Sunday, December 8, 2019
Did Charles Lindbergh, who in 1927 became the first man to fly the Atlantic ocean, once land his plane in Albany?
The late Johnny Thrasher, a former teacher and principal in Clinton County, wrote to Clinton County News in 1975 to tell about the time that the first airplane landed in Albany. The year was 1919. No one remembered the name of the pilot but, according to Thrasher, a history of Lindbergh tells the story of the famous pilot running out of fuel and having to make an emergency landing -- in a small town in southern Kentucky.
Thrasher was the principal at Albany Elementary in 1919 and also taught the 7th and 8th grades. Zel Davis taught the lower grades and W. M. Watkins was the high school teacher. The school was located beside the fairgrounds where Truck Rack-It Inc. is now located.
"One day we heard a roar and the students seemed frightened. Suddenly, one of the students, Roscoe Armstrong, jumped from his seat and screamed that an airplane had landed in the field near the school."
"About that time, an elderly lady who lived nearby ran to the door and screamed "The world is coming to an end!" The students jumped up from their seats and ran out the door. The old lady who had warned us the world was coming to an end had fainted and fallen to the ground just outside the door. The students were so excited to get to the airplane that they ran right over her."
After the pilot had found some fuel he attempted to take off but in the process hit an object which damaged the plane. The next day the wings were removed from the plane and it was hauled away.
The children trampling over the lady who thought the end of time was coming probably only led more to her belief that it was true. In reality, it was the end of the world for the youngsters as they has known it, and the beginning of a new world much different from what they had known before. It was the beginning of the air age.
Could the pilot have been Lindbergh? Thrasher wrote that his account of having landed in Southern Kentucky in 1919 after running out of fuel and then damaging his plane while trying to take off and having to haul the plane out makes it very probable that he was the pilot that scared the daylights out of young and old alike in Albany 100 years ago this year. And then, there is the photo. True or not, like the 'All for Benny' pitch, it makes for a great local story.
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