Lincoln Beachey
Lincoln Beachey
Collection of Shellie Brodie Nelson, 3-4-06

Editor's Note: The photo above of Lincoln Beachey was kindly shared with us by Shellie Brodie Nelson, the great- grandaughter of pioneer aviator Otto Brodie. It is one of some 200 photos which recently came into her possession. I invite you to visit his website by clicking on his name above and enjoy the slideshow she is assembling which already displays about 35 unique photographs from his collection.
     I have delayed building a page for Lincoln until just now because there are already so very many excellent websites which cover his story, I thought that another one would have been redundant. However, in order to make this beautiful photograph available to our online community, I decided to at least place this very limited and simple one to the net.


Three Companies of Infantryumen and Naval
Reserves To Participate in Programme
-----Mimic War Maneuvers.
        Appreciating to the full the position of confidence and trust in which Glenn H. Curtiss is held by the Unites States government, Adjutant General William A. Verbeck and the militia heads at Albany have granted permission to three companies of the 3rd Infantry Regiment, stationed at the Rochester Armory, to participate in The Herald Meet next week, and plans proposed by Captains Couchman, Chorman and Trimble have already been approved. The local division of the Naval Militia will also take part in the sensational programme.
      Companies A. G. and H will move on Crittenden Park next Thursday morning carrying with them full camp equipment, including the hundreds of tents in whcih they will live. THese tents will be ;pitched so as to forma city of white at one end of the big fiield, and there the soldiers will carry out all of the details of camp life, including camp duty, drilling and guard mounting.
      Under the command of their officers, the men will also add greatly to the safety of the affair, as concerns the crowds, patrolling lines separating the spectators from fliers and keeping back the vehicles form the sections reserved for those who are forced to stand. Guard mounting early each morning is one of the finest spectacles of military life, and undoubtedly will attract hundreds of Rochester people who have but the one opportunity a year to see the militiamen in the course of training in camp.
      With the hangars used by the Curtiss airmen, and the hundreds of white tents which will house the infantry com;panies, the scene at the park should be one of the prettiest and most interesting imaginable. Scores of uniformed soldiers will be everywhere about the park inclosure, and their work in keeping the lines of safety intact will positively insure an absence of accident that should reassure the most timid spectator.
Beachey in Mimic War.
      Another feature of the higly interesting and spectacularr sort is made p;ossible by the presence of the guardsman. This is the bomb-dropping maneuvers for which Lincoln Beachey is unsurpassed, and in which he has already done much that has compelled the interest of the War Department. Circling gracefully above the heads of infantrymen stationed at various points on the field, he drops bombs filled with white powder upon the living targets below him, meanwhile escaping the rifle fire which is volleyed at him by squads of the guardsman.
      This feature is one of the most spectacular in the curriculum of the
  birdman, and is one of the possibilities of the aeroplane which has been the subject of considerable discussion by war experts of every country on the globe. Bomb-dropping from aeroplanes undoubtedly will play a great part in the next great conflict in which two nations engage, and the opportunity to be afforded Rochesterians by The Herald Meet is one that no well informed citizen should neglect.
Making Huge Aerodrome.
      Crittenden Park is rapidly taking on the appearance of a modern aerodrome in preparation for the coming of the fliers. The section inside the big mile circle has been leveled and rolled, and the grounds have been otherwise improved for the use of the big machines Sections have been cleared at the four sides for the accommodation of spectators.
Lincoln Beachey
and plans have been laid out for the camp of the militiamen at one end of the inclosure.
      Assisting Beachey in his "war demonstrations" will be Hugh A. Robinson and another flyer whose name will announced later. Robinson is also famous for his maneuvers in the air rather than distance or altitude flights, and will set the peerless Beachey an example that should test the ability of the world's premier birdman to bring forth some startling events.
     Tickets will go on sale Monday at the downtown business places in which baseball tickets are sold, the regular prices prevailing both at sales stations and at the gate. Only 25 cents extra will be charged in addition to the 50 cents general admission for grandstand seats, a cut which is exactly one-half the prices charged by any aviation meet preceding The Herald tournament.
Collection of John Stewart, 11-27-06


