Monday, June 30, 2014

The Flowers Of Summer

A few from Kauffman Gardens today.  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lafayette Park Homes Tour - Volume 5

 Built in 1909 this duplex reflects the later Edwardian - early Arts and Crafts period.  This building was built by the the Kueser family ... Clarence "Chick" Kueser, son of the builder, was a well-known St. Louis entertainer and lived in this unit his whole life.   It's located at 2333 Park Avenue.
 The hardwood floors and plaster walls are original.  The Arts and Crafts fireplaces are of the period with reproduction Victorian quarter tile.

 Below, the homes in-between this tour site and the next. 

 In 1886 this Second Empire style home at 9 Benton Place was commissioned with a carriage house complementing the residence.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Flying In The Movie Memphis Belle

 "Memphis Bell" was the nickname of a Boeing B17F Flying Fortress it's crew was the first to complete 25 missions over enemy territory thus earning the right to return to home soil in America.
The plane shown is exactly like the original.. having come off the assembly line in April 1945 just as the war was ending.   Thus it never saw actual combat but was used in a variety of ways-- ferrying officials , fire fighting, and, of course, the famous movie .    The original plane is under restoration at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
 The flight today was for members of the media and was preceded by the briefing after which we walked out to the airplane.   A lot of us walked all around the craft and took numerous pictures. Here's a brief movie of part of the adventure:
 The crew members had their names written near their duty stations and, generally, added a girl-friend's name... or mother...   A swastika denotes the kill of an enemy airplane.  Bomb silhouettes indicate a mission.
   I want to thank Michael Bushnell, Publisher of the Northeast News, for allowing me to tag along.

 The B17 was designed to survive.   It could fly, without a bomb load, on only one engine
 and many times that happened.   Our pilot said he has only lost an engine once and didn't notice any difference.      The skin of the aircraft was aluminum... which is great for reducing weight, but not so good for stopping bullets.    In all the 25 missions the Memphis Belle flew, there was only one crew member who was injured with shrapnel.

 Jake Simonitsch was one of those who flew today.   He was a navigator on a B17 in World War II..  He flew 18 missions and was responsible for downing two enemy aircraft.... however, on his 18th mission the plane was shot down.  Jake parachuted to safety but then spent over a year in a German prison camp.  His flight brought back lots of memories and he was very popular with the members of the press in attendance.

 Jake Simonitsch... VETERAN...
                       We received a final safety briefing... and then it was climb on board.

                                                                          Jake settled in .

 The belly turret from above.....

 Katie Ferrell from Fox 4 illustrates the fierce wind coming in the gun openings.

 The plane is in town this weekend only to provide flights and tours for people.   Both days the flights start at 10am and tours will run until 6pm.   Best to contact the Liberty Foundation ahead of time online to secure a flight or to get more information:

 Above, the best seat in the house... where the bombardier would be stationed.   He actually flew the plane when it was approaching the target.

 The pilots warned us not to "leave any DNA" on the plane in that there are many opportunities for bumps and bruises..... we only had one... Katie's forehead... but she is expected to pull through.

Above, Jake, after his flight.... he thoroughly enjoyed the experience....  Thanks for your service!!!