Providence, R.I. – July 16, 1892

Providence, Rhode Island – July 16, 1892 


Old Postcard View Of The Providence Armory  And Dexter Training Field - Providence, R.I.

Old Postcard View Of The Providence Armory
And Dexter Training Field – Providence, R.I.

     On July 16, 1892, four men took off in a balloon from the Dexter training field located next to the Providence Armory.  The balloon was named Royal Sovereign, and belonged to the famous aeronaut “Professor” James K. Allen who was at the controls.  Besides Allen, the balloon also carried his assistant Charles E. Albee, an unidentified reporter from the Providence Journal, and a fourth man, Edward Barnett.    

     Almost as soon as the Royal Sovereign lifted from the ground, it was caught by a strong wind that carried it towards Dexter Street which was lined with trees and houses.  Allen quickly tried to release several bags of ballast to gain altitude, but he couldn’t do it fast enough, and the balloon scrapped the tree tops and crashed into several chimneys as it continued in a southeast direction over Cranston Street and towards Lester Street.  As the craft flew across Lester Street it snagged several telephone and electrical wires tearing them free from the poles.  When it did so, Allen was pitched from the controls and tossed to the street where he suffered a broken leg, a fractured knee, and multiple bumps and bruises.  What may have saved is life is the fact that held fast to the emergency release rope which tore open the side of the balloon as he fell possibly slowing his descent. 

     As the gas escaped, the balloon fell rapidly and crashed into a barn about fifty yards from where Allen lay in the street.  The impact threw the other three men from the gondola, but their injuries were not life threatening.  

     Allen was taken to his home in an ambulance where doctors set his leg. 


     New York Times, “Another Balloon Accident” July 17, 1892

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