Aug., 1908 First solo flight at Hutchinson, Kansas, when airship pilot quit and Parker then flew scheduled flight. (Kansas State Fair)  
  Aug., 1908 Independence, Missouri (County Fair)  
Independence Missouri - County Fair, 1908
One Horse Dragged a Buggy and Woman Occupant Into a Display of China and She Wants Damages.

     "Whoa, Bill!"
     "Dang my time, watch out there!"
     It was Strobel's airship at the Independence fair grounds yesterday coming down in a bunch of horses, and the horses would not stand for it. One horse and a buggy, with a woman as driver, went through a display of chinaware, and the owner spent the balance of the day looking up the manager of the airship, to ascertain where she might collect damages.
     Over in a field adjacent to the grounds was a herd of cattle. An old bull, the leader of the herd, sniffed the air when the airship sailed over, and when it ducked toward the ground, the beast stood wild-eyed for a minute. Then raising its tail perpendicularly the bull pawed the earth and took to the woods on the Gates farm, followed by the herd, raising a cloud of dust.
     At 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon Professer Parker went up again, circled over Independence at a height of 300 feet and returned to the fair grounds without accident, keeping his airship in perfect control throughout. Thousands were amazed at the sight and business was suspended in the city during the flight. Professor Parker stated last evening that he could probably journey as far as Kansas City if weather conditions were right.
     "Our machine is susceptible to atmospheric conditions," stated the professor, "and that is the reason why we came down so suddenly among the horses yesterday. It's filled with hydrogen and has a lifting capacity of fifty pounds for every thousand feet. The ship is shaped after the fashion of Count Zeppelin's and the English airships, and it carries a fifteen-horse power motor which drives the propeller. The ship is guided by a rudder, the same as that of a ship."
     The air ship made a great flight on Tuesday afternoon. It left the tent a little after 5 o'clock and sailed toward town and out of sight of those standing at the grounds. Presently it reappeared above the trees and landed on the open space near the tent, and was promptly pulled back into the shelter. Some one asked the driver where he had been and he said he went down town and sailed by the big clock--he didn't know where he was. The air ship is a big oval shaped gas balloon, to which is attached a strong wooden frame made of three braces set in triangular form. On the center of this frame the driver sits as in a saddle and beneath him in the frame is a gasoline motor engine, which works the propeller. The propeller has two blades and pulls the balloon instead of pushing, as do the water propellers. A big rudder is in the rear. On Tuesday there was very little wind and the balloon traveled under perfect control wherever the drive wanted, and the pop-pop of the engine could be heard almost as far as the balloon could be seen. The horses on the ground did not like the looks of the big gas bag, but there were no serious accidents. An automobile is with the company and follows the flights to be on hand in case of accident. The machine makes at least two flights every day.
(Independence, Missouri, Aug., 1908,

  Sept., 1908 Spokane, Washington (Exposition)  
  Oct. 13, 1908 Boise, Idaho, State Fair Association grounds. made daily flights for a week. Had accident when rope supporting bag came loose and caught in propeller, pulling front of the bag down and tearing a 12 ft. cut in bag. Parker climbed to front of frame to hold gas in good end of bag and then descended.
(Evening Capitol News Oct. 23, 1908)
1921, 1908
Captain Parker in Strobel machine Has Narrow escape From Serious Injury.
Starts on Voyage From Fair Grounds Over City When Gust of Wind Causes Big Rip in the Gas Bag and Machine Drops.

