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Aviation History in Lima Ohio ~ 1913 Airplane Photo Signed Andrew Drew ~ Collecting Lima

An interesting chapter of Ohio's aviation history happened right here in Lima, Ohio. Being between Dayton, where the Wright Brothers started, and Chicago's famous Cicero Field, Lima was a great location for early aviators and airplane inventors to gather for test flights and exhibitions. Crowds would gather to watch.

In early 1913, Jesse Brabazon opened a new "flying field" just outside of Lima, (which eventually became the Lima Airport). 

The first exhibition flights at this new field were made by pilot Andrew Drew.

Jesse Brabazon

Andrew Drew


Above is a real photo postcard (RPPC) that pictures a group of men and boys intently watching a biplane in flight. 

The pilot was Jesse Brabazon, and the plane is a Wright Model B that had belonged to Calbraith Perry Rodgers:
"The Wright Model B airplane, in which Calbraith Perry Rodgers had crashed and died on April 3, 1912, flying once again. The plane is flying at a Lima, Ohio, exhibition and it is piloted by Jesse Brabazon of Delavan, Wisconsin. 
Brabazon had purchased the Rodgers wreckage, and he advertised and exhibited his rebuilt plane as the Vin Fiz, the famous plane in which Calbraith Perry Rodgers made the first transcontinental flight in 1911. It is more likely that Rodgers crashed in his backup plane, and the backup plane was the wreckage sold to Brabazon." [Source: WisconsinHistory.org]

"The first flight of an airplane In the Lima area occurred on Friday, July 28, 1911, at the old Allen County Fairgrounds, which is now the site of Lima Memorial Hospital and surrounding homes. The pilot was Calbraith Perry Rodgers, a pupil of Orville Wright, in a Model B Wright Biplane with a 35 horsepower engine. Fifty cents admission was charged. Rodgers made three flights that day. He stayed low so that persons outside the grounds could not get a good look at the event without paying an admission." [Source: AllenCountyAirport.com]
Calbraith Perry Rogers went on to fly the first trans-continental flight across the U.S in September 1911. Sadly, he crashed and died in Long Beach, California in April, 1912.

Written on the photo postcard is the inscription:
"Can you read the vaulting ambition in the expression of the backs of this younger generation? / Over here trying out machine for former pupil."
The back of the postcard has a message that reads:
"Thanks for letter - will write you soon - will probably see you in New York before you leave. / Andrew Drew"
The card is postmarked from Lima, Ohio, May 12, 1913.

Sadly, Andrew Drew crashed and died while flying a Wright Model B biplane over the grounds of the Lima State Hospital on June 12, 1913.

Andrew Drew was only 28 at the time of his tragic death. He was born in St. Louis in 1885.

So many of these early pioneer aviators made a lot of history with their many flights in their sadly too-short careers.

The card is addressed to Preston Lockwood Esq. / Editorial rooms / "The World" / New York City.

The addressee was Drew's friend Preston Lockwood (1891-1951) who had just recently become a reporter for "The World". In the 1930s and 1940s, he was an attorney and ran the Brewster Aeronautical Corporation[Source] 

During his career, Drew, always a forceful and vocal proponent of “safe and sane flying,” made more than 1,700 flights in powered aeroplanes.  [Source]
Andrew Drew was a newspaper reporter turned pilot. He worked with the Wright Brothers, and became a noted aviation pioneer. He was one of the founders and first president of the American Aviators Association, and the director of the Cicero Flying Field in Chicago, which holds an important place in aviation history.


Umbrella Plane photos.

More info:

In 1963 a new airport was built on the other side of Lima, but the old hangar building on the original grounds is currently used by WTLW-44.

The Lima State Hospital (for the "Criminally Insane") was under construction from 1908-1915, so the grounds were still open and unpopulated when these flights were going on. The hospital didn't get its first patients until 1915. [Source]

"The facility was originally known as the Lima State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Situated on 628 acres three miles north of downtown Lima, the hospital was constructed between 1908 and 1915. Built at a cost of $2.1 million, it was the largest poured-concrete structure in the country until supplanted by the Pentagon.
For much of its history, Lima State Hospital functioned largely as a warehouse. Patients sometimes staged dramatic protests against the conditions of their confinement, and frequently escaped (more than 300 escapes by 1978). Conditions improved significantly after 1974 as a result of a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of the patients. In its last years, the state hospital was used for the filming of a made-for-television movie about the Attica Prison riots in New York. Starting in 1982, Lima State Hospital became a medium-security prison, the Lima Correctional Institution. The prison closed in 2004, though a smaller prison on the site, the Allen Correctional Institution, remains." -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lima,_Ohio


Note: These items are part of my ''Collecting Lima Virtual Museum''. They are not for sale.

If/when I find more information on these items, I will add it to the post.

Read the Introduction to my ''Collecting Lima'' Virtual Museum Project, all about my Lima Ohio Bottles, Advertising, Antiques collection.

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