Although Fred J. Wiseman died on October 14, 1961, fifty-years after his historic delivery of a letter by a man-made aircraft that flew from Petaluma to Santa Rosa on February 17-18, 1911, there is yet another important date that needs to be remembered and celebrated because it played a significant role in getting the world to acknowledge this local event 36 years after it took place.
As readers of the Wiseman blog series, that started on November 17, 1910 know, a few of the FW blogs posted to date deal with the issue of whose flight was “really” the first airmail flight. For example: blog #2(11-15-10) and #3 (11-20-10) contain the details about whose flight was “offical” and therefore the first; however, on November 26, 1910 (Blog #4) reported that “After 36 years, in the S.F. Chronicle (5-16-47), Stanton Delaplane wrote: The Smithsonian Institution squared the record yesterday with the announcement that Fred J. Wiseman, now 70 and a rersident of Berkeley, was the first man in the world to carry airmail …. Paul Edward Garber, curator of aeronautics at the Smithsonian Institution, said Wiseman’s flight was official and that the letters were regularly stamped by the Petaluma postmaster.”
A year later his plane was permanently exhibited at the National Air Museum in Washington, D.C. Locally, the Fred J. Wiseman Monument Dedication ceremonies took place on Saturday, august 17, 1968 at Petaluma’s Kenilworth Park. The monument plaque, was designed by artist Rosa Estebanez and included these words: Fred J. Wiseman made one of the world’s early air mail flights February 17-18, 1911…. It was the first recorded airmail flight sanctioned by a local post office and available to the public.”
Stay tuned. I’m sure that we will still have more news to report about Fred Wiseman and his historic flight in the weeks to come.