     While Captain Parker in the Strobel air ship was soaring 100 feet above the earth, starting on his flight over the city yesterday afternoon, he met with an accident which damaged the ship to the extent of $200, and precipitated him and his craft to the ground in the vicinity or Fourteenth and River Streets. Captain Parker was not even scratched, and Manager Lester said last evening that this was only one his many hair-breadth escapes.
     Yesterday was the first day that has been ideal for soaring the ship. At the fair grounds there seemed to be little wind, and so urgent was the request that he float over the city the daring aeronaut attempted the feat. He was making very rapid progrress in the outskirts of town, when suddenly the sky scraper was struck by a gust of wind which twisted the bag in such a manner that the propeller caught in one of his suspension strings.
     The propellor drew the strings down tight against the bag, and a hole about 12 feet in length was ripped in the silken reservoir.
     The gas escaped rapidly and the ship began to drop. Fortunately, the river had been crossed and Captain Parker reached the ground on River street. He alighted from the framework just before reaching terrafirma and was soon relieved from this predicament by Manager Lester, who had been following him in an automobile.
     Today was the best day on which he was to make an ascension, but owing to the accident, flights will not be made until the airship has been repaired.
     As soon as Manager Lester can make the necessary arrangements he will leave for Mexico where he will make flights next month.
(Idaho Daily Statesman Oct. 18, 1920,

  Dec., 1909 Los Angeles, California, Aeronautical Society Meet. Parker was sent to learn how to fly an aeroplane owned by Strobel which had been purchased from Glenn Curtiss. At the meet, the plane was flown by Eugene Ely. Parker never got to handle the machine. Also present at the meet were Lincoln Beachey and the Frenchman, Paulin. After this meet the plane was sent by train to Tampa, Florida.  
  Feb. 14, 1910 Tampa, Florida, Panama Canal Celebration. Three Strobel airships were piloted by Parker, Frank Goodale, and Stanley Vaughn. The aeroplane sent from Los Angeles did not leave the ground during the Celebration. A three stage parachute jump was also performed, weather permitting, by Mrs. Marie Coleman. Another woman by the name of Miss Stella Norton also made parachute jumps.
(Tampa Daily Times Feb. 15, 1910)
Tampa Tribune
Tampa, FL
Evan Parker, Stanley Vaughn & Frank Goodale, Tampa Fla., Feb., 1910
Aviation Contests Will Prove Premier Feature of Celebration--Military Preparing to Move.

     Three more noted airships reached the city yesterday and arrangements were immediately made to house them on the fair grounds and prepare them for the great aviation contests, which will occur daily during the Panama Canal Celebration period. Other flying machines of varied type are expected with the next week and all will be ready for racing on the opening day.
     The latest arrivals are of the dirigible type, and these will compete for the world's championship against Charles J. Strobel's famous dirigible, which won the championship at the World's Fair, St. Louis, and the contests will prove most exciting in character. Mr. Strobel, who wagered $5,000 that his dirigible could re-establish its claim to the championship, came to the city from Toledo and is personally superintending the preparation of the airship, which is known as "The Palisades," and which arrived earlier in the week aboard a Mallory Line steamer.
Aviators Here

     Several aviators, who will have charge of the airships, also arrived, these being Stanley Vaughn, who has made some remarkable flights in various sections of teh country; Frank Goodale, who first flew across the Hudson river and around the Statue of Liberty at New York, and George Mars, who has done some fine work in recent years. E. J. Parker, who is
different type for flights will be under way from now until the opening day of the celebration, a week from Saturday.
Exciting Races

     No contests can possibly be more exciting that aviation races, in which the great man-made birds, going at high speed, struggle for supremacy hundreds of feet above the earth. The contests send a thrill through even the most phlegmatic of men, and thousands will enjoy those scheduled for the race. Throughout all parts of this ..... the newspapers and people are discussing the aviation contests which will bring train loads of aviators to the city.

