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Building the Vision: Credit given to the men who fly the airplanes

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

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Happy Wednesday! Even though it was very cold last night, the weather people have promised "thawing hours" throughout the week.

Back to our quest to raise $3,000,000 by spring so the digging can begin. Thanks to all of you who have invested in this project. As you know, it is not just the satisfaction of knowing that the Civic Center/Museum will benefit everyone in the area immediately; it is the knowledge that people in the distant future will have a place to meet and that an important segment of our past will be preserved. I'm sure you are familiar with those Mastercard commercials that tell the price of several things, then end by giving the price of the most important thing by saying, "Priceless!" So it goes with the Nicholas/Beazley Campaign ... cost of the wedding reception: $2,000; catering the class reunion: $500.00; invitations to the seminar: $200; tickets to the Community Theater's latest dinner and play: $30 ... the opportunity to have a state-of-the-art location to hold an event or a fabulous museum to learn of Marshall's aviation heritage ... priceless!

I grew up on Ellsworth Street, living across from Benton School. Little did I realize, just up the way there was once a hub of activity and production that brought notoriety to the city of Marshall and many of the people in it.

History was made a few blocks from where I grew up, and I am just now (at age 58) learning what all it entailed. Teaching an old dog, as they say.

"Aug. 22, 1929, The Marshall Democrat-News

"Nicholas-Beazley Moving Into New $40,000 Building

"Covering and Doping Department Occupy the Most

"Modern Plant Which Can Be Built

"Nicholas-Beazley Airplane Company is moving its covering and doping departments into the new $40,000 building just completed on the corner of Ellsworth and North Streets. The new building is immediately to the west of the main plant.

"The new building is 50 by 160 feet, and is by far the most expensive of any of the units of the airplane plant. This is made so because of its construction. It has the most modern doping and covering rooms of any such building in the United States, although not the largest.

"Built to the exact requirements of the insurance companies, the building is considered very safe. A ventilation system changes the air every two minutes. This keeps the fumes from the dope, which are quite heavy and under certain conditions highly explosive, out of the inside of the building and also protects the workers, who will become poisoned from the fumes.

"A heating plant will keep the temperature in the doping room at exactly 80 degrees, winter and summer. This is the correct temperature for the most satisfactory jobs. It is expected such coal will be used to hold the 80-degree heat in winter, with the air changing as it does every two minutes. All of the Nicholas-Beazley units will be heated from this plant, low-pressure boilers heating the air which is circulated by fans.

"The new building is well-lighted by long windows of ribbed glass. This special glass prevents vision into the plant, at the same time holding sunlight to a minimum of intensity. The windows are a unit in the safety features of the building. They cannot be locked while work is going on inside and open at the bottom. In case of an explosion, they would merely swing outward, allowing force to pass out without great damage to plant or workers. Installed in a tilted manner, their weight holds them shut. They may be propped open for ventilation."

I am now going to include the following article from The Marshall Democrat-News of July 18, 1929, calling your attention to two major points of interest: the attempt of people in St. Joseph, Mo., to lure the Nicholas-Beazley business from Marshall, and the history of aviation that the speaker provides."Harry F. Block Outlines History of U.S. Aviation

"Too Little Attention Has Been Paid to the Pilots,"

"He Said at the Dinner Here Last Night

"Too much has been said about the financial side and the development side of aviation, and not enough about the men who dared to make the flights which brought the industry to its present high standing," Harry F. Block, St. Joseph, Mo., Missouri governor of the National Aeronautic Association, said Tuesday night at a dinner honoring D. S. (Barney) Zimmerley, Marshall pilot, who recently completed a non-stop flight from Texas to Canada in a Barling NB-3 monoplane. "It becomes a great pleasure to refer to such a man in our midst this evening ... Barney Zimmerley ... and to honor him as one whose feats will go down in history along with those of other famous flyers of America," he said.

"Governor Block, a little, white-haired individual, is a great aviation enthusiast, and his popularity over the state is attested by his having been elected governor of the Missouri chapters of the N.A.A. for four consecutive years. He said had the meeting Tuesday been one at which the charter of the local chapter of the N.A.A. was to have been delivered, and there was nothing else featured, it is probable he would not have been present.

"Mr. Block said he had been to this city on two other occasions. Both of them had been open and above board visits and the business of which was not particularly concealed. He referred to St. Joseph's efforts to get the Nicholas-Beazley plant. "I am glad the citizens of Marshall had vision enough to rally to these two men and help keep them here in Marshall. I feel and believe every man here should expand his chest with pride that they have such a fine airplane plant in Marshall, that they had two men with vision and courage enough to bring war supplies and start the plant which was to play such a large part in the development of commercial aviation, and who were instrumental in bringing such an engineer as Walter H. Barling into Marshall to design and perfect a plane so the world can say that a Marshall ship and a Marshall boy established records to stand along with the other great aeronautical achievements of the world."

"The history of aviation shows startling progress and development," Mr. Block said. It has eliminated isolation, eliminated frontiers, and the word backwoodsman is not longer known in America because of it. The history of aviation is interesting because American boys led in the early stages of its development.

"In 1903, after two or three years of experimental work, two brothers, Orville and Wilbur Wright of Dayton, Ohio, perfected a contraption and on Dec. 17 of that year went to the sand dunes of Kill Devil Hill at Kitty Hawk, N. C., perfected a track, and flew the "ship" 129 feet. After two other flights the same day, the message went out that for the first time a heavier-than-air machine had flown and man had mastered the air," Mr. Block recalled.

"The attempt was looked upon as foolhardy and one New York newspaper refused to publish the "absurd stories of man flying." Through the next four or five years, development was slow. In 1909, the country began to pay attention to aviation and the development of heavier than air machines.

"From the 1903 flight of 600 feet, today we find flights spanning the oceans, linking the United Stated with South American republics, flights from India to England, flights which encircled the globe, and the cross-continental non-stop flights, and now we have one from the border of Texas to Canada, flown by Barney Zimmerley.

"Who would predict twenty-five years ago that such a thing would happen in the city of Marshall?

"There are now more than 60,000 miles of airways flown daily. We talk of air mail in terms of tons. During the last six months more than 200 million dollars have been invested in aircraft securities.

"Again I congratulate the city of Marshall for having had two men in its midst that were able to develop an aircraft industry that is known throughout the country.

"There has been too much said about the financial and development sides of the industry, and too little said about the men who dared to make it possible for these flights to take place. It becomes my great pleasure to refer to such a man in our midst this evening ... Barney Zimmerley. Great records have been made, perhaps some have been considered greater in aviation, but it is my opinion that the flight you have made form Brownsville to Canada and the altitude record you have established will go down in history and take their places among the records of other famous fliers.

"I congratulate you, Barney. Fly on, fly on, and may success crown your efforts and may the hand of fate be kind in guiding your hand to greater achievements."

Building the Vision appears Wednesday.

ANITA WRIGHT, Columnist
Building the Vision