Young Aviators

This image first appeared in the Indianapolis Star on October 21, 1909. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Founder and President Carl Fisher was a leading advocate to position his track as the American capital of aviation. The economic benefits to Indianapolis of being the center of a burgeoning industry were obvious and got civic leadership excited.
While Speedway management had recently consumed a bit of crow by having to cancel a much-ballyhooed aviation show that was planned for October 14 they continued to pursue the opportunity to host the 1910 international air show featuring the James Gordon Bennett Cup for airplanes. This effort would fail also as Belmont Park in New York hosted that contest. The landmark inaugural edition of that event had been staged in Rheims, France just weeks earlier in August.
Despite the setback of the unraveling of the autumn 1909 air show Fisher still believed he could position the Speedway in the world of aviation. Joseph "J.W." Curzon (his name is misspelled in the caption with the photo) was an upstart aviator who believed in Fisher's vision.
At the time Curzon was in Indianapolis and even assisted Fisher in a presentation to the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) as they worked to fuel the enthusiasm of boys interested in the burgeoning field of aviation by making presentations and sponsoring contests. Curzon housed his airplanes at the Brickyard.
At least two of the other men noted in this photograph were aviators as well. These were Charles Crout and George Osmont, who was granted his Aero Club de France license in 1911. I have no additional information of George Vezard.

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