Flying...From A Houseboat?

December 2015 Web Exclusive

Here’s an unusual ornament to hang from the Christmas tree this year! Your average Joe or Jane knows that the Wright brothers were made famous for the first successful flight in 1903, but did you ever hear about Professor Samuel Langley? Well, let me fill you in—it involves a houseboat. According to, the Stafford County’s Historical Society released an annual fundraising ornament in honor of Langley’s attempts that took place from the deck of a houseboat. This ornament features Langley’s “aerodrome” and the houseboat from which it was launched in 1896 and 1903. All proceeds will go to a fund to build a county museum, and the ornaments are on sale at Olde Virginia’s Gourmet and Gifts in North Stafford and Gari Melchers’ Studio at Belmont in Falmouth. While Langley’s aircraft may have had troubles taking off, we hope this ornament doesn’t because such an incredibly interesting story deserves to be remembered. And it involves a houseboatthat makes us all unspeakably proud. 

Photo credited to

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