Air Mail Program Attracts Large Crowd

April 24, 2014 at 6:20 PM

haag_solensky_craw.jpg

From left:  Harvey Haag, Mike Solensky, and Clarence Krach with a picture of an air mail pickup. 

   Mike Solensky and Harvey Haag transported a large crowd back to the days of air mail pickup during the 1940s at the April meeting of the DuBois Area Historical Society. A crowd of 45 people overflowed the meeting room of the E. D. Reitz Museum for the program, “History of Air Mail in DuBois”.

     Solensky is a retired U. S. Air pilot who grew up in Clearfield County and currently lives at Treasure Lake. He presented the first portion of the program relating to the history and operation of the air mail pickup route, one where planes did not land, but snagged mail bags while in flight. DuBois and Clearfield were both stops on the newly conceived route on May 14, 1939. This flight came two days after the inaugural effort between Pittsburgh and Latrobe.

     Instead of landing at airports, the airplane flew over and snagged a container of mail suspended between two poles on a nylon line. Once it was snagged, the bag was reeled into the plane with a winch by the flight mechanic, one of a two-man crew. A container of mail to be delivered was dropped off at the same time. The DuBois pickup was made at the old airport at Spider Lake.

air_mail_map.jpg

A map showing the air mail routes.

     Haag from Clearfield, presented the history of air mail postage. He displayed stamps and first day covers from his personal collection related to the air mail time period, which lasted until 1949. At that time the rules changed allowing mail and passengers to be carried on the same flight, effectively ending the air mail experience.

    Adding to the evening was the attendance of Clarence Krach. Krach, as a young boy could be seen in a photo of the last air mail pickup in DuBois. All-American Aviation’s Clifford “Kip” Barraclough, who Solensky co-piloted for during his flying days, flew that final flight.

     Upcoming DuBois Area Historical Society events include:

     May 10 - 6th Annual Spring Walk, Soldier, led by Betty Anderson, 10 a.m., free. Meet at Soldier Wesleyan Church on the Reynoldsville-Sykesville road.

     May 16 – Fundraiser Italian Oven, DuBois, all day. Get a voucher from any board member or print one from the Society’s website: www.http://duboishs.com.

     June 7 – Annual Festival of the Arts, Historical Society (E. D. Reitz) Museum open 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

     June 24-26 – Fundraiser DuBois Pizza Hut Wingstreet and Clearfield Pizza Hut (three days). Get a voucher from any board member or print one from the Society’s website: www.http://duboishs.com.

     July 12 – DuBois Area Historical Society garage sale, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Come to the garage doors at the back of the Historical Society (E. D. Reitz) museum.

     July 18-20 – Fundraiser at Ruby Tuesday’s Restaurant, DuBois. Get a voucher from any board member or print one from the Society’s website: www.http://duboishs.com.

     August 22 – Fundraiser Hoss’s Steak and Sea House, DuBois, all day. Get a voucher from any board member or print one from the Society’s website: www.http://duboishs.com.

     September 18 – Annual Dinner, speaker Dee Matthews, DuBois Senior Center, 6 p.m. Cost $18. Menu:  Marsalles chicken or stuffed pork chop, roasted red potatoes, glazed baby carrots, Sonoma salad, dessert, and beverage.

     October 11 – 7th Annual Spirit of DuBois Lantern Walk, details to be announced.

     October 17 – Fundraiser Italian Oven, DuBois, all day. Get a voucher from any board member or print one from the Society’s website: www.http://duboishs.com.

     November 21-23 – Fundraiser at Ruby Tuesday’s Restaurant, DuBois. Get a voucher from any board member or print one from the Society’s website: www.http://duboishs.com.

     December 12 – Fundraiser Hoss’s Steak and Sea House, DuBois, all day. Get a voucher from any board member or print one from the Society’s website: www.http://duboishs.com.



Tags:
Category: News