LeRoy Pennysaver & News

LE ROY PENNYSAVER & NEWS - AUGUST 7, 2022 by Lynne Belluscio A seven foot bronze statue of Amelia Earhart was placed in the U.S. C a p i t o l ’ s N a t i o n a l Statuary Hall on July 27. It is only the 11th woman in Statuary Hall. The statue was paid for by the Atchison Amelia Earhart Foundation, which will eventually open a museum dedicated to Earhart in her hometown of Atchison, Kansas. Each state can choose two noteworthy people to be enshrined in Statuary Hall. In 1999, the Kansas legislature voted to replace their earlier designees by statues with statues of President Dwight D. Eisenhower andAmelia Earhart. Funds were easily raised for Eisenhower, whose statue was erected in 2003, but it has taken twenty years for Earhart’s statue to appear in Washington. The sculpture by Mark and George Lundeen stands on a pedestal of Kansas limestone and replaces a 12,000 pound marble statue of former Kansas senator, John J. Ingalls. Interestingly, the statue was unveiled two months after the 90 year anniversary of Earhart’s solo flight across the A t l a n t i c . H o w e v e r , she was to be known as “Lady Lindy” because of her earlier flight on June 18, 1928, as a passenger aboard the tri-motor Fokker airplane, the “Friendship”, piloted by Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon. After the flight, the Friendship was bought by Donald Woodward, packed up and shipped back across the Atlantic to New York. The huge gas tanks were removed and light-weight bamboo and leather chairs were made for passengers. Windows were carved out of the fuselage and the plane was flown from New York to LeRoy in time for the opening ceremonies of the Donald Woodward Airport on Asbury Road. Contrary to popular belief, Amelia Earhart did not fly into LeRoy. Rather, she was in Rochester in January 1928, and Don Woodward had a car sent for her, and she came to LeRoy on January 24, 1929. Her photograph was taken with the Friendship in the background and later, she was honored at a tea. The Friendship was a large plane compared to other planes at the time. It had a wing-span of 72 feet and was 53 feet in length. It was powered by three Wright Whirlwind 200 horse-power engines. When it stood in the door of the hangar, there were only inches on each side of the wings. Within the year, Woodward had sold the Friendship to a group in South America, who supposedly planned to fly it across theAtlantic again. That never happened, and the story of the Friendship is shrouded in as much mystery as the woman who became known as Lady Lindy. It is believed that the Friendship’s final days were in Columbia, and that the tail section was in a bar. The rest of the canvas and wood plane rotted away. A few years ago, Hillary Swank appeared in the movie “Amelia” which depicted the flying heroine in her early years. A replica of the Friendship was built - -without the engines - - and it was featured in the movie. The replica is now part of the collection of the Canadian Bush Pilots Museum in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. Amelia Earhart in the Capitol Amelia Earhart Pictured above on Right