The Chicago - Biggest Balloon

This image was published in the Indianapolis News on May 26, 1909 as part of the paper's lead up to the June 5, 1909 national balloon championship hosted at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Charles A. Coey was the pilot for the largest balloon in the race, the massive 110,000 cubic foot Chicago, pictured here with a crowd around it which is quite useful in demonstrating scale. The balloon was so large it did not conform to regulations for the national championship race and had to be confined to the secondary handicap trophy race. I am not convinced this is an image from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and believe it is more likely a publicity photo taken weeks or months earlier at another location.
The caption to this photo read:
"The mammoth balloon Chicago, to be piloted by E.A. Coey (note: this is a mistake see name above), in the Aero Club of America race in Indianapolis, June 5, has the largest gas bag of all the entrants. The races will be started from the grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and they will be held regardless of weather conditions."
Another interesting point is that Mrs. Coey, wife of the aviator, was the first woman to ascend from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a balloon. This occurred during practice May 29, 1909.

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