To date, this blog site has posted 22 historic reviews of various accomplishments of pioneer airplane pilot Fred J. Wiseman and the significance of his historic first airmail flight from Petaluma to Santa Rosa 17-18, 1911. Readers may review these posts by clicking on the Fred Wiseman “category” heading in the column to the right.
Our last blog on this subject was titled “Let’s not forget May 15, 1947” and featured an announcement made by the Smithsonian Institution 36 years after his 1911 two-day trip to Santa Rosa. Copied here is the essence of that blog:
“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 official 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 resident 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.
Locally, the Fred J. Wiseman Monument Dedication ceremonies took place on Saturday, August17, 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.”
Tomorrow, August 17, 2011, will be the 43rd anniversary of that monument dedication; but, what many Petalumans don’t know is that that plaque was moved to the newly created Wiseman Aviation Park, next to the Petaluma Airport in 1991. One last mystery connected to the monument still remains unsolved. What happened to the time capsule that was sealed in the monument and scheduled for re-opening in the year 2000. To the best of my knowledge, that question has yet to be answered 11 years later – 2011.
If we ever find the answer to that mystery, it will be the subject of another Fred Wiseman blog. Stay tuned.