Ivy Baldwin – Honored in 1969
Ivy Baldwin displayed early on in his life a sincere urge to get into the air, one way or another. Born William Ivy on July 31, 1866 in Houston, Texas, he changed his name in later years to Ivy Baldwin so that he and his partner, Thomas Scott Baldwin, could be billed as "The Baldwin Brothers".
Ivy joined the circus at the age of eleven, learning many of the skills that became his trademark. By 1890 he had become a balloonist making ascensions and parachute jumps from them. His act was a major part of the opening of Elitch's Gardens in 1890 with high-wire acts, balloon ascensions and parachuting.
He served with the Army Signal Corps in 1894 as a balloonist in the Spanish-American War when he became the first aeronaut to be shot down. He and his superior officer both survived. Ivy later served in WWI.
Ivy is credited to be the first person to fly a powered aircraft in the State of Colorado, when he made a short flight in a self designed-and-built, powered dirigible-type balloon. He later designed and built a powered pusher airplane which he cracked up more than 19 times. He led the life of a showman with the airplane flights and over 2800 parachute jumps. He is also credited with the first ever airplane take-off from water in Colorado, when he flew his pusher on floats from the surface of Sloans Lake in Denver.
He traveled over much of the world doing exhibitions with Thomas Baldwin and was honored by the Emperor of Japan with the gift of a dressing gown embroidered with balloons and parachutes. In later years, daredevil Ivy did a great many high-wire acts including some 86 crossings of South Boulder Canyon on a 635 foot long cable suspended about 580 feet high.
Ivy was honored by a number of groups, including the Early Birds of Aviation; his first solo having been prior to December 17, 1916.
He died alone in his Colorado home on October 8, 1953.