airplanes & other airborne things
in & around table rock
from 1888 - a balloon & nitroglycerine & a signet ring,
or so they surmised
This story reportedly appeared in the September 21, 1888 Courier Tribune of Seneca, Kansas, available at the Seneca library. The Pawnee Republican reportedly does not mention the event. The article, as transcribed by Linda Antholz Kirkland:
A party of young ladies and gentlemen of Pawnee City, who were hurriedly driving home from Table Rock amid the terrific crash and ceaseless flashing of an electrical storm on Wednesday night a week ago, were spellbound by a sight of such enthralling beauty and bloodcurdling terror as is only supposed to exist in the imagination of the romancer.
FROM 1897 - a mysterious airship
The June 12, 1975 edition of the Argus reprinted an article from the April 16, 1897 edition. Editor's note: the original no longer exists, but I have had it in my hands, and this transcription is the real deal.
If you Google this subject, you will find that there were many such stories around the Midwest from this time period. They are generally called fraudulent. Of interest in assessing this particular one is that not a single local person's name is mentioned.....
in 1918 - an airplane flying over was a mystery
This article is not from Table Rock, but it shows the mind set of the time when airplanes were new. The December 6, 1918 edition of the Humboldt Standard reported:
Those of us who were privileged to witness the spectacle were surprised Tuesday to see an airplane leisurely though swiftly plow its way through the air just over our heads. The plane was traveling on a southeasterly course, but where it was coming from or going to is a mystery.”
The article concluded with a prediction that someday such an event might not be so unusual.
aviator believed to have been
art smith visits table rock & area
art smith -- is he the man in the center in the table rock picture above? you decide
a little about art smith
Background about Art Smith from a book review on Amazon.com. (The book cover is above.)
In 1910, pioneer aviator Art Smith was as celebrated as any movie star might be today. He thrilled audiences with his barnstorming feats, doing dives, "death spirals," sky writing and "loop-de-loops," and night flights using phosphorus
He was a consummate showman and had he not died in 1926, his name probably would be familiar to most Americans.
He glamorized and popularized aviation while testing the boundaries of aeronautical principles.
As a young man he longed to fly before he had ever seen an airplane. His parents believed in him, and he was fortunate to have a best friend named Al Wertman who helped him build an airplane.
His fame spread around the globe and in 1916, the Japanese offered him USD 10,000 for a series of exhibitions. His flying skills inspired a young Wiley Post to a life of aviation. And after Smith's death, when Lindbergh flew over Fort Wayne and dipped his wings, he gave credit to the "Bird Boy" Art Smith.
The story of this rising star in American aviation is one of adventure, romance, scandal and history. Using Smith's own autobiographical writings, the story is also a factual account of events in early aviation. The book includes photographs and postcards in Art Smith's own handwriting mailed to Al Wertman.
art smith was INDEED at table rock
Chapter 7 focuses on the year 1912; it begins on page 48. In his early days of aviation, he was attempting to win the favor of the father of the girl he loved. He did not want his daughter to marry an aviator. Art began to have success; after a small carnival in Iowa, he put on an exhibition in Overland Park, Kansas, where he used a skill he had earned earlier. At 3,000, he shut off his engine and glided down; the audience was stunned, believing they were witnessing an impending crash and when he soared up instead, applauded for five minutes.
The narration continues:
The narration continues:
After Kansas City, Art flew at numerous county fairs and small carnivals. After a time, he simply listed the locations – Beauregard, Montana; Table Rock, Nebraska; Clifton, Kansas; Clinton, Montana; and “a dozen other places.” He struggled with “small-town ideas of an aviator’s needs. In Havelock, Nebraska, he was shown a 50x100 foot vacant lot surrounded by buildings that would have been an inadequate landing spot for even a balloon. [Havelock is now a neighborhood in Lincoln. In 1912, it was a bustling community that was home of the Burlington Railroad shops. It was four miles from Lincoln, and connected with it by electric car service that ran every half hour.
1920s-mid 1930s, an airplane in the yard
Photo 3395, an airplane next to a farmhouse. It was taken by Lou Fencl of Table Rock, whose photo album with pictures from the late 1920s to the mid 1930s is in the museum. Dave Lang saw this and gave the name of someone, saying he was the first in Pawnee County to have an airplane and nobody else had one for a very long time.
local men served in the
army air corps/airforce in world war 2
Table Rock lost three men in plane crashes. In 1944, Joe Karas, Jr., the pilot of a B-24 bomber died in a raid over Vienna. In 1945, Lavelle Giles, who was on the crew of a B-17 bomber, died in a raid over Germany. In 1945, Arlan Kalina -- a Marine died in a crash at a Florida air base. Others served and returned.
april 30, 1949 - f-84 thunderjet crash north of table rock
Two Thunderjets were traveling from Michigan to Nevada. They had just stopped at Offutt Airforce base in Omaha to refuel. They met with a storm so violent that they attempted to turn around and return to Omaha. One plane, piloted by by Lt. Marcell Webb, made it back. The other, piloted by 30-year-old Captain James Cates, crashed in mid-turn, ending up in a field between Elk Creek and Table Rock.
This crash happened on my Grandpa, J.C. Layden's, farm at that time. Unsure, but that might be my dad & Grandpa & Grandma Layden in the first picture. Grandpa told how they found only a couple very small body parts of the pilot at the site.
We lived in the same section it happened. Thought we heard the crash and explosion. In the middle of a thunderstorm one boom was really loud.
details of the incident
In 2000, Kim asked for and received government documents relating to the crash and compiled them in a booklet. The booklet and a small piece of the plane found in the field are in the Veterans Museum.
If you want to read more, here are the materials compiled by kim vrtiska
2018 - the airplane train
Photo 6742 by Daric Sitzman, Violet Boshart riding the airplane train at the Table Rock Fair in 2018. Her grandpa Richard Sitzman and her uncle Robert Sitzman built the first cars years ago for their own children, and then added one for Rachel. it has been a popular addition to the fair in 2017 and 2018.
table rock from the air
What does it look like from up there? Check out this page!
stories -- air mail....
From Lori Vrtiska Seibl, Facebook 2018:
Another story dad told me recently......there was a man who delivered newspapers via airplane!
I don't remember it at all cuz I grew up over at Burchard on a farm but, I do know who it probably was. Jr. Erismans Dad, who lived north of Humboldt. Jr. talked about it & it was interesting. I believe he said he helped his dad wrap up the newspapers so he could throw them out of the plane. His name was Claude Erisman.