On Feb. 6, 1909, the L.A. Times ran the following story:
ABOVE THE CLOUDS
BALLOONS TO SAIL
ON PLEASURE TRIP
The two large balloons, the United States and the American, are to make a short flight from Chutes Park Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock. Ordinary gas is being used, and the work of inflating is progressing satisfactorily. At a late hour last night the American, which will be piloted by Capt. A. E. Meuller, was nearly filled, and the United States, which is to be handled by Roy Knabenshue, was more than one-half full.
The flight will in no way be a race, as it is expected that the large bags will be in the air for only a few hours. The trip is to be made for weather observations, and to arouse interest in the sport of ballooning.
Each of the balloons is to carry four men, including the pilots. They are to be Capt. Meuller, Roy Knabenshue, W. D. Fuller of the Weather Bureau, Lieut. C. K. Currie of the United States Corps of Engineers, a reporter from each of the morning papers, and a representative of the Associated Press.
Fifteen or twenty of the Chutes Park homing pigeons are to be taken along, and will be used to send back messages of the location and conditions of the balloons and men.
Chutes Park was amusement park south of downtown L.A., spanning from South Grand Avenue and South Main Street between Washington Boulevard and West 21st Street. See LAist’s LAistory on Chutes Park and Downtown News’ “The Short Life of a Downtown Amusement Park” for more detailed stories of the attraction, which existed from 1887 to 1914; today, it’s the site of a parking lot for the home furnishings store, L.A. Mart.
View of the Washington Gardens Amusement Park (also called Chutes Park), which shows the Chutes water ride and Chutes Theater next to it. Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library historical photo archives.
Today, Washington & Grand is also the site of a Metro Blue Line stop,
and L.A. Mart can be seen in the background. Courtesy of tommyhenrich at Panoramio.com.