Friday – January 23, 2015
City Hall & Historic Yuma
A Visit to City Hall
When World War II ended, so did military aviation in Yuma, Arizona. To spark interest and revive the economy, local Jaycees came up with a idea to spotlight Yuma’s perfect weather: set a record for non-stop flying.
An Aeronca Sedan named "City of Yuma" took off on August 24, 1949 and didn’t touch the ground again until October 10. The planes record-setting 1,124 hours aloft were made possible by volunteers who passed food and fuel from a speeding 1948 Super Buick Convertible to pilots Woody Jongeward and Bob Woodhouse. A protective railing was built around the open top, and it was driven along the runway at the then-Yuma Army Airfield, to a speed of 55 to70 mph so passengers could hand cans of gasoline up to whichever pilot wasn’t flying the plane at the moment. Then the driver had to slam on the brakes so the car wouldn’t go off the end of the runway.
The original plane was located and returned to Yuma by present-day Jaycees in 1997. It was restored and flown to mark the flight’s 50th anniversary, and thanks to volunteer efforts and donations, now hangs in the atrium of City Hall. A short video and excerpts from a 1949 NBC radio broadcast can be viewed during regular city hall hours.
A Visit to Historic Downtown Yuma
Once the end of the Gila Trail, Main Street has always been the heart of "Old Yuma." In 1849, more than 60,000 California-bound gold-seekers followed Main Street to the rope ferry across the Colorado River. But being so close to the river, this area often flooded and its adobe buildings melted back into mud. Because the last big flood was in 1916, most Main Street buildings date from the 1920s.
Today Yuma’s historic downtown offers a wide variety of shopping, dining and entertainment.
Tomorrow another adventure begins.