Sunday, March 2, 2003

New stamp to honor the Wrights' first flight

Bicentennial notebook

By Randy McNutt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

DAYTON - A century after their historic first manned, powered flight, Orville and Wilbur Wright will be honored with a postage stamp.

It will show Orville flying over the Outer Banks' sandy hills against a blue sky.

The stamp will be introduced 11 a.m. May 22 at the Modern Flight Hangar at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton. Souvenir sheets of 10 stamps each will go on sale May 23. The stamp comes in time for Dayton's Inventing Flight celebration in July and Ohio's bicentennial.

Dayton is an official "host" for the 37-cent stamp, which will be simultaneously issued in North Carolina, where the Wrights first flew their airplane - a 40-foot, 605-pound biplane with a four-cylinder engine - on Dec. 17, 1903. The plane was conceived and built in Dayton.

The brothers continued to work in Dayton. The post office became an early supporter of the Wrights' new business - making airplanes.

Not surprisingly, the federal government was slow to catch on to the advantages of the airplane. In 1905, the War Department rejected (three times) the Wright brothers' offers to share their scientific discoveries.

But the old Post Office Department was more farsighted, starting its first mail flight in 1911 on Long Island. By 1912, 52 experimental airmail flights occurred in more than 25 states. In 1918, the first regular airmail service went into operation between New York and Washington, D.C. The early postal planes used no instruments, radios or navigation equipment.

Cost of an airmail stamp was 24 cents, expensive in those days.


CROSBY TOWNSHIP - In Hamilton County, Crosby Township Bicentennial Day will be held 1-7 p.m. May 18 at Stricker's Grove amusement park on Ohio 128. The township is celebrating its own 200th birthday as well as the state's this year.

The Bicentennial/Memorial Day Parade will begin at 2:30 p.m. May 25, assembling at the senior center and marching to New Haven Cemetery.

More activities will be held 7-9 p.m. May 31, when the bicentennial committee hosts a big band concert with recording artist Pam Noah. It is sponsored by the CrossWay Community Church at the senior center.

The bicentennial events will end June 1 with breakfast and activities.

Information: Tony Torres, 738-0373.


FAIRFIELD - The city will kick off its Ohio bicentennial celebration this month at the 19th-century Elisha Morgan Mansion on Ross Road. The city-owned mansion is Fairfield's premier historic building.

Author James Cash of Kettering will speak at 7:30 p.m. March 19 about Ohio's presidents. He wrote about them in his book Unsung Heroes.

The free talk is open to the public.

An Ohio historical marker was installed Saturday to commemorate the mansion.

Information: Jim Bell, 867-5348.


WEST CHESTER - Andrew Cayton, author of a new Ohio history, will speak to the Southeastern Butler County Chamber of Commerce at its annual dinner March 7 in West Chester.

Cayton, a history professor at Miami University, will talk about Ohio's past, present and future. His new book is Ohio: The History of a People, published by The Ohio State University Press. (Information: (614) 292-6930.) Chamber: 777-3600.


WOOSTER - The Secrest Arboretum will build a 1,600-foot paved walkway to celebrate the bicentennial.

It will be called the Ohio Bicentennial Walkway and cost $150,000, paid for through donations.

The arboretum, at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, will be ready in time for BioHio2003, the biennial open house of Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The open house will July 18-20. About 40,000 people are expected to tour the 85-acre arboretum campus.

Information: Butler County extension office, 887-3722.

Bicentennial Notebook runs periodically. Send items to Randy McNutt, the Enquirer, 7700 Service Center Drive, West Chester, OH 45069. Telephone: 755-4158. Fax: 755-4150. E-mail rmcnutt

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