Sunday, July 23, 2017

Scrapbook #2 – One Proud Dad

One thing I know about my grandfather, Sig Levy, is that he he was so proud of both of his sons.  Oh, I know he was proud of his grandkids, too, but since we were just in our teens when he died, he was never able to know us as adults.

I’ve come to the last page of the scrapbook (with many, many more books to go) and it makes my heart full to see it filled with newspaper articles about Sig’s oldest son, and my uncle, Robert Levy.

Rob and Pat Honeymoon

I’d seen this article from the Fresno Bee Republican, February 21, 1952 on but here it is again glued in Sig’s scrapbook.  It’s always fun to read about weddings and honeymoons!

Rob Research Grant 9_17_1958

I love that Sig, apparently, typed the name and date of the paper – little did he know that it would be important all these years later.

I always thought it was so cool that Rob was a biochemist.  I’m not sure I even completely understand what exactly it is but it seemed so mysterious and important.

Professors Receive Research Aid_Courier Journal Louisville

I know this came from the Louisville Courier Journal but I don’t know the exact date.  I would guess it to be very near the above article so maybe some time in February, 1958.  Thanks to a reader's comments, I've learned that this was published on August 26, 1958 on page 3.

This last article was too large to mount in the scrapbook and difficult to scan so I put it in two parts.  Thankfully, the date and publication was left intact – The Fresno Bee, July 20, 1966.

Rob Fresno Bee_7_20_1966

Boy he looks like my dad here!  And here’s part 2.

Rob Fresno Bee_7_20_1966 Part 2

I’ve run across research that Rob published throughout the years but that will be for a later post.

And that’s the end of Scrapbook #2.  Onward!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Scrapbook #2 – This and That

As we come to the close of the scrapbook (one more page to go), there were several miscellaneous articles and photos of interest.

Sig Levy Bros

I don’t remember the specific office building but the Levy Bros. logo will be etched in my mind for the rest of my life.  I always thought it was cool to have a business with my last name.  This photo of Sig is marked February, 1952 – he looks pretty dapper all dressed up and ready for work.

After the death of his last brother, Ben, on March 4, 1965, Levy Bros. was dissolved and Sig went to the office next door, Pearson Realty, to finish out his career.

Pearson Realty

While the date was not included with the article in the scrapbook, I was able to find it electronically – this is from the Fresno Bee Republican, April 1, 1965.

This article from the Fresno Bee Republican, April 4, 1965, was not included in the scrapbook but I found it interesting and tells a bit more of the story.

Levy Bros firm closes Apr 4 1965 Fresno Bee Republican

The real estate and insurance business was in the family’s blood.  Sig’s oldest brother, Herb, had his son, Herb Jr., follow him into the business.  I don’t know the complete story but I know that at some point, this caused a disagreement between the brothers which, ultimately, led to them parting ways.

I belive this article was from February-March, 1965 – most likely also from The Fresno Bee Republican.

Herb Levy

One last photo really hit home – this photo of Sig’s father, and my great grandfather, Herman Levy.  Years ago I blogged about him HERE and was so pleased to finally determine the identify of the mystery photo I had.  And now I have confirmation again.

Our Dad Herman Levy

I can’t help but think about Sig cutting the photo out in order for it to fit in the scrapbook but I’m sure glad he did!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Scrapbook #2 – Lincoln Beachey

My grandfather, Sig Levy, was quite interested in aviation, which isn’t surprising since he was training to become a Flying Cadet (while sitting on a pillow!) when World War I ended.  From letters he and my grandmother wrote back and forth, I know he got up in the air at least once as Loraine shared her fears (she was a Nervous Nellie until the day she died).  My hunch is that if he did get up in a plane again, he failed to tell Loraine about it so she wouldn’t worry.

As part of Sig’s scrapbook, I wrote about Glenn Martin’s historical flight from Fresno to Madera in 1912.  You can read about it HERE.  And the next pages gives us more of a glimpse into Sig’s fascination with air flight.

Here’s page 2 of the Fiftieth Anniersary of Power Flight that Sig authored.

Fiftieth Anniversary of Power Flight page 2

Then in 1914, to the Fresno Fairgrounds, came another one of the world’s most daring aviators known as Lincoln Beachey.  Mr. Sig Levy of the Fresno Republican became personally well acquainted with Beachey and also promoted a barn-storming show fo him at the Fresno Fairgrounds.  At this show, he demonstrated to the public of Fresno, the first up-side-down flying in the world.  At that time, many Fresno citizens had the thrill of taking short serial hops with Mr. Beachey at the Fairgrounds.  At Mr. Sig Levy’s request, Beachey had planned for the Fresno Republican to shower raisins on Market Street in the line of march of a parade to the San Francisco exhibition grounds, on Fresno County day, at the Panama Pacific World’s exposition in San Francisco.  A few days before the event, Beachey, was unfortunately killed in a borrowed plane in San Francisco Bay and the event of showering raisins had to be cancelled; and the world lost one of its greatest fliers.

[the date of 1914 might be incorrect as the fateful day was actually March 14, 1915]

Of course Sig couldn’t stop there and had to remember the event 50 years later with this newspaper account from the San Francisco Sunday Chronicle, March 14 1965.

