Hello fellow Berlinites. A chapter in aviation history was achieved on Wednesday, March 12, 1947, as Carmeno Onofrio, manager of the Berlin Municipal Airport made the first landing with an airplane on the rugged windswept summit of Mt. Washington. This was done in an attempt to ascertain if freight could be transported by aircraft to the summit of the mountain.
Using a piper cub equipped with skis, Onofrio fought shifting winds that lashed at his light craft making the attempt hazardous and extremely difficult.
The Berlin pilot’s decision to attempt “the impossible”, came as a result of a conference that was held at the Glen House in Pinkham Notch on Sunday, March 9, 1947 to which he had been invited.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibility of flying material from a small field located at the starting point of the Mt. Washington Auto Road (no helicopters yet). Equipment to be ferried up was owned by Northwest Airlines, Wind Turbine of America and the Army Signal Corps. There were two tons of apparatus waiting and more to come, that was normally carried on the backs of men to the summit of the Northeast’s highest peak.
Onofrio made his landing on the second try out of the Berlin Airport on day two. With this, he completed twelve trips and carried up approximately one ton of equipment, averaging almost two hundred pounds per trip. I wrote the whole story to this saga several years ago. This certainly required a lot of bravery and fortitude.
If you have ever driven down the East Milan Road you will notice a huge barn almost opposite the entrance to the state prison, called the Brown Company Barn. Well, in 1947, this huge structure was moved over 1,700 feet across Horne Brook from the old Maynesborough Farm (Chalet area) to the Brown Company Farm. The old barn had stood on its original foundation since the very early 1900’s.
Then, along came a crew of workmen who had strung half-inch cables lengthwise to brace it. A cradle was built beneath it and jacks slowly raised wheels underneath and fastened them securely. More cables were then strung from each end to machinery for motive power.
Part way through the journey, the route crossed a thirty-five foot wide section of Horne Brook using mechanical ingenuity of almost seventy years ago and a forty eight inch culvert. Today, the barn, owned by the Moffett House Museum, sits 1,700 feet away from its original home.
According to Mr. Maurice Quinn, a woods department engineer, who supervised the great move for the company, the barn now had space available for storing 450 tons of bailed hay in addition to housing forty to fifty horses. It also had a veterinarian office, along with a harness and repair shop. One must remember that the Brown Company horses moved a lot of wood back then, with the barn and a pasture a great place for rest and recuperation.
In April of 1947, the mayor and his committee were given the power to act on parking meters for downtown Berlin. Yes, many people will remember that we once had these gadgets to worry about downtown.
The recommendation of the committee on meters of the Chamber of Commerce signed by J. Clare Curtis, relative to the installation of parking meters in certain areas of the city, received approval of the City Council on Tuesday, April 22. The matter was turned over to the mayor, to the committee on recreation and the committee on parking meters with power to act.
The action by the council was preceded by meetings of the mayor and local merchants, members of the Chamber of Commerce, the police commission, the City Marshal and others who were seeking ways and means of alleviating the present (1947) traffic problems. All of these people favored these new devices for downtown.
Initial action on this matter was taken by Mayor Paul A. Toussaint, who had invited a meter company representative to Berlin. Installation of these new meters took place within three months of being approved
The woods department of the Brown Company added another boat to its navy, when they purchased a boat called the “Natanis II” in April of 1947. This was an all steel winch boat designed especially for pulpwood operations on the lakes of the Androscoggin. The “Natanis II” would maneuver on Richardson Lake.
It was powered by a diesel engine and was 28.5 feet in length. The winch on board the boat was connected with the three cylinder engine through a 2 to 1 reduction reverse gear and was able to handle 2,000 feet worth of cable 7/16 of inch in diameter.
The boat was used for towing back the empty boom sticks, as a work boat operating around the booms making hitches, transporting supplies and servicing the larger boats on the lake.
This vessel had a specially designed cage around the propeller to protect it from logs so that it could work right in among the pulpwood sticks that were floating on the water. It was brought to Berlin via the railroad and then transported to the lake by trailer. It replaced a craft called the “Dorothy” which was relocated to Lake Mooslookmeguntic.
Finally, in May of 1947, Miss Joan Teti was chosen as Miss Berlin. Picked from among nine other contestants, charming, sixteen year old Miss Teti won this title at a colorful ceremony held at the state armory (Recreation-Police Department today 2015) on Thursday night May 1.
These contestants walked across the stage, lined up and were interviewed by three judges, who later chose this pretty young lady to reign as the 1947 Miss Berlin. Miss Teti, who was dress in a pink net gown, was then presented a silver cup and 100 dollars. She was putting the money away to help finance her in getting a degree in music. The ceremony was followed by a ball and banquet that was held at the Berlin House on the following Sunday.
Joan was the daughter of Joseph F. Teti of Floral Park Long Island, New York. She resided with her grandparents Mr. and Mrs. Moses Tatroult of 50 Pleasant Street after her mother had passed away. Miss Teti graduated from Berlin High School in 1948. I wonder what ever became of this lady.
I will continue with the history of the year 1947 in Berlin with my next writing.