Sunday, July 16, 2017

Scrapbook #2 – This and That

As we come to the close of the scrapbook (one more page to go), there were several miscellaneous articles and photos of interest.

Sig Levy Bros

I don’t remember the specific office building but the Levy Bros. logo will be etched in my mind for the rest of my life.  I always thought it was cool to have a business with my last name.  This photo of Sig is marked February, 1952 – he looks pretty dapper all dressed up and ready for work.

After the death of his last brother, Ben, on March 4, 1965, Levy Bros. was dissolved and Sig went to the office next door, Pearson Realty, to finish out his career.

Pearson Realty

While the date was not included with the article in the scrapbook, I was able to find it electronically – this is from the Fresno Bee Republican, April 1, 1965.

This article from the Fresno Bee Republican, April 4, 1965, was not included in the scrapbook but I found it interesting and tells a bit more of the story.

Levy Bros firm closes Apr 4 1965 Fresno Bee Republican

The real estate and insurance business was in the family’s blood.  Sig’s oldest brother, Herb, had his son, Herb Jr., follow him into the business.  I don’t know the complete story but I know that at some point, this caused a disagreement between the brothers which, ultimately, led to them parting ways.

I belive this article was from February-March, 1965 – most likely also from The Fresno Bee Republican.

Herb Levy

One last photo really hit home – this photo of Sig’s father, and my great grandfather, Herman Levy.  Years ago I blogged about him HERE and was so pleased to finally determine the identify of the mystery photo I had.  And now I have confirmation again.

Our Dad Herman Levy

I can’t help but think about Sig cutting the photo out in order for it to fit in the scrapbook but I’m sure glad he did!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Scrapbook #2 – Lincoln Beachey

My grandfather, Sig Levy, was quite interested in aviation, which isn’t surprising since he was training to become a Flying Cadet (while sitting on a pillow!) when World War I ended.  From letters he and my grandmother wrote back and forth, I know he got up in the air at least once as Loraine shared her fears (she was a Nervous Nellie until the day she died).  My hunch is that if he did get up in a plane again, he failed to tell Loraine about it so she wouldn’t worry.

As part of Sig’s scrapbook, I wrote about Glenn Martin’s historical flight from Fresno to Madera in 1912.  You can read about it HERE.  And the next pages gives us more of a glimpse into Sig’s fascination with air flight.

Here’s page 2 of the Fiftieth Anniersary of Power Flight that Sig authored.

Fiftieth Anniversary of Power Flight page 2

Then in 1914, to the Fresno Fairgrounds, came another one of the world’s most daring aviators known as Lincoln Beachey.  Mr. Sig Levy of the Fresno Republican became personally well acquainted with Beachey and also promoted a barn-storming show fo him at the Fresno Fairgrounds.  At this show, he demonstrated to the public of Fresno, the first up-side-down flying in the world.  At that time, many Fresno citizens had the thrill of taking short serial hops with Mr. Beachey at the Fairgrounds.  At Mr. Sig Levy’s request, Beachey had planned for the Fresno Republican to shower raisins on Market Street in the line of march of a parade to the San Francisco exhibition grounds, on Fresno County day, at the Panama Pacific World’s exposition in San Francisco.  A few days before the event, Beachey, was unfortunately killed in a borrowed plane in San Francisco Bay and the event of showering raisins had to be cancelled; and the world lost one of its greatest fliers.

[the date of 1914 might be incorrect as the fateful day was actually March 14, 1915]

Of course Sig couldn’t stop there and had to remember the event 50 years later with this newspaper account from the San Francisco Sunday Chronicle, March 14 1965.

A Daredevils Last Flight 3_14_1965

Noteworthy information:

On his last flight, however, he had none of the luck which had protected him in the past.  The wooden spars of the wings of his Taube plane simultaneously buckled and the craft went straight into the Bay with Beachey strapped into his seat.
A mechanic said later that a cracking sound had been heard when the wings were tested with sandbags for strength but that the fabric had not been removed to determine if the wings had been weakened.
And Beachey – idol of his day – seemed to have a premonition that death was due.  “If I get killed in this aviation game,” he had said, “it will be a monoplane that does it.

“I’m afraid of them, but someday I’m going to tame one.  One thing I don’t like about a monoplane is that there is too much strain on outspread wings – they are liable to snap off, and, when th t happens, it’s curtains.”

