Bellingham, MA – June 29, 1902

Bellingham, Massachusetts – June 29, 1902

      On June 29, 1902, a man identified as Professor Hilman was at Hoag Lake in Bellingham to give an exhibition with his balloon.  Just prior to takeoff, the balloon was being held down by assistants grasping on to ropes.  At the proper signal from Hilman, the ropes were released, and as the balloon rose upward.  Louis Ward, one of the assistants, somehow got his leg caught in one of the ropes and was suddenly jerked skyward – face down!   

     The balloon was rising fast, and the best Ward could do was to hold onto the rope to keep from falling.  Fortunately he had the ability get himself in an upright position which made holding on easier. 

     From the gondola beneath the balloon, Hilman shouted instructions, and then jumped with his parachute leaving Ward in his predicament.  

     The balloon began to descend and came down in a tree in Milford, Massachusetts, about a mile from Hoag Lake.   Ward was unharmed, but definitely shaken by his ordeal.       

     Ironically, Wards sister, Mabelle, was to have an balloon accident of her own at the same park on July 4, 1902.  (See Bellingham, MA – July 4, 1902  under Massachusetts Civil Aviation Accidents on this website for more information.)             

     Silver Lake is a body of water that lies in the approximate geographical center of the town of Bellingham, Massachusetts.  At the dawn of the 20th century it was known as Hoag Lake, and was a popular tourist destination due to an amusement park located along its shores. The park was owned and operated by the Milford, Attleboro, & Woonsocket Street Railway Company, and it cost a nickel to ride the street car to get there.   Besides a large carousel and other rides, the park boasted a restaurant, a dance hall, a theatre, a beach, outdoor concerts, boat rentals, live animal acts, and the occasional balloon exhibition.

 Source:

Pawtucket Times, “Miraculous Escape From Death By Fall”, June 30, 1902, Pg.1

 

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