Friday, September 27, 2013

Foto Friday!

Did you know that during World War I, the Army sent soldiers up in the air in 95 foot long, sausage-shaped, hydrogen-filled balloons? Their job was to observe enemy positions and report back to the artillery post.   
Long before the Los Angeles County golf course was built, the United States Army Balloon School (later know as Ross Field) was located on that site in Arcadia.

Photograph courtesy of the Arcadia History Collection,  Arcadia Public Library.

The soldiers were trained to observe from a wicker basket attached to the balloon and to operate the balloon, which involved a 60-man crew on the ground tasked with hoisting, gasbagging, rigging, and electrical duties. 
Over 300 men received training here, including the officers pictured above in calisthenics class, circa 1918. 

Look for the anchor (and plaque) at Arcadia County Park that was originally used by the balloon school trainees to hold the enormous ballons in place.

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