Rally To Save Aviation Pioneers Home From Wrecking Ball

The Fairfield home of the man who claimed to have been the first to fly a plane, two years before the Wright Brothers, is facing the wrecking ball. Tuesday, supporters rallied in front of the Alvin Street home.

Among those shedding the light on this home’s plight was a gentleman whose grandmother was a next-door neighbor of Gustave Whitehead when he lived in Bridgeport.

“I said grandma did you see him fly,” said Stephen Link of Litchfield. “And her comment was sure, we all saw him fly.”

Meaning Whitehead’a first flight, which is said to have taken place on Fairfield’s Turney Farm on August 14, 1901.

Not everyone sees the need to save this house, though. There feel the First Selectmen, Mike Tetreau, said that this home is one of the places that Mr. Whitehead lived in.

“He lived there, as I understand it, after he was kind of out of the flying business,” said Tetreau.

Margaret Tonning, a distant Whitehead relative, said that doesn’t mean this home isn’t important.

“It was another chapter of Gustave Whitehead’s life. That’s history. He is history, as I know it,” said Tonning, who was among approximately two dozen people rallying to support the raising of rather than the demolition of the Whitehead home, which could be taken down as soon as next week.

“We have a couple of folks, that are volunteers, that are looking to see if any historic relics or pieces of planes or engines come out of the house, but were not optimistic bout that,” added Tetreau.

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum has shot down any possibility that Whitehead could have been first in-flight. Then again, But, the Smithsonian has a contract with the Wright Brothers

“In the eventuality that the Smithsonian ever decides to recognize anyone else in flight, they have to return the plane,” noted Link.

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