Prior to the creation of the Argus-Courier’s electronic Petaluma360, an earlier website called Petaluma Online also featured a series of blogs titled, “Remembering Bill Soberanes.” Eagle-Eyes spotted the following blog from 2006 that is related to our recent Who’s On First? blog.
The Trio asks, “Why reinvent the wheel when a good one already exists?” The important thing is that this “repeat” is meant to help our readers become more aware of our River Town’s Past, Present and Future. (BTW, didn’t B.S. also repeat the publication of columns so that he wouldn’t miss a deadline?)
The following blog was posted on February 19. 2006 – On Friday, February 17th of this year, a group of community volunteers met at the Petaluma Airport in order to revive the mission of earlier committees, organized by Bill Soberanes. Their mission was the celebration of Fred J. Wiseman’s airplane flight between Petaluma and Santa Rosa, 95 years ago to the day. Unfortunately, because of engine problems, Wiseman didn’t arrive in Santa Rosa until the next day.
Bill Soberanes wrote often about this flight and the pilot in his “Most Fascinating World of People” columns that appeared regularly in the Petaluma Argus-Courier. In fact, Bill was the chairman of the committee that dedicated a monument to Wiseman’s historic flight. It states: Fred J. Wiseman made one of the world’s early air mail flights Feb.17-18, 1911. He flew from Petaluma’s Kenilworth Park to Santa Rosa after being forced down overnight at Denman’s Flat. It was the first recorded airplane flight sanctioned by a local post office and available to the public. The Wiseman craft is preserved in the Smithsonian Institution National Air Museum, Washington, D.C.
Bill Soberanes was known as “Mr. Petaluma,” and was its biggest booster. He was always seeking and writing about the people, places, and events that put Petaluma on the world map. Fred Wiseman’s historic flight, 95 years ago this year, has been recognized by the State of California as the first such flight in then world. In one of his MFWP columns, Bill wrote: I remember Wiseman saying, “There is no limit to high high mankind will fly in the future. Such flights will face danger as did those of the early birds of aviation.
As this newly reconstituted committee, chaired by Barry Lawrence (who inherited Bill’s files about Wiseman and who was the youngest committee member at that time), continues its mission, my thoughts will be about this Argus-Courier columnist who kept that historc event alive over the years. How ironic that the committee’s revival date was February 17th. (Or was it meant to be?)
P.S. The above blog was meant to be posted in time for viewing on Feb. 17-18, 2010. How many readers will take part in the Centennial Celebration next year, at this time?