THIS EVENT IS OPEN TO VARNUM MEMBERS AND THEIR GUESTS.
Drive north of East Greenwich along Post Road, and you’ll see a handsome white-shingled house on the corner of Alger Avenue. It is all that remains of the Gallaudet Aircraft Company, brainchild of Edson Fessenden Gallaudet, a Rhode Island aviation pioneer. Varnum Trustee Brian Wallin brings Gallaudet’s story and its impact on modern flight to our November 2015 meeting.
Edson Gallaudet, a member of the RI Aviation Hall of Fame, is credited with the invention of the warped wing, which was used by the Wright Brothers. He went on to invent an unusual, gear-driven propulsion system for powered aircraft. Gallaudet brought his company from Connecticut to Rhode Island in 1915 and set up shop on Chepiwanoxet Island, eventually employing nearly 1000 people in manufacturing his sleek seaplane designs for the US Army and Navy during World War I. After the war, business declined and the company could no longer survive, despite some interesting attempts.
Gallaudet’s vision lasted just about a decade. He sold his interest in the factory (there is a surprising twist to that part of the story). The plant was used for a variety of ventures until the property was ultimately destroyed by hurricanes in 1954 and 1960. Today, the land is a nature preserve operated by the City of Warwick and the Warwick Conservation Commission.
Brian Wallin, a veteran broadcast news reporter and producer, worked in Hartford, Providence, and Boston while contributing to ABC, CBS, and NBC news. He also covered the America’s Cup yacht races from 1967-83 for CBS Sports and the 2UE Network in Australia. After 20 years in broadcast journalism, Brian became a hospital management executive, serving in senior leadership roles in MA and MD before returning to RI in the 1990s. He served as Vice President of South County and Kent Hospitals, retiring in 2009. He remains active on several hospital committees. In addition to his writing and freelance voice-over work, Brian is an avid model ship builder and guitarist. He has been a member of the Varnum Continentals since 2009 and a Trustee since 2012.
IMPORTANT: Please RSVP by FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6, to Scott Seaback at 401-413-6277 or by email at email@example.com.
Meeting Date: Monday, November 9, 2015
Time: 5:30 p.m. (social hour); 6:30 p.m. (dinner followed by program)