The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Columns

April 27, 2013

Oneonta greeted an aviation giant in 1928

(Continued)

Chamberlin greeted his onlookers with a “barrel roll” salute as he circled the field for a landing. The size of the crowd was reported as “several thousand.”

First on the day’s agenda for Chamberlin was a joint luncheon of the Rotary and Kiwanis clubs at the Hotel Oneonta. Chamberlin came to Oneonta to promote aviation and a full service airport for the city. The field in the West End had not yet been officially designated as the city’s airport, so after lunch Chamberlin joined several city officials to take a look at several other proposed sites.

Chamberlin then went to The Oneonta Theatre to speak at a large assembly of school students. “There were a thousand wildly enthusiastic boys and girls” who greeted him for his talk and explanation of the moving pictures of his most recent aviation exploits. Chamberlin awarded a $5 prize to Miss Genevieve Orr for the best essay by a student on Oneonta’s need for an airport, and a $2.50 prize to Alfred Makowiecki for the best model airplane entered in a contest led by the American Legion. The colonel was also entertained by several “lusty cheers” by the high school cheerleaders and music by the high school orchestra.

After a dinner at the George W. Augustin home, “The Maples” in Laurens, Chamberlin returned to the theater for an evening talk to Oneonta’s adults. Everywhere he went that day, including the theater, Chamberlin told audiences that aviation was rapidly assuming a place of great importance in the lives of the American people.

Several hundred people gathered again at the West End airfield on Thursday, April 5, to see Chamberlin off, as he was starting on a trip to Buffalo. After putting some fuel into his airplane’s tank, “he swung readily into the air and after circling the field once or twice, he saluted the crowd and started down the Susquehanna valley.”

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