At the turn of the 20th century, Fred Wiseman made history as one of the country’s early leaders in aviation, pictured, above left, flying over Sonoma County some time between 1910 and 1915. The racecar driver became enchanted by aircrafts after he saw the Wright Brothers famed plane, Kitty Hawk, in 1908. He immediately secured an investment to build his own biplane, which first took off from a Petaluma field in July 1910. The winged design was tweaked over the coming months, until Wiseman and his team built something that he could fly in showcases all over the west. But every time he crashed, which was often, the aircraft was driven back to Petaluma for repairs. He was scheduled to fly over the city during the 1910 Fourth of July Parade, but after two crashes the prior month, he chose to keep his feet on the ground for that celebration. He successfully completed the longest amateur flight during the 1910 air expo in San Francisco, which won him $1,200 in prize money and the hearts of many. He was then honored during a banquet at Bismarck Restaurant, which sat for years on 4th Street. It was during that party that he hatched the idea for a Petaluma-to-Santa Rosa flight, which on Feb. 17, 1911 became the country’s first airmail delivery service. He quit aviation a few years later because he lost too many friends to plane crashes, but remnants of his famous biplane can be seen at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. While much is written about Wiseman, little can be found about Bismarck Restaurant, pictured, above right, in 1913. The Petaluma eatery was popular for celebration, and known for its Saturday night social dances.