get it home page promo

Replication of history

2011-09-29T00:07:00Z 2011-09-29T00:20:48Z Replication of historyBy ALANA LISTOE Independent Record Helena Independent Record
September 29, 2011 12:07 am  • 

Students played a significant role in this weekend’s Cromwell Dixon Centennial festivities. From organizing initial stakeholder meetings to building a model of the Little Hummingbird, local students are a driving force behind the three-day aviation celebration in Helena.

Capital High student Sidney Wilhem, with the help of her father and grandfather, built a replica of the Little Hummingbird. The model of the early aircraft built from recycled bicycle tires won Grand Champion in this year’s Vigilante Parade and is now on display at the local science museum.

Wilhem, a sophomore, will dress up as Cromwell Dixon and meet with visitors for the kickoff event beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday at ExplorationWorks.

The model is built on a tricycle chassis, is powered by a lawnmower engine and will be on display at a Spokane, Wash., museum sometime in January.

While Sidney’s involvement in the centennial celebration might be the most visual, Claire Longsworth gets the credit for getting all the stakeholders together to set the wings in motion. She, with the help of fellow students Maddy Cade and Colter Brustkern, helped the vested parties organize.

Louise Ferst, a teacher in Montana City who worked with the students, said she always looks for projects that are significant to this environment and local history.

“I try to use place-based education,” she said.

Students were drawn to Dixon because of his significant achievements at such a young age, Ferst said. 

Dixon was billed as the world’s youngest pilot at age 14 — about the same age Wilhelm is now — and became the first to cross the Continental Divide in a plane when he flew over Mullan Pass near Helena at age 19 on Sept. 30, 1911.

“Some students describe him as an unsung hero,” Ferst said.

Ferst said one of the most significant opportunities throughout the weekend is the participation of Jeff Berry, grandson of Dixon’s sister Lulu.

Berry recalls his grandmother talking about Dixon and will share his memories with Helena residents.

The weekend continues with flying opportunities for young people. 

On Saturday (weather permitting) the Helena Chapter 344 of the Experimental Aircraft Association offers a pancake breakfast and free flights over the Dixon landing sit in Blossburg for students between 8 and 17 years old at the University of Montana – Helena aircraft maintenance hangar beginning at 8 a.m. Members of the Montana Antique Aircraft Association are scheduled to fly in to display their planes, and the Continental Divide Tuba Society will play early 20th century tunes.

Events at nearby locations include open hangars and visits to the 1911 memorial to Cromwell by the people of Helena at Morrison Park. These events are being offered voluntarily and hosted at participating locations along Airport Road. A shuttle will be available.

The centennial celebration wraps up on Sunday, Oct. 2 at the rustic shelter at the Lewis and Clark Fairgrounds from 1 to 4 p.m. It is the centennial of the day Cromwell died in a plane crash in Spokane.

A no-host (bring your blanket and basket!) old-fashioned picnic features a 2 p.m. presentation “Turkey Trot to Foxtrot” by Mark Matthews of the Missoula Folklore Society. Through music, contemporary accounts and demonstrations, Matthews brings to life the 1911 dance floor and shows how dancing helped build community. Student vendors will offer “peanuts, popcorn and cracker jacks,” lemonade and licorice, and the Hopeful Troubadours provide musical entertainment. 


Copyright 2015 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Civil Dialogue

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Name-calling, crude language and personal abuse are not welcome. Moderators will monitor comments with an eye toward maintaining a high level of civility in this forum. Our comment policy explains the rules of the road for registered commenters. If you receive an error after submitting a comment, please contact us.

If your comment was not approved, perhaps:

    1. You called someone an idiot, a racist, a dope, a moron, etc. Please, no name-calling or profanity (or veiled profanity -- #$%^&*).

    2. You rambled, failed to stay on topic or exhibited troll-like behavior intended to hijack the discussion at hand.

    3. YOU SHOUTED YOUR COMMENT IN ALL CAPS. This is hard to read and annoys readers.

    4. You have issues with a business. Have a bad meal? Feel you were overcharged at the store? New car is a lemon? Contact the business directly with your customer service concerns.

    5. You believe the newspaper's coverage is unfair. It would be better to write the editor at editor@helenair.com. This is a forum for community discussion, not for media criticism. We'd rather address your concerns directly.

    6. You included an e-mail address or phone number, pretended to be someone you aren't or offered a comment that makes no sense.

    7. You accused someone of a crime or assigned guilt or punishment to someone suspected of a crime.

    8. Your comment is in really poor taste.

    9. Don't write a novel. If your comment is longer than the article you're commenting on, you might want to cut it down a bit. Lengthy comments will likely be removed.
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

mother-tile

Follow the Independent Record

Great Helena Businesses

Featured Offers & Deals