Day Trips

The Ezekiel Airship flew into Texas mythology even if it didn't reach the record books

Day Trips
Photo by Gerald E. McLeod

The Ezekiel Airship flew into Texas mythology, even if it didn't reach the record books. Promoters in Pittsburg, Texas, claim the self-propelled invention defied gravity 12 months before the Wright brothers did at Kitty Hawk, N.C.

A Baptist minister and amateur engineer, the Rev. Burrell Cannon said the Book of Ezekiel inspired his design. The airship had a three-part canvas wing covering eight large wheels with paddles driven by a four-cylinder gasoline engine with a pilot seated at the center.

The canvas and wood replica hanging from the ceiling of the Northeast Texas Rural Heritage Museum was built by the Pittsburg Optimist Club in 1987. The original, built in 1902, was destroyed in a storm on the way to its unveiling at the St. Louis World's Fair.

Before it left town, machine-shop employees supposedly flew the airship for 160 feet at a height of 10-12 feet. Fearing the loss of their jobs, the conspirators took an oath of silence. No hard evidence survived to support the claim. Texans aren't going to let the facts get in the way of a good story.

The Northeast Texas Rural Heritage Museum has a wide variety of artifacts along with the Ezekiel Airship at 204 W. Marshall St. in Pittsburg. A block from the museum, the Pittsburg Hot Link Restaurant sells the unique little sausages that made Pittsburg famous.

1,063rd in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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Ezekiel Airship, Wright Brothers, Burrell Cannon, Northeast Texas Rural Heritage Museum, Pittsburg Optimist Club, St. Louis World's Fair, Pittsburg Hot Link Restaurant

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