And another article from unknown newspaper and date.

Death of a Dashing Aviator

…”Beachey already had thrilled the spectators with one successful flight on that fatal day and had gone up from the Marina for a second time jovially predicting even great exploits.

Instead of his customary biplane he was flying a new monoplane.  His mechanic warned him that the monoplane might not be able to stand the gaff because of its different construction.

But Beachey climbed into the little crate, waved gaily to a group of admirers and took off.

Suddenly something went wrong – it’s never been determined just what.  The plane began to plummet from a considerable height and plunged down like a meteor into the Bay between two army transport docks at Fort Mason.

When the wrecked plane was retrieved by grappling irons Beachey still was strapped in his seat.  The machine suffered little damage and Beachey’s body sustained only a few bruises and a couple of broken bones  An autopsy showed he’d drowned.”

And that’s the story (at least to my grandfather, Sig Levy) of Lincoln Beachey (13 March 1887 – 14 March 1915).


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Scrapbook #2 – Glenn Martin’s Historical Flight

The next page of my grandfather’s scrapbook had a number of loose items.  A few things looked interesting (more on that in another post), but the photos of airplanes and ‘stories’ written by Sig caught my eye so I thought I’d try to put them together.  And that’s when I learned about Glenn Martin’s historical flight.from Fresno to Madera, California.

Fiftieth Anniversary of Power Flight page 1

“…..Along in 1912, he started on a barn-storming tour of the Pacific Coast fairs, etc.  He appeared at the Fresno District Fair in Fresno, California, in April of 1912.  With the permission of his newspaper, the Fresno Morning Republican, Mr. Sig Levy proposed to Mr. Martin that he try an aerial delivery of newspapers to the neighboring city of Madera, California, twenty-four miles distant.

The proposal was accepted and the great feat made aviation history on April 13, 1912.  This was a great day for the City of Madera and the people of that city, saw for the first time an airplane in the sky over the City of Madera.  And making further history, Madera was the first city in California to receive newspapers by aerial delivery – the time twenty-four miles in twenty-five minutes – a hundred Republican newspapers were dropped to the center of the city by parachute at an elevation of two thousand feet.  Following, on the same return flight to Fresno, came the longest glide in the history of aviation.  The plane, piloted by Mr. Martin, ran out of gas.  At an elevation of four thousand feet, Martin glided for three miles against a fifteen-mile head wind and made a miraculous landing at the Fresno fairgrounds.

This feat made history.  It was colossal.  The exciting news was carried by newspapers throughout the United States.  National Magazines have published feature stories on the event through the years….”

Here’s the highlights of the historical flight.

Historical Flight Highlights

I don’t know who wrote this but if it was not Sig, at least he’s mentioned here.  Can you believe it took 25 minutes to go 24 miles? 

I also found some photos, which look to be professional, with some information on each photo listed by photo number.  Unfortunately, most of the photos were not labeled so I had no way of knowing what was going on but there was one that I found interesting.

Old Number 12

“Old Number 12” was a pusher type airplane built by Martin in 1911 and used extensively in exhibition flying at county fairs.

Based on that description, I wonder if this was the plane (or at least one like it) that made the historic flight.

36 years later, the historic flight was celebrated and there, front and center, was my grandfather, Sig Levy.  There is no indication that Glenn Martin is in this photo.

Glenn Martin Flight 4_13_1912

And more information was included in the story Sig wrote above.

Mr. Martin returned to California and re-enacted the same flight to the City of Madera on October 28, 1948.  This time, he flew his new forty passenger Martin 202 plane carryng one thousand pounds of Fresno Bee Newspapers and a capacity load of civic officials.

The distance this time was made in five minutes flat.  The Glenn L. Martn Company continues to be one of the largest airplane factories in the world, building jets and gigantic placement jobs, the largest in aviation’s history, and the Martin bombers and other types of planes played a very important role in World War II, which brought victory to America. 

I wonder if Sig was on that flight?

Thinking that I’d seen something about this in my stash of photos and newspaper clippings, I took a quick look through a box and sure enough, I found this.

Martin Takeoff Memory 10_29_1948

I think there’s no doubt which one is Sig but I wondered what they were pointing at.  Sure enough, he had written on the back of the photo:

Levy points to where Martin took off in 1912 for his delivery of Fresno Republicans to the City of Madera.  Fresno County Fairgrounds.  Return visit to Fresno Oct 29 – 48.