A Daredevils Last Flight 3_14_1965

Noteworthy information:

On his last flight, however, he had none of the luck which had protected him in the past.  The wooden spars of the wings of his Taube plane simultaneously buckled and the craft went straight into the Bay with Beachey strapped into his seat.
A mechanic said later that a cracking sound had been heard when the wings were tested with sandbags for strength but that the fabric had not been removed to determine if the wings had been weakened.
And Beachey – idol of his day – seemed to have a premonition that death was due.  “If I get killed in this aviation game,” he had said, “it will be a monoplane that does it.

“I’m afraid of them, but someday I’m going to tame one.  One thing I don’t like about a monoplane is that there is too much strain on outspread wings – they are liable to snap off, and, when th t happens, it’s curtains.”

And another article from unknown newspaper and date.

Death of a Dashing Aviator

…”Beachey already had thrilled the spectators with one successful flight on that fatal day and had gone up from the Marina for a second time jovially predicting even great exploits.

Instead of his customary biplane he was flying a new monoplane.  His mechanic warned him that the monoplane might not be able to stand the gaff because of its different construction.

But Beachey climbed into the little crate, waved gaily to a group of admirers and took off.

Suddenly something went wrong – it’s never been determined just what.  The plane began to plummet from a considerable height and plunged down like a meteor into the Bay between two army transport docks at Fort Mason.

When the wrecked plane was retrieved by grappling irons Beachey still was strapped in his seat.  The machine suffered little damage and Beachey’s body sustained only a few bruises and a couple of broken bones  An autopsy showed he’d drowned.”

And that’s the story (at least to my grandfather, Sig Levy) of Lincoln Beachey (13 March 1887 – 14 March 1915).


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Scrapbook #2 – Glenn Martin’s Historical Flight

The next page of my grandfather’s scrapbook had a number of loose items.  A few things looked interesting (more on that in another post), but the photos of airplanes and ‘stories’ written by Sig caught my eye so I thought I’d try to put them together.  And that’s when I learned about Glenn Martin’s historical flight.from Fresno to Madera, California.

Fiftieth Anniversary of Power Flight page 1

“…..Along in 1912, he started on a barn-storming tour of the Pacific Coast fairs, etc.  He appeared at the Fresno District Fair in Fresno, California, in April of 1912.  With the permission of his newspaper, the Fresno Morning Republican, Mr. Sig Levy proposed to Mr. Martin that he try an aerial delivery of newspapers to the neighboring city of Madera, California, twenty-four miles distant.

The proposal was accepted and the great feat made aviation history on April 13, 1912.  This was a great day for the City of Madera and the people of that city, saw for the first time an airplane in the sky over the City of Madera.  And making further history, Madera was the first city in California to receive newspapers by aerial delivery – the time twenty-four miles in twenty-five minutes – a hundred Republican newspapers were dropped to the center of the city by parachute at an elevation of two thousand feet.  Following, on the same return flight to Fresno, came the longest glide in the history of aviation.  The plane, piloted by Mr. Martin, ran out of gas.  At an elevation of four thousand feet, Martin glided for three miles against a fifteen-mile head wind and made a miraculous landing at the Fresno fairgrounds.

This feat made history.  It was colossal.  The exciting news was carried by newspapers throughout the United States.  National Magazines have published feature stories on the event through the years….”

Here’s the highlights of the historical flight.

Historical Flight Highlights

I don’t know who wrote this but if it was not Sig, at least he’s mentioned here.  Can you believe it took 25 minutes to go 24 miles? 

I also found some photos, which look to be professional, with some information on each photo listed by photo number.  Unfortunately, most of the photos were not labeled so I had no way of knowing what was going on but there was one that I found interesting.

Old Number 12

“Old Number 12” was a pusher type airplane built by Martin in 1911 and used extensively in exhibition flying at county fairs.

Based on that description, I wonder if this was the plane (or at least one like it) that made the historic flight.

36 years later, the historic flight was celebrated and there, front and center, was my grandfather, Sig Levy.  There is no indication that Glenn Martin is in this photo.

Glenn Martin Flight 4_13_1912

And more information was included in the story Sig wrote above.

Mr. Martin returned to California and re-enacted the same flight to the City of Madera on October 28, 1948.  This time, he flew his new forty passenger Martin 202 plane carryng one thousand pounds of Fresno Bee Newspapers and a capacity load of civic officials.

The distance this time was made in five minutes flat.  The Glenn L. Martn Company continues to be one of the largest airplane factories in the world, building jets and gigantic placement jobs, the largest in aviation’s history, and the Martin bombers and other types of planes played a very important role in World War II, which brought victory to America. 

I wonder if Sig was on that flight?

Thinking that I’d seen something about this in my stash of photos and newspaper clippings, I took a quick look through a box and sure enough, I found this.

Martin Takeoff Memory 10_29_1948

I think there’s no doubt which one is Sig but I wondered what they were pointing at.  Sure enough, he had written on the back of the photo:

Levy points to where Martin took off in 1912 for his delivery of Fresno Republicans to the City of Madera.  Fresno County Fairgrounds.  Return visit to Fresno Oct 29 – 48.

While sometimes I can be frustrated with my ancestors for failing to label a photo, this time I LOVED Sig for telling me what was going on here. 

So for those of you who might live in Madera, the next time you pick up a newspaper you can thank Glenn L. Martin!