Tag Archives: Harvey Airfield

John Harvey’s Hops Kiln, 1884

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Without the photographer’s label “J. Harvey, 1884,” we would not know that Snohomish pioneer John Harvey built a hops kiln on his homestead.

Great-granddaughter Donna Harvey’s extensive accounts of both John and his son Nobel, written with her father Eldon and published on the website HistoryLink.org, has no mention of a hops operation. It’s an action packed story of a man who sailed from England to San Francisco, then to Seattle where he bought a claim on the shores of Lake Washington that was destroyed in the Indian wars of 1855. He was lucky to get any money for his claim, but sold it for $2000 and eventually bought the claim across the river from the Snohomish town site for $50 in 1859.

[singlepic id=13 w=320 h=240 float=right]Two years later, Harvey accepted a seat on the first Board of County Commissioners, which was delegated to organize the new Snohomish County. The Snohomish City Mill Company located on the Harvey claim, was incorporated in 1866. The Seattle-Snohomish Mill continues to operate in the same general location today.

Christina (Noble) Harvey (1839-1892)

Christina (Noble) Harvey (1839-1892)

John married Christina Noble in 1872, and welcomed their son Noble into the world the following year. By this time, John was growing enough potatoes to ship downriver to market in Port Gamble, according to stories told years later, but none about the hops kiln and harvest crew shown in the historic photograph.

In the October 3, 1885 issue of The Eye, it was noted, Over a hundred Indian canoes have passed down the river this week from the hop fields. Ezra Meeker began planting hops in the Puyallup valley in 1866 and by the time of this mention in our local paper, Meeker was a wealthy hops merchant with a branch in London selling hops on the world market. The photograph that accompanies the Meeker article on HistoryLink.org, is a stunning achievement in photographer patience posing a much larger crew than shown in our local version. It’s easy to imagine migrant photographers making the rounds of hops fields seeking commissions to document the harvest.

John died a couple of years after this picture was taken. Donna Harvey believes that the fellow on the far right, seated, with his hat off is her great-grandfather, John. Noble Harvey would have been around 11 years old in 1884 but has yet to be identified in this fascinating composition. He took over management of the Harvey homestead when only 19 years old following the death of his mother in 1892.

Noble George Harvey (1873-1952)

Noble George Harvey (1873-1952)

Young Harvey helped clear the way for the first train to cross the Harvey property on its way to Snohomish City; and, he built the baseball park that was used for the first airplane flight in 1911. The hundredth anniversary of this event will be celebrated in grand style with a fly-in of historic aircraft on Saturday, July 23, and an exhibition, along with another of David Dilgard’s popular slide show talks — “100 Years of Flight in Snohomish” at 2p in the Community Room at the Harvey Airfield.

Keep in mind that the hops harvest crew posing for the camera in the fall of 1884, as if staring into the future, had yet to hear the word “airplane.”

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Published in the Snohomish County Tribune, July 20, 2011.

The First Airplane Crash in Snohomish

[PART ONE: THE FLIGHT]

PART TWO: THE CRASH


Fred Wiseman

'Bird Man' Wiseman

Fortunately, the field had turned to soft mud after all the rain, and aviator Wiseman emerged muddy but uninjured from the plane, now nose down. Most important, he made good on his money back guarantee “to fly.” The plane was repaired in time to fly again in Olympia on May 18th with Snohomish’s “Bird Man” at the controls.

Earlier in the same year, Wiseman carried mail with him on a flight from Petaluma to Santa Rosa, California, which was eventually recognized as the first to carry airmail in U. S. history. Today the restored aircraft hangs in the atrium of the Smithsonian’s Postal Museum in Washington D. C.

First flight and crash graphic

First Flight and Crash graphic by David Dilgard

Back in 1911 Snohomish, the Tribune boasted: “It was a great day for Snohomish, the smallest city on the American continent that ever gave an aviation exhibition.” The writer reminded the readers that aviation exhibitions rarely come off as advertised. “Snohomish made good, we furnished the goods as agreed and the crowds that thronged our city on that day were not disappointed.”

Nor are we disappointed today. The photographic record of the event provided by William Douglas is a gift of memory.

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Save the Date: Wednesday, July 20th, this summer, as part of the Kla Ha Ya Festival — David Dilgard’s slide show talk on the First Airplane Flight in Snohomish, at the Harvey Airfield Community Room as part of an exhibition marking 100 Years of Flight in Snohomish.

