Baldwin & the Hoosier

This image was published in the Indianapolis Star on June 6, 1909 as part of the paper's coverage of the June 5, 1909 national balloon championship hosted at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This image shows the ascension of pilot Captain Thomas Baldwin with his assistant Charles Walsh in the Hoosier balloon as they started the national championship race. Despite the name of his balloon Baldwin was not from Indiana. Born in Missouri he led a nomadic existence first as a circus acrobat and then starting at age 21 he began performing exhibitions of aeronautics with balloons, dirigibles, parachutes and airplanes. Approaching his 55th birthday on June 30 Baldwin was one of the oldest competitors at the event. In this image Baldwin has a megaphone in his hand apparently shouting instructions to those assisting him on the ground.

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