First timer? In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48). I call this “landing.” I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near. I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.
Landing number 2176; A Landing A Day blog post number 604.
Dan: My second USer in a row keeps me at 5/10, thanks to this landing in . . . IL; 40/40 (moved from USer to PSer); 5/10; 8; 149.4.
Here’s my regional landing map, pretty much showing a smack-dab-in-the-middle kind of landing:
My local map:
My watershed analysis shows that I landed in the watershed of the Wolf Creek; on to the Sangamon River (5th hit, making the Sangamon the 157th river on my list of rivers with 5 or more hits); on to the Illinois R (21st hit); to the MM (854th hit):
It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight in:
Here’s a local GE map, showing Street View coverage and the famous orange dude:
And here’s a shot from his perspective:
And yes, there’s more from another perspective (contain your excitement):
Moving right along . . . As you can see from my local landing map, Elkhart is a mere one mile north of my landing. Unfortunately, I really had trouble finding a hook; but since I landed so close, I thought I needed to come up with something.
The Village’s website has this to say about the early history of the town:
Set in a rich history of undeniable fortitude and determination, the residents of Elkhart have a proud heritage. From the Native Americans of the 1700’s to the residents that now call Elkhart their home, legend and local historians have kept a record of the transition of the “Hill” and the fertile prairie beside it.
All who passed this way, the Indian, the explorers, the pioneers, the settlers, were sure to be struck by the unique landscape – a tree covered mound that arose to 777 feet above sea level and the flat prairie land immediately below.
The history of Elk Heart Hill began with the marriage and ensuing family of White Blossom and her husband of the Illini branch of the Kickapoo Indiana Nation. When James Latham, the first white settler arrived in 1819, the “Hill” and surrounding area became known as Elk Heart Grove.
While the website took pains to mention the lucky 7s elevation of the top of the hill, they didn’t mention the elevation of the surrounding prairie:
So the hill rises about 175′ above the prairie. Anyway, here’s the banner of the Village website, showing the Hill:
Time to move to the much larger town located 10 miles east: Mt. Pulaski. I couldn’t figure out what the “mount” part is all about, but Pulaski is after the Polish American revolutionary military hero, Casimir Pulaski.
What caught my eye while searching the internet outside of Wiki is the fact that there’s an interesting historical marker (and mural) in Mt. Pulaski. From Waymarking.com:
Can you read the plaque title? It says: Bi-Plane – Train Race 1910. And here’s what the plaque says:
The historic race between a Wright Brothers bi-plane (2 wings) and an Illinois Central Steam train took place September 29, 1910 from Washington Park in Chicago to the State Fairgrounds in Springfield.
Wilbur Wright was a passenger on the train. Walter R. Brookins piloted the bi-plane. The win established the first airline route in Illinois and won the $10,000 prize offered by the ‘Record Herald’ newspaper.
Two World records were set at this landing – sustained flight of 88 miles plus the record for long distance flight of 169 miles. The bi-plane averaged 33 MPH at the height of 1,000 ft., despite losing 1 wheel at Mt. Pulaski. The open field marking the second refueling of the epoch making flight was owned by F. W. Obermiller.
Kind of funny how the plaque rather casually implies that the bi-plane won; i.e., “The win established the first airline route in Illinois and won $10,000 prize . . .”
More research needed! I found this photo and caption from the book Images of America – Kankakee 1853-1910, by Norman S. Stevens and the Kankakee Historical Society (2004):
Very interesting: Above, it clearly states that the train “won by 30 minutes.” Two accounts of the race, and already there’s controversy!
And here’s more, this time from the Springfield State Journal-Register website (July 2, 2011). The article starts with a photo of the plane in the field outside of Mount Pulaski:
Here’s part of the article:
The plane won the $10,000 prize offered by the Record Herald newspaper of Chicago and established the first airline route in Illinois. Two world records were set: sustained flight of 88 miles and long-distance flight of 169 miles.
[So far, just information on the plaque. But here’s something new:]
It was reported that the train went through Mount Pulaski while the plane was still on the ground. Just think, Wilbur Wright was in Mount Pulaski — for about 120 seconds.
Hmmm. With only 25 miles to go, the train was ahead, and the plane hadn’t even taken off from Mount Pulaski? Seems like another vote for the train.
But the mystery deepens. I went searching for a Chicago Record-Herald newspaper article, but strangely, I could only find an article from the 9/30/10 Los Angeles Herald. There was much detail (I even edited some out), but here are some pertinent excerpts (please read! it’s fun):
BROOKINS GAINS RECORD IN DASH WITH AEROPLANE
Aviator Descends at Springfield and Smashes Schedule for Long Distance Flight
RACES WITH RAILWAY SPECIAL
Thirty Thousand People Throng Fair Grounds When Sky Ship Ends Marvelous Voyage
[Associated Press] SPRINGFIELD, Sept. 29.—Aviator Walter Brookins alighted In the state fair grounds here at 4:27 p.m. today, seven hours and twelve minutes [emphasis mine] out of Chicago, after having sailed his Wright biplane the 187 miles with two stops.