Read David Dilgard’s article at HistoryLink.org
Read more about Wiseman’s first airmail flight

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ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHS:

first airplane crash in Snohomish

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Photographer William Douglas must have run down the railroad tracks to capture this image — note the rail in the bottom left of the frame. We imagine that he was using one of the cameras designed for the postcard format. Kodak’s model 3A was introduced in 1903 and sold until 1915. The 3A created 3 1/4 x 5 1/2 inch postcard format images on Kodak 122 roll film, and the film came in four, six and ten exposure lengths. This raises the interesting question that perhaps other images were captured by Douglas on that day?

Photograph by William Douglas, courtesy Donna Harvey and the Snohomish Historical Society Archives.

first airplane crash site today

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The author, on the other hand, uses a digital Sony DSLR-A100 to capture the repeat images. The flash memory will capture over 50 exposures in the RAW format and at over 50 inches wide! The John S. Bateman farm is gone as far as could be discovered. This open field and buildings beyond borders along side State Route 9.

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Published April 20, 2011 in the Snohomish County Tribune.

The First Airplane Flight (and Crash) in Snohomish

PART ONE: THE FLIGHT


One hundred years ago, an airplane took off from the Harvey Baseball Park and crash-landed in a newly plowed field about a half-mile down river. It was all over in less than a minute but photographer William Douglas needed only fractions of a second to capture the historic event.

Tribune May 5, 1911

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The first airplane flight in Snohomish County happened on Sunday, May 7, 1911. It was suppose to have happened the day before. A headline in Friday’s issue of the Snohomish County Tribune announced: “The Bird Man Will Fly In Snohomish Saturday and Sunday.”

Fred J. Wiseman, a former racecar driver from California, was billed as the “World’s Greatest Aviator,” and the Curtiss-Farman-Wright biplane as “The Fastest Machine In The World” in the full-page ad published in the same issue. The plan was to take off at 3, Saturday afternoon, fly down the river a few miles, circle around the town and land back in Harvey Park.

The ambitious plan continues in the next paragraph: “The second flight will take place Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m., from the same place, when the machine will circle several times around the city, ending with an exhibition of airship evolutions at the park, second to none ever given in the county.”

Fifteen to thirty thousand people were expected to attend over the weekend, according to the article, and special trains were added to run from Everett.

David Dilgard, historian with the Everett Public Library, who has done extensive research on this event, writes: “While no suitable space for landings or takeoffs was found at Everett, the baseball grounds on the Harvey homestead across the river from Snohomish appeared to be workable.” The ballpark was located between the river and the railroad tracks, where today a seasonal market operates under the large billboard. The Great Northern Depot once stood in the area, which came in handy for the delivery of the disassembled plane that arrived by rail on Thursday, the fourth.

Surprise! It rained most of the day Friday, slowing down the re-assembling of the aircraft, and the heavy rain continued well into Saturday morning, resulting in the cancellation of that day’s free exhibition.

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The rain stopped by Sunday afternoon, but barely 400 people had paid the $1 admission to enter the park. According to the May 17, 1911 issue of the Tribune, an estimated ten thousand people witnessed the flight from various vantage points for free. Trouble with the 80 horsepower Hall-Scott overhead-valve V-8 engine delayed the flight for an hour, but finally, Wiseman took his seat in the fragile biplane, parked at home plate, and the strongest crew member turned the eight foot long propeller to crank the unmuffled motor into action.

“The start and rise was as pretty a sight as one will see in a lifetime,” reported the Tribune 100 years ago, “but it was evident at once that the motor was not working right and before he had been in the air a minute the engine ‘died;’ there was nothing to do but come down, and he struck in plowed field, about the worst landing place for a flying machine that could be found.”

Continued in Part Two: The First Airplane Crash in Snohomish

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ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHS:

Wiseman-Curtis Flight Snohomish

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First Airplane Flight in Snohomish, May 7, 1911. The photographer William Douglas came to Snohomish to capture the first airplane flight in Snohomish County, which he published as postcards. This view is the only one of the three surviving images that shows the plane in flight.

Photograph by William Douglas, courtesy Donna Harvey and the Snohomish Historical Society Archives


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Flight Location 2011. Historian David Dilgard’s research has identified the spot where Douglas stood to capture his historic image. Rather than stand in the blackberry bushes, however, the author gratefully acknowledges B & H Body Repair on Airport Way for allowing him to stand in the back of a pickup truck on their used car lot.