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NEWS OF 150 YEARS AGO

July and August of 1859

St. Louis was early involved in the history of aviation. The St. Louis connections of Charles Lindbergh and his airplane flight across the Atlantic in the Spirit of St. Louis in 1927, and, more recently, of Steve Fossett and his solo around-the-world balloon flight in 2002 (Washington University housed his mission control) are well-known. The following articles show that this history extends back to before the Civil War.

From The Missouri Democrat, Saturday, July 2, 1859.

The Grand Experimental Air Voyage to the Atlantic Coast.

PARTICULARS OF THE ENTERPRISE.

THE START YESTERDAY FROM WASHINGTON SQUARE.

MINUTE ACCOUNT OF THE PROCEEDINGS.

BROOKS ESCORTS THE PARTY INTO THE UPPER REGIONS.

Yesterday afternoon, according to previous announcement, the first grand experimental air voyage took place from Washington Square. A portion of the Square had been fenced in for the occasion-permission having been granted for that purpose by the City Council.

ORIGIN OF THE IDEA OF AERIAL NAVIGATION.

About a year since, Mr. O. A. Gager, of Vermont, made a balloon ascension in company with Mr. John La Mountain, at Rochester, New York. Mr. Gager's observations at the time suggested to him the idea of making a long voyage through the air. A study of the currents of the upper deep, led Mr. Gager to believe that advantage might be taken of certain currents by which a voyage could easily be made from west to east for any distance.

Click here to read the complete article.

 

It's the holiday weekend, so let's go out of town! These railroad ads show that city folks of 1859 had the same desires for holiday recreation as we do today. The bottom ad promotes the balloon launch described above.

From The Missouri Democrat, Saturday, July 2, 1859.

 

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