Rudolph R. Hartman

Sierra Madre Chamber of Commerce, Citizen of the Year
Rudolph was declared Citizen of the Year in 1970
from the Sierra Madre News website.

Pasadena Star News
June 9, 1986
by Harold Hubbard
One man, 91, recalls seeing historic flight
     Ted Combs got a surprise when he lectured on the first transcontinental flight that ended in Pasadena 75 years ago. Rudolph R. Hartman raised his hand and said, "I was there."
     Nearly 91 now, Hartman was 16 when the flight ended at Tournament Park in 1911. He lived with his parents in back of his father's pharmacy at 29 N. Baldwin Ave. in Sierra Madre, and rode his bicycle to see it.
     "I was well received by Cal Rodgers, the daredevil pilot who made the flight, because I had made a plane," Hartman said.
     Rodger's plane was built by the Wright Brothers, who advised him that it was not designed for intercontinental flights. They provided him with a lot of parts. What with connecting rods flying out of the engine and a series of crashes, he used them all.
     Hartman built his plane at Santa Monica, using plans for the Bleriot plane. After his family moved to Sierra Madre, he and a friend put a broomstick through the tail and towed it backward with their bicycles to his new home. Without an engine, it was light.
     He flew it as a glider around Sierra Madre, getting friends to push it at a run down Baldwin or Auburn avenues until he could get it into the air.
     "I never got higher than about 35 feet," Hartman said. "I tied it behind the pharmacy, but it was demolished by a twister before I got the motor installed. I still have a piece of a strut.
     Combs, retired from a position at Caltech, spoke at a Sierra Madre Historical Society meeting. He is author of a book on Tournament Park, now a part of the Caltech campus.
     The park was first Patton Field, named for its owners, the family of Gen George Patton. Later it was Paddock Field, named for Charles Paddock, the Pasadena runner who set six world records there. The Tournament of Roses used to end there.

Rudolph R. Hartman passed away in 1988
Personal communication from
Robert C. "Bud" Hartman, 5-18-04

Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this Early Bird,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

BackNext Home