Building the Vision: Groundbreaking planned for civic center/museum

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

If you happen to be driving south on highway 65 (business), past the Marshall Municipal Airport, look over toward the entrance and you will see an eye-catching sign that says "Future Site of Marshall Civic Center and Nicholas/Beazley Museum." You will also see a chain-link fence running east/west. That fence marks the perimeter of the civic center/museum. Now, check out that site in a couple of weeks and you will see that ground has been broken! Yes ... ground is soon to be broken for the Shirley Nightwine Martin Civic Center/Nicholas-Beazley Airplane Museum!

So much work has been done by so many dedicated individuals who have believed in the project from its inception, and now the vision is becoming a reality. The capital campaign, however, is marching on. More than ever ... your help is needed. The goal is to begin the use of the center/museum Debt-Free. If that goal is achieved, then the only costs to the patrons will be for the actual activities and rentals ... not residual costs for the building itself. Please continue to support the project with your generous donations and pledges. Remember, we are a 501(c)3 organization, NAP credits are available, and your gifts can be spread out over a period of time to be determined by you.

I have been excited about writing this week's column because of the two pieces of news that I have to bring. In addition to the up-coming ground-breaking announcement, I will turn your attention to the upcoming Corn Husking/Homecoming Parade to be held in Marshall on Friday, Sept. 29. There are many reasons for planning to attend that event ... like the many class reunions being held (my 40th!) and the celebration of our annual Corn Husking Festival ... the preservation of a nearly-lost skill. But in addition ... the Building the Vision Project planners have arranged to enter a float in the parade. This is exciting news because everyone who hasn't yet had the opportunity will now be able to see the FLEA! A flea on a float, you ask? Yes! This flea, however is a tiny, early, home-made airplane built by young Jake VanDyke, grandson of Mrs. C.M. Buckner of Marshall, in the "privacy" of his family's barn. Although Jake lived in Williamsburg, Mo., the flea ended up in Marshall and Jake took his one-and-only daring flight at the old Marshall airfield.

Is the plane flight-worthy now? Yes. Well ... there are those who may question whether or not it was EVER flight-worthy, but Jake did fly it, and lived to tell the story. Glory be to Jake ... glory to his strong will ... and glory to his VISION that is part of what made aviation what it is today. Come see the flea!

We may currently have our Santa Fe Trails Days, Corn Husking Festival, Christmas Parade, and other special occasions here in Marshall, but probably no amount of enthusiasm can surpass that of two aviation events held here in the past.

The first one was announced in an article in The Marshall Democrat-News dated dated June 22, 1924:

"To Give Free Airplane show

"Marshall Merchants Will Provide Aerial Thrillers

"Next Wednesday Afternoon .... Parachute Leap

"One of the largest crowds in Marshall in many months is anticipated June 28 for an airplane show. Marshall, through the generosity of a number of its business houses, will invite the public to attend a big, free airplane show here on Wednesday of next week. A great number of genuine thrillers are promised. These will be staged in the afternoon.

"The exhibition will include bomb dropping, many daring stunts performed in mid air, such as wing walking, the performer's hanging by his teeth from the ship, etc. The exhibition will be concluded with a thrilling parachute leap from the ship.

"All of the show except the bomb dropping will take place directly over the city. Marshall merchants don't want you to miss this big treat, as the two fliers come well recommended, and with the reputation of putting on a real show."

I find it comforting that the bomb-dropping did not take place over our fair city!

Now here's a promotion by Marshall merchants from the past that the current Chamber might want to consider for this up-coming Holiday Season. Talk about the "Mother of All Give-Aways" .... this could be it!! The following article appeared in The Marshall Democrat-News in November, 1928:

"Merchants to Have "Airplane Shower" Here

"Turkeys, Geese, Chickens and Merchandise

"To Be Given Away Saturday, November 24

"Marshall merchants and business men have made arrangements for an "airplane shower" here Saturday, November 24. Turkeys, ducks, geese, chickens, and merchandise will be given away.

"The Marshall Flying School will furnish the airplane pilots. the airplane will circle the court house and the event will be distributed over the four sides of the square. Everyone will have an opportunity to secure their Thanksgiving dinner as well as merchandise free of cost.

"The "shower" will take place at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Previous to this and following it merchants will have special merchandise on sale and are issuing special invitations for residents of the county to come to Marshall and trade on that day and take part in the program.

"It is expected many people will welcome the opportunity of securing this free merchandise. Two persons will be in the plane. One will be the pilot and the other someone to throw the objects out. It should be no trouble to pick up something worth while during the time presents are being scattered.

"Any merchant who cares to offer merchandise free that day are requested to get in touch immediately with any member of the civics committee of the Chamber of Commerce. This committee is composed of W.P. Thomas, W. Y. Lockridge, G.H. Fuller, R. M. Thompson, Paul Groeschel, and John R. Hall."

Check this out ...

After reading the promotional article for the "Shower," I visualized poultry falling from the air, landing on the lawn (or people) around the courthouse. Following the "unusual" event, the following article appeared in The Marshall Democrat-News:

"Scramble for Prizes at Airplane Shower

"The Fact That Blanks Are Among Good

"Warrants Cause Many A Run To Go For Naught

"The airplane shower Saturday resulted in one grand scramble. From the time the first bunch of warrants calling for fowls and merchandise was thrown from the plane, interest was high.

"There was a high wind which was augmented by the blast from the propeller. This current of air carried the small pieces of paper high into the air and they sailed far and wide. Many of them flew over the business buildings and into the streets and alleys beyond.

"Those which fell on the square were followed by a howling bunch of boys and men who went into a pile when the paper finally came to earth. It was no occasion for girls and women. A number of the warrants landed in the trees and when the wind failed to dislodge them, boys and men clambered up and secured them.

"The warrants calling for prizes were mixed with blanks and whenever the bottom man extracted himself from under the pile of humanity and found that he had a blank piece of paper in his hand, indignation was clearly written upon his features.

"However, it was all taken good naturedly and there were few mix-ups among the smaller boys."

Building the Vision appears on Wednesday.