Harold Neumann, born in Geneseo in 1906, was considered the best race pilot in the world in the 1930s.
After learning to fly at Franing Field, now the Quad-City International Airport, he became a racer, and later an exhibition flier with the American Air Aces at Floyd Bennett Field, Long Island, New York.
He flew a single-engine biplane.
In June 1934, while employed as an exhibition flier, Neumann assisted in a spectacular newspaper delivery demonstration, according to the Daily Dispatch. "The stunt was staged by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, according to word received by his friends here,” said the Dispatch. “The feat was said to establish a world’s record for speed in newspaper delivery.
“According to the account, presses of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle started to roll at 10:58 in the morning of the day the record was made,” said the Dispatch.
The first bundle of papers quickly was bound and thrown into a waiting truck. The truck carrying the newspapers was escorted by motorcycle officers. The truck driver drove quickly to the Floyd Bennett Field at the end of Long Island. The driver reached the field at 11:18 a.m.
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Neumann was waiting, with the motor of his Laird biplane warmed for action. He took off at 11:23.
“Battling haze and headwinds, he reached the other tip of Long Island, 118 miles away, just 38 minutes and 5 seconds later, having averaged better than 185 miles an hour," the paper said.
After dropping the bundle of papers at Montauk Manor at the east end of Long Island, Neumann circled a couple of times, and then returned to Floyd Bennett Field.
He participated in the American Air Aces exhibitions every Saturday, Sunday and holiday. He was employed for the summer at that field. Neumann later became an airline pilot.
Meanwhile back in the Quad-Cities condemnation proceedings were filed by Moline city attorney, Glenn Trevor, and the law firm of Schoede & Stafford. Moline was hoping to acquire ownership of the real estate on which the Moline Airport was located. At that time, the airport consisted of 120 acres of level grassy land free of obstacles.
Defendants listed were William J. Franing, Clara M. Franing, E.K. Campbell, Dr. C.C.Sloan, G. E. Schepper, Curtiss Flying Service of Middle West, Inc., Milton S. Babcock, John E. Babcock, Ethel M. Crockett, Phillip T. Crockett and John E. Carlson.
On June 18, 1934, the Moline City Council passed an ordinance authorizing the city to acquire and operate an airport, and appointed a committee of aldermen to purchase the airport real estate, according to the Dispatch. The committee consisted of chairman Frank A. Peterson, Warren C. Skinner, Herbert P. Wilson, Frank Herbst and Charles A. Carlson.
The committee could not reach an agreement with land's owners, and asked that a jury be impaneled to determine a fair and just price. “Under a state law it is set forth, the city has a right to own, control, maintain and manage an airport within or out of the city, has the authority to levy a tax or issue bonds for this purpose, and has the right to exercise the power of eminent domain,” said the Dispatch.
Marlene Gantt of Port Byron is a retired Rock Island teacher.