Clerks and Shop-Keepers Throng Streets
While Herald's Premier Birdsman Soars
Above City..
       Rochester has grown pretty well hardened to sensations since the redfezzed Shriners came to town, but those who thought that all the surprises have gone by are entitled to another guess as the result of Lincoln Beachey's flight from Crittenden Park yesterday afternoon, during which he covered the very heart of the city's business district, circling The Herald Building and passing above the Four Corners at a height of more than a mile in the air.
     The excitement downtown, while the birdman, a mere speck against the blue of the sky, swept over the city's stgreets, was as intense as that which has attended any of the doings of the last few days. Beachey was spied by pedestrians while he was still nearly a mile distant, and word spread through the shops and offices like wildfire, bringing thousands into the streets to watch the little aeroplane creeping slowly into the wind.
Business Suspended.
     Business was suspended for the time beng while The Herald's skyman crept across trhe sky like a tiny blot on anotherwise perfect panorama of fleecy clouds and blue space. Conductors in the street cars delayed traffic while they gazed, and hundreds of clerks rushed form the doors of shops to see the wonderful spectacle.
     The news reached a well known city official while he was undergoing
  an operation at the hands of a barber in a shop near the Four Corners, and he rushed to the door without waiting to remove either lather or towels. No one had time to pay any attention to his appearance, however, and he escaped without suffering indignity. His case was one of many, and the thousands who filled the street with upturned faces presented a curious appearance to the man whose stiff neck prevented him from looking upon the skyman.
Shriners vacated Hotel.
     At the Powers Hotel, where hundreds of Shriners were resting in preparation for the grand ball last night, the exodus was as sudden as if flames had unexpectedly broken out. In all sorts of clothing, the visitors poured from the doors into the streets, and gazed interestedly until the birdman became a mere speck in the distance, and finally was lost to view.
     The entire office forces of several big buildings near The Herald Building spent a quarter of an hour upon the roofs or balconies where they varied the monotony of til by watching Beachey skim the clouds over their heads. The exploit had a big audience downtown, and a fully satisfied one, so that those who have witnessed the prowess of the little flier at long range will undoubtedly take advantage of an opportunity today to see his work from a point nearer at hand.