     E. J. Parker, an Elmiran, has returned after two successful years spent in the south and west as an Airship expert. Mr. Parker is a nephew of Mrs. Dennis Sheehan, of No. 514 Elizabeth street, and of Mrs. E. S. Booth, of No. 708 West Gray street. His father is Austin Parker, of this city, who plays "Si Stebbins: in an old-time country play. Mr. Parker follows closely the Baldwin style of airship He is about to built a new one.
     Captain Parker took the Strobel airship for a spin, much to the wonderment of the vast assemblage, which intently gazed at the machine as it performed graceful evolutions.
Three Aviators
Evan Parker, Tampa Fla., Feb., 1910
Appearance of Flying machines Arouses Excitement As Did Balloon Ascensions--Aeroplane Today

     The airships flew, thousands craned their necks in following the course of the big "man birds" and the ducks and robins joined in one grand, simultaneous, single-thoughted migratory movement toward the "tail and uncut," Never before were the people of Tampa and members of the feathered tribe so excited as when three big dirigibles yesterday afternoon "nosed" their way from the tents on the aviation grounds, soared upward, skirted the race-course and "struck a beeline" for various points around the city.
     E. J. Parker, in charge of the big Strobel dirigible, appeared first. He experienced some trouble with his motor, but finally the big vessel rose gracefully, dashed past the grandstand not more than twenty feet from the ground, saluted the hand-clapping crowd and proceeded around the race course, executing fancy movements in a manner that excited the admiration of hundreds. He experienced little more difficulty in making short turns than does the average lady in a train-burdened evening dress, and when he took the vessel higher into the heavens the crowd began to sit up and take notice. Entirely regardless of the strong breeze blowing above, Parker executed daring movements that elicited applause.
     Frank Goodale appeared next. After executing a few movements at a rapid pace, Goodale headed for the Tampa Bay hotel, circled among the domes and minarets, crossed the Hillsborough river and proceeded to thoroughly awaken the loafers who infest the dome, saluted the board of trade and paying no attention to the fact that he was endangering many necks. Goodale continued his course in the direction of Ybor City, where the Spanish and Cuban colonies joined in one grand exodus from their homes and places of business, mentally exclaiming "Cuba libre," and "Vive l' Espanol," which is "some" French and Spanish. Thoroughfares of the city were quickly crowded, and many wondered if this scheme had been devised by "Hotstuff" Frecker for getting more thoroughly into the political limelight.
     Stanley Vaughn then added to the excitement. Immediately after his vessel reached the infield of the race-course, Vaughn tilted the nose of his dirigible heavenward, attained a height of several hundred feet and brought the ladies and children of Hyde Park from their homes in a manner equalling the grand exodus of the "rats of Hamlin Town." Honestly, Hyde Park really got interested "just once," and many fair damsels and matrons dropped their "beautifiers," which were being liberally used in preparation for St. Valentine's ball at the Tampa Bay, and all "went up in the air." Vaughn gave the mud cats that infest Hillsborough bay a decided scare, as a result of which enormous catches are said to have been made at St. Petersburg and Pass-a-Grille last night. His flight was spectacular in character.
     Owing to an unavoidable accident, resulting from the rain and wind storm Friday afternoon, the famous aeroplane to which Glenn Curtiss made his record-smashing flights at Rheims, France, was unable to perform. The fast "plane," however, will positively appear this afternoon, causing even greater excitement than the dirigibles, which will race for the first time this afternoon. The aeroplane is in charge of Carl Maars, a noted German aviator, who handles the machine perfectly.
     Balloon ascensions have becomes so common as to cause few thrills to even the youngest of "young Americans." However, those of yesterday afternoon were different in character. Three balloons went up and the crowd were kept in suspense as the aeronauts, including one woman, made as many as three separate and distinct parachute "drops" in one flight.
The people were pleased with the first drop of each aeronaut, but when the parachutes unfolded and revealed other parachutes, they were startled. These contests will occur each afternoon hereafter, and will undoubtedly draw immense crowds daily.
(The Tampa Tribune, Feb., 1910,

  June 16, 1910 Chartiers City, Pennsylvania. Parker flew off and on for a week advertising a land sale.  
  July, 1910 Manchester, New Hampshire
(Daily Mirror and American)
Manchester, NH
BAD DAY came when Parker's dirigible struck the roller coaster at Manchester, N.H., and was wrecked.
Collided With Roller Coaster at Pine Island Park.
Machine Was Wrecked in Attempted Flight--Gust of Wind Caught Balloon as it Started for City Hall and Threw It Against Coaster and Became Entangled.

