Gas Pipes for Balloon Inflation

This image was published in the Indianapolis News on May 29, 1909 as part of the paper's coverage of events leading up to the June 5, 1909 national balloon championship hosted at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. While less than ideal it does show a pipe stretching across the ground of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield for the purpose of inflating a balloon. This helps to illustrate how the gas bags were inflated for action. The other interesting point is the structure in the background. There were numerous buildings on the grounds so its very difficult to determine which one is in this photo. It could be the Aero Club of Indiana building, but the report does not make note of it. Also there appears to be a substantial stand of trees and again I cannot be sure where this location was on the grounds.
The Indianapolis News was an evening paper and I believe this photo is same-day coverage of a practice event that occurred that day. This event was the maiden voyage of the Captain George L. Bumbaugh-designed "Hoosier," which was piloted by Captain Thomas L. Baldwin in the race. However the newspaper is not clear about exactly when the photos were taken or the specifics of the event so it is possible this image is part of a photo essay of events from a week earlier during the very first balloon ascensions from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. My money, however, is on the guess that these are images captured at the Hoosier christening. Follow the links above for articles on those events for more detail.

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