While sometimes I can be frustrated with my ancestors for failing to label a photo, this time I LOVED Sig for telling me what was going on here. 

So for those of you who might live in Madera, the next time you pick up a newspaper you can thank Glenn L. Martin!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Scrapbook #2 – Fresno’s Yesterdays

The next pages of the scrapbook are filled with random articles – I especially love the ones that take us back to years gone by.

Forty Years Ago Mandolin Club

Interesting to see that both Sig and his brother, Herb, attended the convention together.  The two had a falling out later in life and by the time this story ran in the paper, I’m quite sure they didn’t speak to each other.

Forty Years Ago Sig Return to Fresno

I’m not sure that Sig ever lived in Oakland but this could be a clue.  He graduated from Fresno High School in March, 1906 and in 1907 was working for the Fresno Republican so this must have originally been somewhere in between there.  So if that’s the case, this article would have been from 1946-1947.

Forty Years Ago Sig Tennis
I wish I knew the date on this.  But I’m guessing it was in the late 1940’s to early 1950’s.  I knew Sig played tennis as he talked about it in the letters he wrote to my grandmother.  Plus, I have a few of his tennis rackets and even have this wonderful photo of him.
Sig Tennis

Times (and tennis clothes) sure have changed!

Forty Years Ago Postal Card Day 4_6_1950

Once again, Sig was promoting Raisin Day!

Forty Years Ago 4_20_1956

Oh look at that – a memory of Sig visiting the James Jeffries training camp.  I wrote about that HERE.  The paragraph above is interesting – a walking stick made from an oak rafter which was in the log cabin where Mark Twain was born.  Which reminds me of my childhood friend, Mary, who was told that Mark Twain was her 6th cousin.  And since Mary and I were blood sisters (remember doing that?), that would make Mark Twain my 6th blood cousin.

Fifty Years Ago May_25_1957

More tennis events!

Page 1 Forty Years Ago

Looks like Sig was the editor of the Fresno High School Owl in 1906. 

Page 1 Fresnos Yesterdays Jan 26 1946

I’m not exactly sure what an “advertising cut” is but this might need some further research.  A copyright?  And who was E.A. Berg?

Page 1 Fresno Yesterdays Mar 22 1932

And a few miscellaneous articles.

Madera News Jan_25_1949

Sig didn’t limit himself to just Fresno – he promoted Madera, as well.  And he had something to do with the first delivery of air mail in the nation between Fresno and Madera in 1912.

He even wrote to the Editor of the Madera Daily News in 1949.  That’s one way to get your name in the newspaper!

Letter to Editor Jan_28_1949

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Scrapbook #2 – Sig is a busy guy

Page 5 Sig 1_12_1952
January 12, 1952

Yep, that’s my paternal grandfather, Sig Levy.  As I continue to go through his scrapbooks, I’m reminded that he was a busy guy.  It seems like he was involved in just about everything – now I know where my dad got it!

Not just involved in everything, but he saved EVERYTHING!  Sometimes I can figure out why but others, not so much.

Case in point is this article.

Page 5 Food Poisoning

I can understand why he saved it since he was one of those who became ill, but WHY did the newspaper feel compelled to put that news in the newspaper?

Sig was the Publicity Chairman for this patriotic event.

Page 5 Gold Star Mothers Photo
Page 5 Gold Star Mothers

And then the newspaper used a similar sketching for a different article showing he was the co-chairman of the Parade Committee.

Page 5 Arrange Gala Celebration
Page 5 Navy Day Fete

An interesting article in the Los Angeles Herald Express.  Nice to know Sig was helping to get our veterans back to work.

Page 5 Fresnos Job Plan Operative

He seemed to have a real interest in nursing programs, although I’m not sure why, as there were several articles about that.  I thought this photo was interesting.

Page 5 Fresno County Hospital

I started looking for more information about the new wing so that I could compare it to today and had to stop – must. not. go. down. another. rabbit. hole.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Scrapbook #2 - More news from Sig

As I continue on with the scrapbook, it hit me that I don’t think I’ll have enough hours in the day, or days in the week, or weeks in the year, to adequately document these scrapbooks.  While there is a lot of interesting information, it just can’t be done.  So I’ll quit stressing about it and just document things that pertain to Sig and are the most interesting, not to mention the easiest to scan.

