Thursday, January 22, 2015

Back when a single airplane flying over delighted Utahns

                                  One of the air shows at Hill Air Force Base.

RESIDENTS in Northern Utah commonly see aircraft fly over, but almost a century ago it was far different.
“One of racing airplanes passes over Ogden, causing a craning of many necks” was an Oct. 13, 1919 headline in the Standard-Examiner.
Major Harry Smith flew his gray plane over Ogden that morning on his transcontinental trip that would also fly over Salt Lake City and eventually reach San Francisco.
Smith was the first to fly a route along the Union Pacific railroad tracks. Thus, he exited Weber Canyon and then veered northwest into Ogden at about 115 mph.

                               Hill Air Force Base Air Show.

Most residents heard the “whirr” of the airplane’s motor long before they spotted it and were delighted at the sight.
“Flying to Salt Lake in twenty-one minutes is a big deal and his mark will no doubt stand for some time,” The Standard story reported.
It apparently wasn’t the first time some residents had seen an airplane, but Smith’s visit was an unexpected one.
In other historical notes:
-“Road to peak held feasible” was an Aug. 13, 1920 Standard headline.
Ogden Mayor Frank Francis and other area leaders had recently taken an automobile trip from Huntsville toward Mount Ogden and as far as the south edge of Wheeler Basin.
“It was our opinion that without great difficulty a road could be constructed that would lead to the saddle just below Mount Ogden,” Mayor Francis stated. “From there  to the summit would be a delightful jaunt.”
Ogden leaders seemed desperate in that era to attract more tourism.
Of course, that road was never built, but decades later, Snow Basin Ski Resort did develop dirt roads that today do access the summit of Mount Ogden.
-“Automobiles without lights” was a May 31, 1911 Standard headline.
In those early years of autos, an increasing Ogden area problem was driving the machines at night with no lights.
Several accidents were reported from this deficiency and some arrests had been made.
A lack of speed limits was another shortcoming.
In addition, the Standard reported on July 19, 1915 that all autos on the road needed state license numbers.
The minimum fine for not so doing was $5 and W. Adams of Layton was the latest to be arrested and fined. The confusion of the day was that some purchased their autos outside the Ogden area and because they paid no tax here, mistakenly believed they didn’t need to pay for a license here.

(-Originally published on-line and in print in the Ogden Standard-Examiner on January 22-23, 2015, by Lynn Arave.)

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