     A sensation in the air occurred early last evening when the dirigible balloon at Pine Island park crashed into the roller coaster structure. The airship was wrecked, and the driver, E. J. Parker, escaped death only by remarkable presence of mind in grabbing for the coaster frame when the collision came. It was the first attempt at aerial flight by dirigible in New Hampshire.
     All the afternoon long, after the scheduled time of 3 o'clock, Aeronaut Parker had patiently waited an opportunity to make his much-advertised flight from the park to city hall and return. A strong lusty breeze had prevented him from starting.
     At last, shortly after 6 o'clock, the weather conditions seemed right for the trip; the wind had apparently died down. Parker decided that, in view of teh fact that his air-flying demonstration had already been delayed to New Hampshire people all day Monday and all Tuesday afternoon, he would give a startling exhibition by making a trip to town just as the mill shop and store employees were coming out onto the streets.
     Parker gave the orders and the double flap of the huge tent in the park the airship hangar was tied open and the cigar-shaped Strobel dirigible balloon was led out. Everything appeared to be in good condition. The bag was full of gas, the machine tank of oil and the air was just as calm as the still waters of the Dead Sea.
(Idaho Daily Statesman Oct. 18, 1920,


     "Oh, that was in Manchester, N.H.," Parker explained. "Ran into a roller coaster."
     The story under the headline would have given a less modest man material for considerably more comment. It mentioned the "miraculous escape" of the pilot, Evan J. Parker, who had flown his ship over the fairground day and night until the crash, attracting record crowds.
     "I had another little accident," Parker mentioned., "but that wasn't bad either. One of the cables caught in the propeller and pulled the balloon down into the blades. The silk was cut to ribbons and I was losing gas. So I climbed from the back of the framework to the front and held the balloon so the gas would stay in until I came down. made it, too. Just before we hit the ground, I jumped. People didn't know what the dirigible was, so they hid behind trees instead of coming out to lend a hand."
     But all that is far behind him. "I quit flying in 1911," he said, "Mainly on account of the family. You know--with two children a man ought to settle down."
     Since his flying days, Parker and his wife had a third child and three grandchildren. He has his memories of the days when he helped make history--but he prefers to live in the present.

  July, 1910 Lawrence, Massachusetts  
  July, 1910 Lowell, Massachusetts  
  July, 1910 Lynn, Massachusetts
Lynn, Mass
Strobel Airship on Which Aviator Parker Had Narrow Escape From Electrocution last Night
Aviator Parker and His Machine Collide With Lighting Wires of Park
After Two Attempts Big Inflated Bag Meets With a Serious Mishap