Collection of John Stewart, 11-27-06


Miss Mae Wood First Woman To Fly
in Rochester---Beachey Races
with Lehigh Train.
        The Rochester Herald Meet is over. For the last time the two world famous airmen, whose gambols in the sky have delighted thousands during the last three days, have sailed away on their venturesome trips into the unknown land beyond the clouds. They have "folded their tents like the Arabs," but have not "as silently stolen away," since the admiration of thousands of Rochester's citizens is a factor to be reckoned with, and none must take it into consideration more than Lincoln Beachey, the little Californian king of the air, and his companion aeronaut, Hugh A. Robinson.
      The Flower City has entertained hundreds of famous guests, some of them of worldwide renown, but it is doubtful if one of them can boast of more popularity than can the diminutive flyer whose exploits fill many pages in the book of fame. Half of Rochester's population has seen him fly, either from inside the gates or iout, and to find a single decrier of his skill is a task that rivals those set for Hercules.
      For three days every topic of interest from the weather to national politics has been relegated far into the obscurity of the background, and "Is is hot enough for you?" has been altered into "Have you seen the birdmen" as a prevailing salutation. The pages of history have been changed for Rochester, and the visit of Lincoln Beachey and his fellow flier will live long in the memory of the thousands who know him.
      A fitting climax to all that had gone before, the last trip of the birdmen was a spectacle before which all description must fail. Never before, in this state or anywhere else, has so daring an exhibition of flying skill been accomplished, rendered all the more beautiful by the mammoth stage of the heavens and the shifting scenery of the clouds, which alone marred a perfect summer day.
      It was just after 5-o'clock when the concluding sky chase, was staged. The whole afternoon had been one grand panorama of constantly changing air pictures, with Beachey and Robinson as the central figures, and it was, with considerable skepticism that the crowd listened to the promise that they were about to witness something which they had never seen before. It seemed that every conceivable maneuver with the little sky ships had been done over and over again, but one greater was yet to come, and its accomplishment outshone all that had gone before.
     With seven thousand spectators watching, in a stillness broken only by the hum of the motors and an expectant murmur from the crowd, the swift flying-crafts shot upward into the limitless spaace of the heavens and hovered above the field, like two gigantic birds, preparing for a battle in the air. Swiftly they circled about, one slightly higher and in advance of the other, and then almost in an instant, began the exhibition which will mark The Herald Meet as one of the greatest of modern times.
      Swift as an arrow, and with appalling suddenness that never fails to stir the heart of a watcher with fear, Beachey shot straight down toward his companion, seemingly bent upon an attack that should rend to pieces the only visible rival in his conquest of the air. Down he dropped, then forward as the lightning darts, and few, but had already heard in mind the tearing crash that should signal a catastrophe.
     But the big man-bird was bent upon other plans. A length from its rival it dropped again, this time only for a scant ten yards, and shot away like a falcon in flight, darting beneath the desperately climbing Robinson with but a few feet to spare. Again and again the pent-up enthusiasm of the watchers broke out in a volume of cheers, and the most sensational of the exploits credited to the dare-devil skymen had been accomplished for the first time over the Flower City.
      As if to show their disdain for the perils that threatened them, the two air pilots dipped and dove again and againk and landed only when there was nothign more left for them to do. Both dropped their planes beneath the other time after time,a nd neither showed anything but the most perfet control, turning about in the wide circles that brought their machines almost on end and sweeping in long curves and dips for miles form the field. For twelve mintues they frolicked about in the sky, and then descended for the last time to receive the applause which was justly theirs.
      The closing event was spectacular, but nothing less could have deservedly ended the programme which was put on during the afternoon. Those of Rochester's enthusiasts who were satisfied that the high water mark of aerial achievment had been passed are thinking differently today, but this time their exactions are more firmly fixed, for yesterday's feats are likely to stand until Beachey and Robinson come back to change them.
      For the first time in the state, except for experiments at the many schools in the vicinity of New York City, a passenger was carried aloft for a trip of a mile or two, and --as is most natural under the circumstances--by the man who has made the world repspect his name, Lincoln Beachey. With Miss Mae Wood of WIlliamsport, P:ennsylvania, sitting by his side, the little Californian;piloted his craft over a three minute trip skyward, giving the favored few who were inside the gates an opportunity to witness the first flight, with a passenger, ever accomplished in the state outside of a ten-mile radius from New York.
     Miss Wood was sorely disappointed Firday when the airman failed in two attempts to carry her aloft, and yesterday, although Beachey was experiencing considerable difficulty with his carburetor, prevailed upon him to make another try. After some urging, in which the pretty, 19-year-old miss pleaded her cause with considerable earnestness, the smiling aviator tucked her into a little seat beside the engine and started away.
      This time the trip was a distinct success. After a run of twice the usual length, the plane responded to its elevating surfaces and lifted above the trees, sweeping away for a mile or more before a turn was made. For several seconds the craft and its passengers were lost to view behind a grove of trees, but reappeared before any apprehension could be felt, and dipped for a perfect landing in front of the stands.
      Neither Beachey nor his companion displayed any signs of nervousness when they stepped form the machine, and Miss Wood, when told by The Herald reporter that she had gone through an experience that required a remakable amount of nerve, replied, "It was nothing, I wasn't scared a moment, and the sensation as we flew over the trees was grand."
      Miss Wood was cheered to the echo as she walked from the field, after posing for the photograph whidfh appears in The Herald today, and enjoys the unique distinction of being the first woman ever carried as an aeroplane passenger in the state, outside of New York. It is not her first trip into the air, however, as she has been carried up in many of the Southern cities and has grown accustomed to the ways of the birdmen.
      Still another of the sensational exploits of the afternoon was Beachey's race with a train, during which he flew into the city, over the Lehigh station and the aqueduct, and was lost to view for four minutes from the crowd at the park. The train was hopelessly distanced, and Beachey circled about above--the platforms crowded with passengers while the heavy engine tried desperately in an effort to outdistance him. he was flying low against a heavy wind, a fact which makes his feat all the more remarkable, and was less that 100 feet above the trainshed when the train shot under and came to a stop.
     A record for quick emptying of cars was hung up by the excited passengers, and traffic on the Court Street bridge became an impossibility while hundreds watched the airman circle above the station and river. He was plainly visible from the center of the city, and when he tired of the sport and ascended for the long flight back to the park, an audience of several thousand people had gathered to watch his work.
     Meantime the crowd, in the park, had become consideralby alarmed at his disappearance, and Assistant manger Lockwood was visibly afraid that his champion flier had met with an accident and had been forced to descend. Nothing of the kind had happened, however, and the plane rose gradually into view over the trees, sweeping along at a mile-a-minute speed toward the grounds. With a preliminary circle or two, Beachey dove to earth and landed with one of his spectacular swoops without power.
     He afterward explained that he had dropped lower than he intended because of the effort to attain a greater speed, and had raced for four miles over the rushing train. He sighted it from a height of 1,500 feet, while over Mortimer, and descended low enough to be in plain view of the passengers.
Collection of John Stewart, 11-27-06

