Summer is the time for picnics and on Aug. 1, 1906 the Shoemakers Association held their annual outing at Lake Ladore. A parade in Honesdale the night before kicked off the festivities with fine music by the Honesdale Band, floats and fireworks followed by a concert in the park and an address by Prothonotary Hanlan.
There were 1,366 tickets sold at the Honesdale Railroad Station for the excursion train ride to Lake Ladore.
Hundreds of people came from the other side of the mountain and elsewhere to swell the attendance to record proportions. Arrangements had been made to insure that the park grounds and dancing pavilion were in perfect order.
Every effort was made to be sure that the Ferris wheel, chute-the-chutes, boating docks and other attractions were in readiness for the crowd and vendors throughout the park offered a variety of food to tempt the revelers.
The highlight of the day was the hot air balloon ascension by Miss Maggie Dailey. This remarkable event took place on the baseball field at 4 pm. Some time before a large crowd had already assembled to watch the inflation of the giant air bag. This process took some time and could be said to be rather tedious but at last the huge balloon floated high above the spectators. The excitement grew as Miss Maggie Dailey, attired in green tights with a cumbersome cork life preserver around her waist, arrived on the scene. She adjusted the rope loop in which she sat. A folded parachute was attached to the rope above her head. The rope was attached to the balloon by a knot securely tied by Sheriff Roadknight.
The huge balloon, held in place by dozens of hands, swayed back and forth in the wind while the crowd surged forward. Miss Dailey signified that she was ready to be whisked skyward and warned the crowd to, “Stand back and give me plenty of room! I can’t tell which way I may have to go and, after this warning, if I hit any of you it won’t be my fault!”
As the crowd stepped back, Manager Williams shouted, “Everybody let go!” and the balloon slowly rose while Miss Dailey waved a farewell with her shapely limbs and shouted a cheery “good-bye” to the thousands gathered below.
Page 2 of 3 - When the balloon reached the desired height Manager Williams fired a pistol as the signal to descend. For a few minutes the signal seemed to be ignored but suddenly Miss Dailey, followed by a tangle of ropes and the folded parachute, took a rapid descent of two or three hundred feet.
Amazingly, the parachute opened checking her fall and from that point she descended gently and slowly, finally landing about midway between the station and the grand pavilion. As she landed she passed though a thick grove of trees causing slight bruising to her right arm but was otherwise unharmed.
When asked how she had enjoyed the trip Miss Dailey replied that it would have been perfect if she had been allowed to go higher. She said that when she heard the pistol shot she wanted to ignore it but then it occurred to her that if she did the manager and the spectators would become alarmed thinking that something had gone wrong with the apparatus so she used her knife to cut the rope connecting her to the balloon, allowing her descent.
The following day, Miss Dailey and her manager left for Middletown, NY for their next booking. The attraction was in great demand and she was to be one of the leading features at the celebration of Carbondale’s 55th anniversary in September.
A notice in the Honesdale Citizen a few days later reported that Miss Dailey had found herself in greater peril than when she was floating high above the crowd.
It seems that an infatuated admirer who had attended the show at Lake Ladore had his advances rebuffed by Miss Dailey so he followed her to Middletown, NY. He forced himself into her room at the Hotel Germania armed with a gun, locked the door, and threatened to shoot her. Her screams brought the proprietor who broke down the door and called the police. The love-sick spectator was fined $25.
This was not the last of Miss Dailey’s narrow escapes.
On August 30, 1906 the Honesdale Citizen reported that during her performance at the Monticello Fair she failed to detach her parachute from the balloon and fell from a considerable height at a startling speed into a large heap of brush and briar.
Page 3 of 3 - She was considerably cut and bruised but insisted that she would be able to make her ascension at the Carbondale Anniversary Celebration the following week.