Cromwell Dixon

     If you search for "Cromwell Dixon +aviation", using the Google search engine,
(9-28-10), you will find about 4,860 links. Outstanding among them is the following.

Cromwell Dixon
History Detectives . Investigations - Cromwell Dixon Plane
     "Our contributor has a four by three inch swatch of fabric she found among her late grandfather’s possessions.

On it are written the words “Dixon” and “Grand Island, 1911.” She wonders if the name refers to the pioneering aviator, Cromwell Dixon. Reporters called Dixon the “Boy Genius” pilot.

At 19 years old, Dixon was the first man to fly across the Continental Divide. Two days later he crashed at an exhibition in Spokane, Washington. He died a few hours later.

Could this piece of fabric be the last remaining artifact of Cromwell Dixon’s brief aviation career?

History Detectives talks with a Cromwell Dixon biographer, consults with the curator at the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum, and finally comes across a key clue at the Stuhr Museum in Grand Island, Nebraska."

     This page on the Helena Regional Airport Authority website, offers a very nice photo of Cromwell in his Curtiss Hummingbird aeroplane and a summary of his life and career.
     As of today, 7-19-07, the link has become obsolete. However, you can access an archived page by clicking on the title above. It is available from the "" website

     This page on the Local History Homepage of William Camp offers quite a remarkable account of Cromwell who performed at the fair under the auspices of Curtiss Exhibition Company in August, 1911. Due to circumstances, he became the only available pilot for the exhibition and in spite of numerous problems, he performed marvelously. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.
     If time permits, you will find other items of interest listed on the same page including stories of W.E. Johnson, Robert Fowler, James J. Ward, Calbraith P. Rodgers and others

     If you search for "Cromwell Dixon +"Continental Divide", using the Google search engine, (7-23-07), you will find about 254 links. A good place to start is the following.
     This page on the MONTANAKIDS.COM website recounts in a vivid manner the flight of Cromwell across the continental divide. It also offers a very nice photograph of his aeroplane. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.

Cromwell Dixon: A Boy & His Plane
Cromwell Dixon:
A Boy & His Plane
Author: Martin J. Kidston,
with a forward by Jeff Berry,
a great-nephew of Cromwell Dixon
Product Details
Softcover: 168 pages; 6" x 9" inches
Publication date: August 2007
40 historical black & white photographs, index
List Price: $14.95
ISBN 13:978-1-56037-473-2
ISBN 10: 1-56037-473-X
  Boy Genius, Inventor, Dirigible Pilot, and Aviator: Cromwell Dixon

Farcountry Press announces the release of Cromwell Dixon: A Boy & His Plane, 1892-1911 by Martin J. Kidston. Illustrated with 40 historical photographs, this is the remarkable story of the boy wonder of turn-of-the-century Columbus, Ohio, Cromwell Dixon, who became the first pilot to cross the Continental Divide in Helena, Montana, on September 30, 1911 in a Curtiss pusher. Jeff Berry, in a richly detailed foreword, also reveals the family stories about Cromwell Dixon: how he built his own roller coaster, two motor-driven bicycles, and, at the age of fifteen, a pedal-powered airship known as the Skycycle.

Driven by dreams, Kidston tells the dramatic story of how Cromwell Dixon grew from a child prodigy into a national aviation hero at the turn of the twentieth century. From his childhood in Columbus, Ohio, Dixon was driven by dreams of flying. He became youngest licensed pilot in the country and, one fine September day in Montana, he was the first pilot to fly across the Continental Divide in his plane, the Little Hummingbird, only to meet with a fiery death two days later. Like the tale of Icarus, Dixon's story is one of great daring, accomplishment, and tragedy.

As novelist Deirdre McNamer, author of the recent Red Rover and Rima in the Weeds and professor of creative writing at the University of Montana-Missoula writes: "The amazing young flyer Cromwell Dixon comes wonderfully to life in Martin Kidston's impassioned and meticulous account of Dixon's brief career. A terrific read."

Richard Sims, Director of the Montana Historical Society in Helena, Montana, writes: "Cromwell Dixon was a boy aviator in name only; he was mature beyond his years. He saw America, and Montana, from a rare vantage point high in his aeroplane. Cromwell participated in the shaping of aviation's beginnings, when all flying was stunt flying; he tested himself and his plane to tragic limits. Kidston explores with sensitivity and creativity the fast-paced life of a forgotten hero."

About the Author:

Martin J. Kidston graduated from the University of Montana-Missoula in 1997 after serving in the Marines. He lives in Helena, where he works as a newspaper reporter for the Helena Independent Record and as a freelance writer. He is the author of From Poplar to Papua: Montana's 163rd Infantry Regiment in WWII, and coauthor, with Barbara Fifer, of Wanted! Wanted Posters of the Old West.

Cromwell Dixon: A Boy & His Plane, 1892-1911 is available at local bookstores and gift shops, through online retailers, or from Farcountry Press at 1.800.821.3874.

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