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By Lacey Gardner

Shutt to provide Wellsville airport history to Thelma Rogers Genealogical And Historical Society

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Presentation is this Wednesday March 1, 6:30pm at the David A. Howe Library, open to the public

From May 19, 1938, this photo shows a group gathered around a George B. Harris Sr. in front of a biplane at the Crowner Airport for the first Air Mail flight from Wellsville to Buffalo. HISTORICAL PHOTO

WELLSVILLE – On Sunday morning, September 24, 1911,” eight years after Orville and Wilbur Wright made their historic flight, “large numbers gathered on the hills of Allegany County to watch the first airplane fly over the region flown by Calbraith P. Rodgers. …. A fire alarm had been sounded to alert the public to the flight,” said the following Monday’s Wellsville Daily Reporter.

On May 19, 1938 at group of men surrounded pilot and an Army officer George B. Harris Sr. standing on the runway in front of a biplane at the Crowner Airport in Wellsville to celebrate the first air mail flight to Buffalo.

Sometime between those two dates, Wellsville got its first airport, located north of the Bolivar Road and west of the Genesee River where the Wellsville Plaza now stands. It was named Crowner Airport. The name was changed, according to the historic accounts, to the Wellsville Airport, after the air mail flight.

Since 2016, Willis Shutt has been the manager of the Wellsville Municipal Airport located on West Hill, off the north side of the Bolivar Road. It was established in the early 1970s.

Why – is what Shutt is going to tell those who attend the monthly program at 6:30 p.m, this Wednesday at the David A. Howe Library, sponsored by the Thelma Rogers Genealogical And Historical Society..

Shutt, as was his father before him, has been involved with the airport for most of his life. In 1997 he worked field maintenance. After becoming certified he worked for many years maintaining the aircraft housed there.

He will have a display of old photographs and newspaper articles pertaining to both the original airport site and the current site. He will be talking about the first pilots to fly out of Wellsville, Christman and James and more. He will discuss the planes that local companies have stored there.

“I’m going to talk about how the airport has changed over the years. What they were trying to do when they moved the airport and what we are trying to do now,” he said.

Each month the Thelma Rogers Genealogical and Historical Society sponsors historical programs which are free to the public. In recent months they have toured local churches and listened to Jude Cooper reminisce about the Wellsville telephone operators. In April, the group will hear from Dan Davison of the Pioneer Oil Museum when he talks about the Sinclair Refinery in Wellsville. In May the head of the Eldred World War II Museum, local man Jesse Case, will talk about the museum and its displays.

The TRGHS invites the public to attend these programs, and to take time to visit the Nathaiel Dike Museum when it opens in May. The doors to the museum, located on East Dyke Street, will also be opened by appointment by calling 585-610-5343.

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