December 26, 1960 Airplane designer and builder Giuseppe Mario Bellanca died in New York City at the age of 74. Bellanca had been born on the island of Sicily in southern Italy in 1886. As a young man, he became enthralled with the possibilities of human flight. This enthusiasm led him in 1909 to help create... Continue Reading →

December 20, 1870 In what turned out to be a day-long celebration, a station for the Wallkill Valley Railroad in upstate New York was formally opened in the village of New Paltz in Ulster County (just south of the Catskill Mountains and on the western side of the Hudson River). The New Paltz station’s features included... Continue Reading →

December 18, 1962 In Seattle, the Ship Canal Bridge carrying Interstate 5 over Portage Bay between the city’s Capitol Hill and University District communities was opened. The bridge was named after the Lake Washington Ship Canal and serves as one of the crossings for that waterway. At the time of its opening, the giant double-deck steel truss... Continue Reading →

December 17, 1903 It was the dawn of a new era. Orville and Wilbur Wright made transportation history near the North Carolina town of Kill Devil Hills (about four miles, or6.4 kilometers, south of the better-known town of Kitty Hawk) by bringing about the world’s first controlled, powered, and sustained heavier-than-air human flight.  The brothers each... Continue Reading →

December 14, 1986 The Rutan Model 76 Voyager, the first aircraft to circle around Earth without stopping or refueling, embarked on its historic flight at Edwards Air Force Base in California in the Mojave Desert. This westerly flight of 26,366 statute miles (42,432 kilometers) would end with great success nine days, three minutes, and 44... Continue Reading →

Photo courtesy of the Automotive Hall of Fame. December 13, 1999 Allen K. Breed, engineer, and automotive safety pioneer died in Orlando, Florida, at the age of 72. Breed, who was born in Chicago in 1927, graduated from Northwestern University with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering. In 1961, he started the Breed Corporation to... Continue Reading →

December 12, 1925 The world’s first hotel especially built for motorists made its debut in San Luis Obispo, California. The Milestone Mo-Tel was introduced at a time when an increasing number of people were driving automobiles and very much needing suitable overnight lodging accommodations for long-distance trips. “The opening of San Luis Obispo’s new hotel... Continue Reading →

December 11, 1975 Benton MacKaye, a forester and regional planner who earned the nickname “Father of the Appalachian Trail” for his role in creating that marked public footpath in the eastern United States, died in the town of Shirley, Massachusetts.  MacKaye, who was born in Connecticut in 1879, first developed the idea of the Appalachian... Continue Reading →

December 7, 1906 The Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) and Union Pacific Railroad (UP) jointly established the Pacific Fruit Express Company (PFE). The Montana-based Weekly Missoulian reported that PFE was “chartered to construct and operate refrigerator cars, ventilator cars and other vehicles for the transportation of fruits, vegetables, meats, etc., and to build and operate refrigerating... Continue Reading →

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