On this date: 1st airplane flights in Dansville


August 15, 1911

In 1911 the Dansville Board of Trade sponsored an “Old Home Week” celebration, which was designed to lure back former Dansvillians for a visit to their old stomping grounds.  The feature event of the week was an airplane exhibition by a pilot named Walter Johnson, flying a Thomas Headless Biplane.  These were the first airplane flights in Livingston County history; takeoffs and landings occurred from a field owned by Stark Brothers Nursery; near the future site of Ellis B. Hyde Elementary School.  A young Lynn Pickard was among the spectators; he would go on to found Dansville’s own airport.

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One thought on “On this date: 1st airplane flights in Dansville

  1. Lynn Pickard, Town Leader, Dies at 79

    Lynn E. Pickard, longtime Dansville political leader. onetime acting postmaster, star college athlete and the man credited with convincing the government to construct the Municipal Airport here in the early 1930’s, died yesterday (July 31st, 1968) in Dansville Hospital following a long illness. He was 79. Mr. Pickard was elected supervisor of the Town of North Dansville in 1939. He also served in that post during 1942-43 and again from 1946 through two terms to 1949.

    He was appointed acting postmaster July 1, 1949 and continued in that position until 1953. He was an assistant director for the postmasters of Livingston County, director of the County Association from 1950-1953 and a member of the State Board of Directors, National Association of Postmasters during those years. It was through his efforts that an airport was established in Dansville in 1924 and opened with federal aid in 1927. He also was instrumental in opening an airport in Batavia in 1944.

    Mr. Pickard was three times mayor of the Village of Dansville and served 14 years as town highway superintendent and was once tax collector in West Sparta where his father was town supervisor.

    A strong and well-known Democrat, he was approved by all town, county and state Democratic committees for nomination as Assemblyman in the 1942 elections.

    Mr. Pickard was also known throughout the area as an airplane enthusiast and at the chief State Defense set-up, director having charge of nine airports.

    Enlisting in the Army Air Force in 1918, he was a pioneer flier and was commissioned as a pilot with combat rating. He was a member of the Quiet Birdmen, an organization of early aviators, and a member of the Aviators Post of New York City. As a second lieutenant, he joined the Active Reserve of the Air Force and served from 1919 to 1926 He held a commercial pilot license with instructor’s rating.

    He was a past commander of Daniel Goho Post 87; Aviators Post 743; Phoenix Lodge 115, F. & A.M.; Hornell Shrine; Damascus Temple of Rochester; Loyal Order of Moose; Dansville Fish & Game Club

    Mr. Pickard graduated from Dansville High School in 1910 and from Colgate University where he was an outstanding track team performer in 1914. He was captain of the track team in 1913-14, president of the student body in 1914 and was delegate to Birmingham, Ala., as a Colgate representative in 1915

    In widespread community efforts, Mr. Pickard also established swimming facilities at The Rocks in 1919; was chairman for the Red Cross Fund Drive in 1951-52 and co-chairman in 1963. He was a delegate to the National Red Cross Convention in Washington, D.C. in June 1993.

    Funeral arrangements, which are incomplete, are being made by the Chamberlin Funeral Home.

    Genesee Country Express, T
    hursday, August 1, 1968,
    Page 1 and 2

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