I wish this had a date on it but based on other things on this page, I’d guess it to be from somewhere in the 1944-1946 range.

Page 3 Air WAC Show

One thing that I’ve learned about my grandfather is that he was involved in A LOT of things.  This article is from October 13, 1946.

Page 3 Browsing Around

I learned a little about Victor Mature.

Page 4 Mature Aids SPARS

Of course I had to meet with my best friend Google to learn a little more about him.  While I don’t remember him specifically, I did learn that he starred in about 50 movies from 1939 until the early 1970’s.  I wonder if my grandparents, or my parents, ever went to the theater to check him out.

Victor Mature

Sig was a planner for Flag Week.  How patriotic he must have felt to see a flag in front of every home and business in Fresno.

Page 4 Flag Week

Let’s not skip by this article highlighting the advertiser in the news for February, 1947 – Sig Levy!

Page 4 News of Advertisers

It doesn’t look like Sig was “counted” as a veteran.  I’m not sure why since he served during WWI.

I knew I’d seen something about the train wreck when I blogged HERE.  Something tells me I’m going to find out more about this event.

Last year I wrote about Sig and Loraine cruising to Hawaii HERE.  How fun to see the same photo was published in the newspaper and Sig included it in his scrapbook.  Sure enough, it was from their cruise in 1949.

Page 4 Honolulu

Here we see the class of 1920, both 2nd and 3rd, to have a Levy brother included – Sig in the 2nd class, older brother Herb in the 3rd class.  And there’s Leon in the class of 1922. 

I’m sure this was important but I just don’t know what it all means.

Page 4 Sciots Bull

Last, but not least, was this from the America Red Cross Arsenal in 1944.  What makes it special is that the son they refer to was my dad, Gordon Levy. 

Page 4 Trading Post

While it’s completely overwhelming to think about capturing all of this, I do appreciate that my grandparents saved everything and have given me the opportunity to get a glimpse into their lives.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Scrapbook #2 – The Red Cross

I’d always heard that my grandfather, Sigmund Levy, was involved with the Red Cross and this scrapbook just seals the deal.

There are pages and pages of typed letters to Sig thanking him for one thing or another.  Here is just a sample.

They are all glued to the page and since there doesn’t seem to be anything too earth shattering, I decided I’d just scan the one loose letter.

Red Cross Letter 14 Feb 1947

February 14, 1947

Dear Mr. Levy:

Thank you for sending us the clippings and transcriptions of Mr. O’Connor’s talk and of the train wreck.  They are especially interesting to us here in Public Information.  Our Disaster Service has also been having everyone hear these descriptions of Red Cross Disaster activities.

We shall inform you of any further uses we make of these transcriptions which will be returned to your chapter after we have covered all possible use of them

We took your suggestion and wrote to Miss Frances Quinn at KFRE.  A copy of that thank you letter is enclosed.

North Baker
Office of Public Information

From I found a short synopsis of the train disaster.
February 4.  Four persons were killed and 64 injured when Southern Pacific's "San Joaquin Daylight" streamliner smashed into an oil truck that was crossing the tracks ahead of the train at Kingsburg, California. The collision spewed burning fuel over the locomotive (killing the engineer and fireman) and ten passenger cars.
I swear I’ve seen something about this in one of the boxes I have – was it a photo, a different article, or what?  I need to do some digging in those boxes!

And, of course, there were clippings from other activities.

This from the Fresno Bee, Sunday, April 23, 1944.

Page 2 Bond Drive Photo

Hmmm, each man in the picture has a title but Sig has none. 

Page 2 Bond Drive Fresno Bee 23 Apr 1944

Here it looks like he’s an author.

Page 2 Fresno Marching Forward

And a few others.

Page 2 Sig Levy Quits Post Feb 1 1947

Something doesn’t make sense.  Someone (probably Sig?) wrote that this article was published on February 1, 1947.  But, the story mentions the Southern Pacific streamliner wreck on Tuesday.  The information from stated the accident occurred on Feburary 4.  Now that I see February 4, 1947 was, in fact, a Tuesday I think the date above must be wrong.

Page 2 Mardi Gras Show

This letter is interesting – champagne for sick soldiers?

Page 2 Air Corps Letter