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HISTORY INDEX>First aerial elopement

The first aerial elopement
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Into the historic lore of Hillsdale should be added what is known as the First Aerial Elopement. On October 28th, 1912 two romantically inclined young people—Aimee Coeur and Art Smith decided to elope. The two young people took off in a fragile bi-plane from Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Unfortunately, the pilot, Art Smith lost control of the plane when his hands became very cold in the open cockpit. They crash landed in a field near Oak Grove Cemetery on the outskirts of Hillsdale.
Because they were injured, the couple was taken to the Smith Hotel. (There was no hospital at that time). In spite of injuries, the pair was able to sit up in bed and the marriage was performed by the Reverend Charles Thomas. Witnesses were Dr. B.F. Green, Nurse Henrietta Hull and a Mr. McCrave. The news of the elopement and the subsequent crash made headlines across the nation. Ironically Art Smith was killed in an air accident in 1926.
A model built by Carl Waldner of a bi-plane (a Curtiss-Pusher) similar to that flown by Art Smith now hangs in the Hillsdale County Historical Society’s Museum at the Hillsdale County Fairgrounds.

Source: 150 Years in the Hills and Dales, Vol. II, p. 20.


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The finish of an 80 mile flight
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The pilot and his passenger being cared for

Art Smith, the aviator in a different plane that he crashed.
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Bedside marriage ceremonies for the determined couple
Before takeoff in Ft. Wayne [Click here to view full size picture]
Art and Aimee ready for takeoff on their fateful
flight from Ft. Wayne Indiana
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