Allan H. Lockheed
Dr. Goethe Link
Photo Courtesy of
Department of Astronomy
Indiana University Bloomington

Goethe Link
Goethe Link

Dr. Goethe Link was awarded a silver trophy for winning a balloon race in 1909. Ths trophy has been donated to the Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution.
    Dr. Link, now retired from his lifetime profession as a very successful surgeon, has maintained also an active interest in aeronautics and has served as Secretary of the Aero Club of Indiana. He resides in Brooklyn, Indiana.
January 1973, Number 79

It's stimulating to know that our most venerable member---and one of our most active--is still on the rise, just as he was back in 1909 when he won a balloon race out of Indianapolis. The race was staged to advertise the opening of the automobile race track there, but Dr. Goethe Link proved to be the most notable attraction when he kept his balloon aloft longer and for a greater distance than any other participant. A letter from a mutual friend reads: "We see Dr. Link every few weeks. He is spry and lucid and will be 97 come May. Last November he helped us gather persimmons for a pudding.
March 1976, Number 82

from John Stafford, 1-11-05
     I recall meeting Dr. Link at his home when, as I think I recall, he was around 90 years of age. What fascinated me at the time was his apparent knowledge and interest in the new methods of teaching biology, as I was a biology teacher and had rather recently completed a master's degree based on teaching some of these new methods. What an outstanding man he must have been
     I recall my friend taking me through Mrs. Link's garden, in which she was working, which was located behind the observatory. It is my understanding that she was considerably younger than her husband and was respected in the field of genetics.
     When we knocked at the front door of Geothe Link's home, he opened the door. My friend introduced me as a recent graduate, studying some of the new techniques of teaching biology, and Dr. Link responded immediately, "Oh, do come in Mr. Stafford. I have been wanting to discuss the new methods of biology instruction". I daresay that this small, very old man had one of the most alert minds that I have ever known. For years I told my students about this encounter. I had the ultimate respect for him and I still do.

     If you search for "Goethe Link +balloon +1909", using the Google search engine, (1-11-05), you will find about 28 links. Perhaps the most helpful are the following.

Department of Astronomy
Dr. Goethe Link
     On this page of the Department of Astronomy of the Indiana University Bloomington website offers a summary of his life and career. It includes mention that he was a pioneering American aeronaut who won the National Balloon Race in 1909. It is perhaps the last paragraph of this article which is the most intriguing.
"Additional information about Dr. Link's life and accomplishments can be found in the July 1970 issue of the The Journal of the Indiana State Medical Association. This magazine contains a series of 13 articles on different aspects of the life of this remarkable man."
     Perhaps one of the articles may offer some information relative to his activities as an aeronaut. You can access the site by clicking on the title above.

     On this page of The Online Edition of the Indianopolis Star, is found a nice little biography of Link, as well as a picture of him sitting at his telescope. It includes the following sentence which offers some details of his experience as a balloonist
"In 1909, he and J.R. Irwin of Indianapolis manned a hot air balloon in a race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, winning prizes for distance (they landed at Westmoreland, Tenn., 250 miles away) and for duration (19 hours)."
     You can access the site by clicking on the title above.

     If you search for "National Balloon Race +1909 +Indianapolis", using the Google search engine, (1-11-05), you will find about 11 links. Perhaps the most helpful is the following.

Aviation at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
     This page on the Indiana Historical Bureau website offers a brief history of the 1909 balloon race at the Speedway. It displays a small photograph of the balloons, assembled at the start of the race. There is no mention of Goethe Link or of J. R. Irwin. In fact, the balloons appear to be filled with gas, rather than being of the hot-air variety and no mention of "National Balloon Race.". You can access the site by clicking on the title above.

Goethe Link died in 1980
From The Early Birds of Aviation
Roster of Members, 1996

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