Cromwell Dixon Plane Fragment

The Case:

Our contributor has a four by three inch swatch of fabric she found among her late grandfather’s possessions.

On it are written the words “Dixon” and “Grand Island, 1911.” She wonders if the name refers to the pioneering aviator, Cromwell Dixon. Reporters called Dixon the “Boy Genius” pilot.

At 19 years old, Dixon was the first man to fly across the Continental Divide. Two days later he crashed at an exhibition in Spokane, Washington. He died a few hours later.

Could this piece of fabric be the last remaining artifact of Cromwell Dixon’s brief aviation career?

History Detectives talks with a Cromwell Dixon biographer, consults with the curator at the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum, and finally comes across a key clue at the Stuhr Museum in Grand Island, Nebraska.

Discuss this story

Season 8, Episode 5

Elyse Luray Location:
New England and New York

Pioneer Aircraft

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