     Aviator E. J. Parker of Rochester, N. Y., had a miraculous escape from a severe shock, if not electrocution, when the big Strobel airship landed on the main feed wires to the lights at Floating Bridge park, Wednesday evening, shortly after 7 o'clock. The big air craft became fastened on the wires, the steering gear was completely wrecked, and it was only after no end of excitement that the pilot was rescued from his precarious position by means of ropes. The lights had to be shut off, and the wires cut before the ship could be brought back to earth.
     Prof. Parker has been up against hard luck ever since he brought the airship to the park last Sunday. Monday afternoon just as he was about to make a trip a fierce thunder shower broke loose, and he had to give up the attempt. Just before dark that evening he made a successful get-a-way, and after a pretty sail for 15 minutes in the air tried to land, but met with a disaster. In coming to earth the balloon part caught in the wires, tearing the balloon and letting the gas escape. Aviator Parker barely managed to save himself from serious accident by clinging to a telegraph pole until a ladder could be brought to his assistance. The big air bag which was wrecked was a brand new one, so all that was left for the crew to do was to fill the old balloon, which leaked so Tuesday afternoon that it was impossible to get enough gas within to make an ascension. Tuesday evening the wind was too strong.
     Wednesday afternoon lack of material to make the gas necessitated the postponement of the flight again, but just before dark Wednesday evening the ship was brought out of the tent, and Aviator Parker was given a cheer as he mounted the big air car. After trying the engine the crew let go of the ship , and the airship started up. In its flight it collided with the flag staff on Prof. Clark's tent, and seeing it would be impossible to clear the row of lights on the theatre fence, Aviator Parker brought the ship down very cleverly between the wooden fence surrounding the pit for the diving horses and the theatre fence. The contact with the flag pole, however, severed several cords, which held up the rudder.
     As soon as these could be repaired, Aviator Parker announced his intention to make a second trial, and he was again greeted with applause as the engine was started. This time he headed the machine so as to pass over the clump of treess at the northerly end of the park. The balloon was leaking and not sufficiently buoyant to lift the machine clear of the wires. With a crash the airship struck the two big wires through which the current for lighting all the arc lights in the park passes. The craft swung back and forth, tipping forward and backward, gradually sawing the insulations to the live wires. The vast crowd of spectators were anxious, but Operator Parker never lost his presence of mind. Throwing down two anchor lines to his crew below, he ordered the men about, and as soon as possible the current was shut off and the danger of electrocution removed. It took nearly a half hour to dislodge the airship from entanglement in the wires, and not then until the wires were cut.
     The entire steering gear of the airship was wrecked, the rudder itself being snapped completely off. Aviator Parker set his men a work as soon as the airship had been restored to the big tent. He will endeavor to make a flight this afternoon and again this evening; last week in Lowell, Aviator Parker made 10 very successful ascensions without a singel mishap. The accidents here in Lynn have been due entirely to the small space in which he is obliged to make his get-a-way.
(Daily Evening Item - Lynn, Mass., Thursday, July, 1910
  Aug. 3, 1910 Brockton, Massachusetts
(Brockton Daily Enterprise)
  Aug. 9, 1910 Fall River, Massachusetts
(Fall River Evening News)

These flights in Massachusetts were made in the city parks under contract to the Boston and Northern Street Railway Co. and the old Colony Street Railway Co.
Appalachian Exposition
Evan J. Parker, Salisbury, Maryland, 1910
  Aug 18, 1910 Salisbury, Maryland, Wicomico County Fair. Flights were made over a period of a week, the weather permitting.
Maryland News Aug. 16, 1910
  Sept., 1910 McKees Rock, Pennsylvania. For a period of three days, Parker made several flights. Present also were a Strobel aeroplane flown by Le Mans and two aeroplanes of the Wright Brothers. Le Mans flew and landed in a tree, wrecking the aircraft. The Wright Brothers did not fly because of the weather conditions.  
  Sep. 13-26, 1910 Knoxville, Tennessee, The Appalachian Exposition. During a four week stay, flights were made a various times by Parker. Phil Parmalee, with his Wright aeroplane, also raced an automobile.
(Journal & Tribune Sept. 13, 1910)
Knoxville Sentinel Sept. 14, 1910)
Appalachian Exposition
Appalachian Exposition, Knoxville, Tenn., Sept. 14, 1910
Coleman and Parker, Balloonists, Have several Engagements.
Coleman Says He Will Purchase a Dirigible and Aeroplane.

