonstration at Stansfield Dairy. In the evening there would be another band concert and fireworks.

However, the highlight of the afternoon would be 2 aeroplane exhibitions. A contract had been signed with Howell Aviation Co. of Chicago and the aviator, Harry Crowdson. This would cost the city $500 but altitude climbs, spiral dives, spectacular drops, half drops, ocean waves, Dutch rolls, and a demonstration of bomb dropping were promised. The newspaper noted that it would be the first aeroplane exhibition ever brought to this country, and would be the biggest sensation of the year. Very few people in the county had even seen an aeroplane.

The next week, the Lawrence County News reported " . . . at 3 o'clock the aeroplane made its flight. This proved the real attraction of the day and thousands of people were given their first view of the aircraft that is proving its worth in the great European war. The flight was a decided success, the aviator looping the loop and rising to a height of more than 2,000 feet."

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