Sunday, January 2, 2011

Speaking of Blimps...

Yesterday was a perfect day for parades and football. I ventured out between bites of queso and guacamole to snap this shot of the blimp circling over the Rose Bowl.

This region is no stranger to zeppelins -- and I don't just mean the strains of Ramble On I heard coming from my neighbor's new years eve party the other night. Almost a hundred years ago, a pair of South Pasadena police officers sailed 800 feet above the city in a dirigible made by Roy Knabenshue. Knabenshue was the very first person to fly a dirigible in the US, and he made quite a few test flights above our city in the fall of 1913 to make sure the airship would safely be able to carry a larger passenger load.

His tests proved successful and soon anybody who was anybody just had to take a ride in the amazing flying machine. Paying $25 for 25 minutes, riders departed from a hangar on Marengo Avenue in Pasadena -- just 300 feet from the South Pas border. Once aloft, passengers were treated to a spectacular view of the San Gabriel Valley. While it was promoted as a "daring adventure for brave gentlemen," half of the passengers were women. Several male journalists at the time expressed surprise that the ladies weren't more terrified. "There is an utter lack of terror or even apprehension," one reporter wrote. "Not one of them has at any time during a trip expressed alarm." Atta girls, South Pas Victorian ladies! Incidentally, a news report in the Record at the same time carried the headline, "Plucky Woman Dons Man's Attire." She was Marie Caspari, and she shocked South Pasadena society by showing up for an annual clean-up day wearing flannel trousers. "I suppose a great many persons will consider me immodest," she said. "When I start to do cleaning, I always put on a pair of men's trousers, and when wearing them I do not feel in the least embarrassed. Why should I?"

(I don't know for sure, but I'll bet she rode Knabenshue's zeppelin at least twice.)


Dixie Jane Chapman said...

Yesterday I could not comment because my password was not accepted. This is a test.

Dixie Jane said...

still testing

Dixie Jane said...

Well, I guess I succeeded.

Now about the blimp. I remember lying on the beach during my youth, eyes closed and in search of the California tan. I looked up and a blimp was hovering above me. People were waving. Soon after I smelled booze and then was kissed by a marine whose friend was close by telling the kissing one not to do it. It was an interesting day.

Yesterday was a beautiful day for a parade, a Rose Bowl game and a hovering blimp.

I haven't communicated with any of you since last year. I will be looking forward to your comments.

It's dark and cold and I am in need of breakfast.

Have a good day everyone.

GratefulTwinMom said...

Sure wish they still had those rides now; I'd love a bird's eye view of those San Gabriel mountains right now. But then again, I don't know if I could muster as much decorum as those Victorian ladies....

Judy Williams said...

I can't believe I missed yesterday. Happy New Year Everyone!

I felt like I was with the SP crowd, as I watched the Rose Parade from start to finish as well as the Rose Bowl, where I rooted for the small team TCU as they defeated Wisconsin by 2 points!!

I have seen the Goodyear blimp hovering over our town, usually in association with a UT football game.

As much of a chicken and non-risk taker as I am, I might have been one of those $25 customers who took a ride on the blimp. On second thought, I think I'd rather ride in a hot air balloon over Napa!

wv- saclise- When riding over Napa, I will carry a saclise full of wine.

Mister Earl said...

Great story, Laurie. Yesterday I went to the game. It's something I do every 6 years or so. Gave mini architecture tours to folks on the walk to the Bowl. Watched through binoculars a plane circling overhead, waiting for it to release its cargo of Navy skydivers. The way it works in a game where one of "my" teams isn't playing - I just start watching and somehow find myself pulling for one of the teams. I was sitting yesterday in a sea of Wisconsin red, but started feeling I wanted the purple TCU horned frogs to win. This required some acting at times! It was a great game: no injuries, no fumbles, no interceptions.

My stats:
Miles walked: 7
Hours standing because no one in my section would sit down: 3.5
Hours spent: 9

Diana said...

My dog and I went for a long walk in the sunshine yesterday (since there isn't likely to be much of it for the next few days) and because the near planet was at the Rose Parade and Bowl game, we about had the place to ourselves...except for the Goodyear blimp. My dog, the not-any-too-bright Sadie, took an instant dislike to this thing that did NOT belong in her sky, and bounced as high as she could, barking like mad! I thought I would fall down laughing...but, of course, she was quite effective, as the blimp moved off sedately.

Well, we all celebrate in our own ways, don't we?

Trish said...

plucky is right for Ms Caspari...there was a time that a woman could be arrested for wearing men's clothing (and vice versa for men wearing women's clothing).

sure that the zepplin (and Ms Caspari) were a sight in 1913!

and Diana...we know several dogs like that---we often have zepplins around here for sporting events and more than one pup has "barked them off". lol.

wv: probuil---what the kids actually mean when they say "prolly" ;-)

TheChieftess said...

Great story!!! 1913 was the year of my mom's Glendale!!! I always liked the old Katharine Hepburn movies where she wore pants that looked like they were men's pants....she certainly made them look good!!!

Mike said...

This is great, Laurie.