     With the close of the exposition Wednesday the "conquerors of the air," who have been disporting themselves with balloon ascensions, parachute drops and flights in dirigible air ships will "fly away" to other zones where fair and expositions are holding forth.
     Frank H. Coleman, who is the owner of the mammoth balloons which have been soaring skyward twice daily, since September 12, will break camp Wednesday night and go with his aggregation of performers to Athens, Ala. where a stop will be made of four days during the Alabama state fair. From Athens the company will go to Charlotte, North Carolina, for a week at a fair to be held there and from Charlotte the balloons will journey to Columbia, South Carolina, and then on to Augusta, Georgia.
     The Johnny Jones shows have already contracted with Mr. Coleman for two balloons and performers, for a long tour south and the United Fair Booking association has also bid for Coleman's company. Four months will be spent this winter at the Ostrich fair of Jacksonville, Florida, where ascensions will be made daily during that time.
     Mr. Coleman was so interested in the flights made by Parker in his Strobel airship at the exposition and of Parmalee, the daring aviator, in his aeroplane flights that he has arranged for the purchase of a dirigible, and an aeroplane of the Glenn Curtiss type. These will be delivered in a few days and flights made in conjunction with the balloon ascensions.
     When the machines arrive Mr. Coleman will test them himself and make flights for the benefit and instructions of those who attend the fairs and expositions where he performs.
     Miss Stella Norton and Jas. Collins who have been making flights since the expostion opened have not suffered from an accident, every descent in the triple parachute drops having been made in perfect safetyl Forty-two ascensions have been made and 120 parachute drops by these performers. Thousands witnessed their skyward flights and been greatly impressed by flights and been greatly impressed by the graceful manner in which the ascensions have been nade.
     Mr. Coleman, whose home is in Morristown, says that he and his company have thoroughly enjoyed their stay at the Appalachian exposition as they felt as though they were among "home folks and performing for their own people."
     E. J. Parker, in his dirigible airship, has also been very fortunate in his flights which he has made two and three times daily over the exposition grounds. Only one accident marred the entire stay and that occurred during the second week of the exposition when one afternoon his gas bag was swept against a tree by a heavy wind and a large hole was torn in the dirigible. Mr. Parker, however, escaped with minor burises.
     From the Appalachian exposition Mr. Parker will go to Columbus, Miss., where he will perform for five days at a fair. His next stop will be made at Jackson, Miss., where he will remain from October 25 until November 3, giving daily flights at the Mississippi fair. San Antonio, Texas, will be next stop where Mr. Parker will remain for fifteen days. The winter will be spent by Mr. Parker in Florida.
     While performing at the exposition grounds Mr. Parker has at times reached an altitude of 1,000 feet. He has made himself immensely popular with the thousands who have watched his flights by the friendly way he has of waving his hand and recognising with a friendly gesture the plaudits of his audiences.
     The dirigible flights have been made at night as well as during the day and the sound of the motor and the cigar shape of the airship made many of the superstitious colored brethren think the "debbil was coming down with rushing wings snorting like a bull."
(Unidentified News Clipping

  Oct. 13, 1910 Columbus, Mississippi, Tenth Mississippi & West Alabama Fair. Flight made while horse races were in progress and also by moonlight.
(Columbus Commercial Appeal Oct. 19, 1910)
Cattle Exposition
  Nov. 12, 1910 San Antonio, Texas, International Fair Grounds. During fair week, Parker and another Strobel Pilot, Frank Seyfang, circled the fair buildings.  
Porto Rico
  Winter, 1910 Porto Rico. Strobel had government contract to exhibit airship at San Juan, Porto Rico. Again, Strobel plane present, but it did not leave the ground. Parker and Frank Goodale flew daily for a week.  
  Sept., 1911 Knoxville, Tennessee, The Appalachian Exposition. A three week stay, Parker flying over the grounds daily. A Wright aeroplane flown by Willard Hoxie also flew, and both airship and plane were in air at same time.
(Journey & Tribune)
Virginia State Fair
  Oct. 10, 1911 Richmond, Virginia, State Fair grounds. Flights made day and night by Parker. J. J. Fanning made a six stage parachute jump using six chutes.
(Richmond Virginian Oct. 10, 1911)

  In January, 1912, Parker went to Rochester, New York, and was employed by the Eastman Kodak Company, where he remained for 38 years and 4 months, retiring at the age of 65 in the year 1950  


I want to thank Julie L. Keller, the great grandaughter of Evan J. Parker, who kindly shared all of these photographs and newsclippings with us. Without her generosity, we would be almost totally unaware of his exploits and of this fascinating episode in the history of early aviation.
Ralph S. Cooper, 7-23-02
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