History Of The Pekin R/C Club Pekin, IL
In the mid 1960’s
just a handful of local men shared an interest in radio controlled airplanes. By
1966 and later years men like Hermon
Lowery, Elton Robison, Alvin Woods, Norman Harvey, Bob Rice, Dr. John Sombeck
and Dave Tebben were
flying their models together, as primitive as their equipment was.
Their flying locations changed as conditions permitted, flying at the
west end of Main Street, 207 Third Street, South Pekin, and for a period of time at a farm/air strip in Delavan owned by member
Dave Shipton. These men
agreed to begin a Pekin R/C Club during the time frame of 1966-1968.
By 1969-1970 formation of the club was being finalized. The
founders saw a potential and the opportunity to have a permanent Club Field on
the Everett McKinley Dirksen Park property on Edgewater Drive, Pekin, IL.
Doc Sombeck and Dave Tebben applied to the Pekin Park District Board for
usage of the Everett McKinley Dirksen Park property off route 98 for the
club’s future airfield. Permission
was granted in 1974 and the above mentioned members began a hard and tedious job
making their new flying field home.
April of 1994 the club recognized Hermon Lowery by naming the field in his
honor. In the early days the field
was very crude, as can been seen in the photos, barely an old farm barn yard.
An old barn still stood on the property and it served as a shelter and
club house until it was demolished. Holes
were filled, ground was leveled, and a boundary fence was installed followed by
other important additions. The
Park Board had a self-contained men/women’s restrooms eventually constructed
with the direction of John Sombeck and other members.
Field maintenance equipment was also purchased by the club for proper
care. An adequately sized block
building was constructed to store equipment and various club activity materials.
It wasn’t until the mid-1990 that a club decision was made to apply for
permission from the Pekin Park District to construct a shelter for the club
which is the present pavilion standing today.
Once again by intervention from Dave Tebben the Pekin Park Board granted
permission. The Park District agreed
to supply the material for the building which would be built by the club
Since membership had grown over the years, several members, with
direction from Clyde Ray, began the pavilion construction in late 1994 and
finished by November of the year. Clyde
worked diligently right along with several members such as Wayne Hood, Rick
Conklin, Kevin Cline, Hermon Lowery, Jim and Justin Riley, Charlie Davis, John
Staunton, John Sombeck, Steve Ball, and Robert Metzler.
Dave Nelson procured the building materials supplied by the Park
District. The following pictures
show the progress and completed building. The
trusses were “handmade” on the job sprawled across three picnic tables which
was a task completed with pride. As
weather permitted the concrete for the pavilion floor was poured.
Electricity was supplied to the building once a telephone pole hole was
dug 20 feet deep for proper support. The
depth of the hole is credited to Wayne Hood.
However he accomplished it is a miracle itself.
After many years of hard work
the field began to take shape and evolved into what you see today.
The field boasts a 25 foot by 175 foot asphalt paved runway.
Original field boundaries surrounded by corn fields were expanded to
allow more grass area for better takeoff and landings suitable to all wind
conditions. The entire area is
kept in top notch shape due to club members volunteering.