"Aviators Are Eager to Essay Globe Circling"
Knoxville Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: February 27, 1914,
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 2-20-07
"The accompanying illustration showed Harry Kanter explaining his monoplane to a group of naval officers. In the circle is shown the well known aviator Lincoln Beachey and on the right (left) is Gustav Hamel.
      Aviators express every confidence of the proposed "round-the-world" flight becoming a realization. The stupendous race project in connection with the Panama-Pacific Exposition in 1915 has aroused much interest and comment in New York, and included in the discussion is the opinion that American aviators are handicapped and that aviation as science and sport needs the stimulus of reawakened public interest.
      Harold Kanter, of Newtown, Queens county, N. Y., is one of the aviators mentioned by Mortimer Delano, secretary of the Aero Club of America, as being likely to take part in the flight.
      Gustav Hamel, of England, who flew upside down for the especial benefit of the King and Queen, is most enthusiastic. "Provided they are able to overcome financial difficulties," he said, "I am sure that many will jump at the chance to make the attempt."
      Raymond V. Morris, of New Haven, Conn., has also given notice that he has begun the plans for a new machine for transatlantic flight and would enter the competition. Word received in New York from Los Angeles stated that Lincoln Beachey has decided to enter the race."

Lincoln Beachey
Lincoln Beachey racing Barney Oldfield
Library of Congress Collection, 8-10-08

     If you search for "Lincoln Beachey", using the Google search engine, (3-4-06), you will find about 774 links. I suggest that you start with a visit to Carroll Gray's website. As time permits, you can then expand your knowledge of his life and career by visiting some of the many other sites.
     The definitive biography of Lincoln Beachey, which you will find on Carroll Gray's outstanding website, is both comprehensive and interesting. In addition, you will find many mentions to his older brother, Hillery, also a pioneer aviator.. You can access the site by clicking on the title above.
     If time permits, I am sure you will enjoy going to the homepage of the site and taking advantage of the many other features which Carroll has assembled.

Contributed by Rob Grant, 10-14-11
     This podcast was found by Rob's "missus" and he offered it to us for our enjoyment. It does reveal another side of Lincoln's early career.

Lincoln Beachey died in a crash at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco on March 14, 1915,

       Pete Jones has located this entry for Beachy on the Find A Grave website. You will find his dates of birth and death, a nice biography, several photographs and the location of his burial. You can access the page by clicking on the title.  

BackNext Home