The stops were at Gllman, seventy-five miles from Chicago, at 11:30 a. m., and at Mount Pulaski, 163 miles from the starting point, at 3:20 p. m. The first stop was for water, oil and gasoline; the second for that and because his engine was hot, due to a broken pump.
Brookins broke the American long distance continued flight record and thereby won the $10,000 prize offered by the Chicago Record-Herald.
Brookins reached the fair grounds eight minutes before the station was reached by the Illinois Central fast special train, making seven hours and twelve minutes [emphasis mine] elapsed time from the start in Chicago. The actual flying time was five hours and- forty-four minutes, an average rate of thirty-three miles an hour.
[Hold on! According to the above (see both sets of italics), both the train and the plane took seven hours, twelve minutes!]
MACHINE HOVERS IN AIR
Brookins found difficulty in alighting, because of inadequate policing of the grounds [too many people in the way], and the machine hovered in the air for five minutes later before he could land.
When the train arrived at the grounds, nearly half an hour after the aviator [emphasis mine], Brookins said to a Chicago newspaper man . . . “Where have you been all the time? I got here and have been waiting to lunch with you as I promised. You’ve kept me waiting half an hour.”
[Hmmm. The elapsed times were identical, but the train arrived a half hour after the plane??]
Asked about the flight, he said: “Why, it was nothing but staying up. That’s all. It merely took more time—and that’s about the only difference from a practice flight. I knew I could make it.
“It was one of the prettiest flights I ever made. The country between Chicago and here is delightful. Everywhere I was flying low enough—I went as low as 300 feet several times —I could see the people staring up at me from every acre almost. There must have been three-fourths of a million looking at me.
Wilbur Wright’s only comment was: “I told you so.”
AWAY LIKE PIGEON
The aviator’s left the ground in Chicago without difficulty; circled to test his machine, and then shot away like a homing pigeon to the southwest in the direction of the state capital.
His last words were spoken to Wilbur Wright, the inventor of the air craft: “Goodby, Mr. Wright, I’ll see you in Springfield,” he said.
Half an hour later the Record-Herald special train, crowded with interested spectators, started in pursuit of the aviator [emphasis mine].
[Wait a second! It’s starting to make sense! The train left a half hour later than the plane in Chicago, and arrived a half hour later than the plane in Springfield, and both had identical elapsed times!]
Only water, oil and gasoline stood between Brookins and a continuous flight between Chicago and Springfield. He said when his arms tired, he set the steering apparatus with his knees and rested, and in this way was prepared to travel almost any distance.
In the race with the special flyer on the Illinois Central, which had the right of way over everything, Brookins’ machine fell behind only when it had to rise high. When the airship glided down again it forged ahead and stayed there.
At the first stop in Gilman, Brookins waited for fourteen minutes [emphasis mine] for the train to come up. Brookins descended just beyond Mount Pulaski, which, is 24 miles from Sprlnfleld at 3:20 pm.
[The plane waited for 14 minutes! Well, it had a half-hour head start . .]
He resumed his flight at 3:45 p. m., having been down 25 minutes. The special train was two miles in the rear when the race was renewed.
[So now the two are pretty much neck and neck . .]
Brookins arrived at the state fair grounds at Springfleld at 4:26 pm; the train pulled in at 4:34 [emphasis mine]. They were greeted by an estimated 30,000 people.
Time out. I’m totally confused — all accounts differ and what’s more, the newspaper article is internally inconsistent. Nothing jives with the earlier report that the train passed the plane in Mount Pulaski (or with the report that the train won by a half hour); not to mention that the plaque says that the plane won!
Bottom line: This wasn’t really a race. All that anyone cared about was the plane winning the $10,000 prize for the longest trip without a stop (the 88 miles from Gilman to Mount Pulaski). If I’m a betting man, I’d say that the plane came in 8 minutes before the train, but it was pre-arranged that it would be close, but that the plane would win.
Time for some race pictures. Here are four shots from the Mount Pulaski town website. I’ll start with this of the plane as it was taking off from Chicago:
And here’s one of it taking off from Mount Pulaski:
And this, of Mr. W. Wright and Mr. W. Brookins:
And this great sketch of the scene from the ground:
Enough of the race, and time to close down this post. Of course, I was looking near my landing at GE Panoramio shots, and I saw a shot of an arched bridge. Here’s the GE shot with the Panoramio location highlighted:
Here’s a close-up:
I actually found a write-up on ExploreLoganCounty.com about the bridge:
Just beyond the Elkhart cemetery on County Road 10 east of downtown Elkhart, is the John P. Gillett Memorial Bridge, built in 1915. The bridge was included in Landmarks Illinois’ 2005 ten most endangered historic places in Illinois list.
The arched bridge is one of only two privately owned bridges in the state of Illinois. Originally a wooden bridge built in 1899, it was part of the Oglesby estate. The funeral processional for Governor Oglesby, which included Lincoln’s son Robert, walked across the original bridge.
The bridge was replaced in 1915 with the current concrete, closed-spandrel arch bridge.
Here’s the picture from their website:
And I’ll close with the Panoramio shot of the same bridge, by DPathfinders:
That’ll do it.
© 2015 A Landing A Day