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Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014

Building the Vision: Wonder of flight changed Marshall community

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

I have returned to good old Marshall after spending a week in Las Vegas visiting my cousin and wife. Sorry to say, but I did not hit the jackpot there, except to have some time to visit about past good times and catch up on a little family history. I've learned that it is good to do that before the older family members are "gone" and the younger ones can't even identify people in the family pictures from the past, much less tell about the "good old days." As we know, experiences we have in our everyday lives play into what happens to us next, and I found myself reflecting on flying as I soared through the air on Southwest Airlines toward my desert destination. I thought of Nicholas and Beazley and their vision ... as well as others like them ... and the contributions they made to the conveniences we now enjoy. While in Vegas, I chartered a helicopter to fly over Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. All I can say is that those early pilots were brave ... if not a bit foolhardy ... to trust their lives to the mystery of flight!

I also reflected on the importance of recognizing the contributions of our predecessors and recording it in some way so those who follow us will realize what came before. The Shirley Nightwine Martin Civic Center-Nicholas/Beazley Airplane Museum should accomplish that goal along with providing educational opportunities for our students and opportunities to gather in both small and large groups for all of us. NAPS credits are still available so that your giving will not only benefit the civic center/museum project but also benefit your pocketbook. Please call the N-B headquarters to inquire ... (660) 886-2630.

I have a weakness for nostalgia, and as I pore through newspaper articles from the Nicholas/Beazley era, I find myself drawn particularly to the items which give a little insight to what life was like in by-gone days. Look at these articles about parties and happy times from the 20's in Marshall:

The Marshall Democrat-News, 1929:

"Children Turn Out to Welcome Old Santa Claus

"Between 2,000 and 3,000 Are Present to Meet

"Jolly Gentleman This Afternoon

"Between 2,000 and 3,000 children living in Saline County were in Marshall this afternoon to greet Santa Claus when he arrived about 1:30 o'clock. The children completely filled the east half of the Court House lawn.

"Santa, ever smiling and jovial, presented each child with a big sack of candy... real Christmas candy, the kind that one must suck on a long time to consume it. The children were paraded through a chute and every child received his share.

"Santa Claus came over the air lines, leaving Springfield just a short time before he arrived in Marshall. He landed at the Nicholas-Beazley Airport and was escorted into town where the parade was joined by the Marshall Boys Band. Music from the band was the first intimation that Santa had arrived and was the signal for many yells from the boys, squeaks from the girls, and talking by the older boys and girls.

"Santa distributed his candy on the east side of the Court House lawn."

The First Baptist Church was as active in 1929 as it is today ... making an opportunity to reach out to the community, especially those who might be looking for a church home or for Christian fellowship, or just to hear the "word."

The Marshall Democrat-News, June 6, 1929:

"Services for Flying School

"Baptist Church Having Special Meeting for Pupils Sunday Night

"Last year a special service was held at the First Baptist Church for the Marshall Flying School. A similar service will be held next Sunday night, June 9. Invitations will be sent to all the instructors and students. The service will center about the theme of aviation, the subject of the talk by the pastor being, "Altitude Records." A large orchestra will furnish the music. A social hour with the serving of light refreshments will follow the service. A special section will be reserved for the officers, instructors, students and friends of the Marshall Flying School. The response last year was gratifying, with about one hundred in attendance."

It appears that the Marshall Flying School students were offered several opportunities to socialize. Notice the wording and the emphasis on "above-board" entertainment and behavior.

The Marshall Democrat-News , June, 21, 1928:

"Not a Private Dance

"The dance sponsored by the Marshall Flying School for its students, instructors, employees of the Nicholas-Beazley Company and others will not be a private affair, but will be given in connection with the public dance at Gorrell's Park (located at the north ends of Lafayette, Jefferson and Odell streets, i.e. north of the present Slater Street) Thursday night, June 21.

"Peppy music will be furnished by Higdon's orchestra and the officials of the flying school say the dance will be properly chaperoned.

The Marshall Democrat-News, March 14, 1929

"Nicholas-Beazley Gives Party

"A party was given Wednesday evening at the Elks' Club rooms for the employees of the Marshall Flying School and the Nicholas-Beazley Motor Co., and their lady friends.

"Cards and dancing were the diversions. An orchestra from their own organization with the assistance of a few town boys furnished the music. About one hundred and fifty were in attendance. Sandwiches and punch were served. These parties will be given each month.

Check this out ...

Aviation was helpful in unexpected ways, it seems. Imagine this incident happening now:

The Marshall Democrat-News, Nov. 21, 1929:

"Airplane Gives Fire Alarm

"Zooming Over Blazing Farm Home It Notifies Owner

"And now comes a fire alarm from the sky.

"An airplane with an unknown pilot sent an alarm down to a South Howard County farmer last week, informing him that his house was on fire and attracting the attention of neighbors who come in to help put out the blaze.

"This is the first time in Central Missouri where an airplane has been put to such use so far as is known. Friday noon Roy Boggs, who lives six miles east of Boonville on Highway No. 40, heard an unusual commotion above his house. An airplane was zooming low, its exhaust exploding and making lots of noise, according to The Boonville News.

"Mr. Boggs went outside to see what was the cause of all the unusual noise. He discovered there was cause enough ... and right at his own home. His house was afire.

"By that time the neighbors, who had also heard the noise of the airplane, had arrived. Upon seeing this, the pilot headed his plane back onto its course and disappeared. The neighbors helped remove furnishings from the house but were unable to save the building. The loss was partly covered by insurance.

"The airplane which gave the fire alarm was probably a mail or passenger plane flying in its regular course along the Kansas City-St. Louis air line."

Building the Vision appears on Wednesday.

ANITA WRIGHT, Columnist
Building the Vision