Woonsocket, R. I. – August 19, 1983

Woonsocket, Rhode Island – August 19, 1983 

     On August 19, 1983, and 41-year-old Uxbridge, Massachusetts, man was piloting a one-passenger Ultralight Wizard over Woonsocket when a spark plug wire became disconnected causing the engine to fail.  The homemade aircraft went onto a nose dive and crashed in Cold Spring Park next to a chain link fence about thirty feet from the Blackstone River.  The pilot was transported to Woonsocket Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. 

     The pilot had taken off earlier from behind the Cocke & Kettle restaurant in Uxbridge. 

     Source: Providence Journal, “Ultralight Pilot Injured In Crash”, August 21, 1983, page C-14

The Mystery Surrounding Charles Lindbergh’s Letter To Woonsocket, R.I.

The Mystery Surrounding Charles Lindbergh’s

Letter To Woonsocket, Rhode Island

 

Charles Lindbergh flying over Woonsocket, R.I. – June 1927.
Photo courtesy of The Woonsocket Historical Society.

     The following is a little known story about Col. Charles A. Lindbergh, famous for being the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in May of 1927.  

     On July 22, 1927, shortly after his historic trans-Atlantic flight, Charles Lindbergh landed in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, in his Spirit of St. Louis, as part of a nation-wide good-will tour.  From there he traveled to Providence via motorcade escorted by the Rhode Island State Police along a route lined with thousands of adoring fans. 

     In Providence, Lindbergh gave a speech on the steps of City Hall, and was presented with a medal by Mayor Joseph H. Gainer.    

     After Providence, Lindberg’s next stop was Boston, and upon leaving the state, he’d arranged to circle the City of Woonsocket, and drop a personal note of goodwill from his airplane. The specific wording of the message is unknown, but the note was retrieved, placed in a frame, and put on display at Woonsocket’s Harris Institute Library then located in Woonsocket City Hall on Main Street.  There it remained until the night of November 16, 1927, when it was stolen from its frame during a break-in at the library. 

     It was believed that the crime was committed by the same person or persons responsible for other recent burglaries throughout the city.  Chief Inspector Joseph H. Jalbert, Captain John F. Crowley, and Sergeants John T. Whalen and Omer Daigle worked on the case, and in a few days arrested a 17-year-old youth who confessed to the crimes.  The youth led them to the basement of a friends home on Front Street, and showed them a concealed hiding place under the floor of the washroom where he’d hidden the letter and other items from other burglaries that he’d taken. 

     Although the Lindbergh letter was dampened from being in its hiding place, it was in otherwise good condition, and was returned to the Harris Institute Library.  However, in 1974, the library re-located from City Hall to its present location on Clinton Street.  It was during this move, according to one library employee, that the note disappeared, and its present whereabouts is unknown.    

     A possible reason as to why a special message was dropped over Woonsocket, and not any other Rhode Island municipality, might be due to the fact that Governor, Aram J. Pothier, then governor of the state, resided in Woonsocket.

     Sources:

     Woonsocket Call, “Col. Lindbergh Will Fly Over This City”, July 21, 1927, page 1

     Woonsocket Call, “Lindbergh Thanked For Favoring City With Aerial Visit”, July 23, 1927, page 2.  

     Woonsocket Call, “Lindbergh Message Stolen From Frame At Harris Library”, November 17, 1927, page 1.  

     Woonsocket Call, “Youth Is Bound Over To Grand Jury For Series Of Breaks”, November 25, 1927, page 1.

 

 

 

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