Cmdr. Richard E. Byrd flies over the South Pole, November 30, 1929


Editor’s Note: Every Sunday, The Dispatch features a page from this week in history to celebrate the newspaper’s 150 years of publication, with a little update on what has happened since.

At the start of the 20th century, there were still places to explore around the world. And the daring exploits of the explorers were big news.

Commander of the Navy. RIchard E. Byrd made headlines when he and his crew completed their 1,600 mile flight over the South Pole. The article credits Byrd with being the first man to fly over both the South and North Poles, but this trip over the North Pole is disputed by some historians.

Byrd, the son of a prominent Virginia family who was eventually promoted to admiral, had no direct connection to Ohio.

But Ohio State University has shared his interest in polar studies dating back to post-war work in Greenland for the US military.

According to the university’s Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, the state of Ohio submitted a proposal in the mid-1980s to acquire Byrd’s expeditionary records, personal papers, and other memorabilia from Mary’s estate. A. Byrd, the late wife of the admiral.

The purchase of the documents provided the nucleus for the establishment of the Byrd Polar Research Center archival program. And in 1987, the Institute was officially renamed the Byrd Polar Research Center in honor of the Admiral.

The center later added climate to its name and is one of the leading research centers examining the effects of global warming on polar ice.


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