Historic flight remembered a century later

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STONE HARBOR – Children and adults watched a biplane’s aerobatics Friday, presented to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the state’s first air mail delivery from Ocean City to Stone Harbor.

Paul Sena, 9, of Limerick, Pa., said he was amazed after seeing the 1940 Waco UPF-7 biplane piloted by Joe Flood from Red Baron Air Tours of Cape May County. Sena is vacationing with family in Stone Harbor and never saw a biplane before.

On Aug. 3, officials, residents and visitors turned out at the 95th Street beach pavilion in Stone Harbor to remember when pilot Earle Marshall Reid flew mail between Ocean City and Stone Harbor in 1912. He made trips Aug. 3-10, except that Sunday.

Reid turned his Wright aircraft into a hydro-plane for flying between Ocean City and Stone Harbor, according to information provided by Stone Harbor. Such mail drops continued until Sept. 5, 1912.

Looking back to 1912, Stone Harbor Mayor Suzanne Walters said she wondered what the landscape would have looked like when Reid flew the plane. She imagined a lot of bayberry and cattle.

Walters also called the air mail drop momentous.

“Back in 1912, I can tell you this was a very big deal for Stone Harbor, Ocean  City, and the United States Postal Service,” Walters said in a prepared statement. “The air mail flight was supposed to last from Aug. 3 through the 10th, 1912, but it was so successful that it continued into September with both air mail and passenger service.”

After the ceremony Friday, people went to the Stone Harbor Museum to get a commemorative U.S. Postal Service's postcard with a Forever sailboat stamp. Also stamped on the postcard, in part, was “Aerial U.S. Mail Service, 100th Anniversary.”

Steve Jarosz of Powell, Ohio, was one of those who took a piece of history with him.

He said he is an avid stamp collector and has been since he was 5 years old.

“It [the flyover] was awesome,” said Jarosz, 38, as he and his daughter, 5-year-old Kyleigh, were in line getting the postcards.

Stone Harbor acting postmaster Marleen Moore was inking the postcard and Cape May Point postmaster Melissa Lomax was handing them out at the Stone Harbor Museum.

For a short time, the cancellation stamp commemorating the 100th anniversary is available at the Stone Harbor Museum. The museum is at 235 95th St. in Stone Harbor.

Call the museum at 368-7500 or see www.stoneharbormuseum.org.

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