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Mr. Lewis F. Curtis - First Hall of Fame Award - Part 2

The February 1933 issue of "The American Racing Pigeon News" included a 10 page paid advertisement on America's first Hall of Fame Award winner: Mr. Lewis F. Curtis. These pages included praises from leading fanciers of the day, and reprints from international racing pigeon papers.

The following article appeared on May 16th, 1931, in "The Racing Pigeon", published in London, England. The entire page 247, giving illustrations of the birds and their owner as well as the following article, is devoted to the subject.

"World's Record"

America Honors a Remarkable Performance.
Mr. Lewis F. Curtis Receives First Hall of Fame Award

To win the first six prizes in a 600-mile race with six pigeons which dropped into their loft together seems to be an impossible performance, but it has been accomplished by a prominent American Fancier.

This remarkable feat - a world's record - goes to the honor of Mr. Lewis F. Curtis, of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, and has earned for him the distinction of being the first fancier to receive the award of the "Hall of Fame". The "Hall of Fame" was originated in 1929 for the purpose of giving due acknowledgment for racing pigeon performances accomplished beyond reasonable expectation and Mr. Curtis, who we enthusiastically compliment, is certainly worthy of being the first to have his name enrolled.

His pigeons, all from Belgian pedigreed stock, accomplished the journey at something like an average speed of 1434 yards per minute.

Perhaps it is best to let the publicity chairman of the American national organizations tell his own story of the birds and the presentation. It is as follows: - On June 28, 1930, a new American record was established by the feat of six racing pigeons belonging to Mr. Lewis F. Curtis, of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, returning in 12 hours and 16 minutes together from 600 miles winning the first six positions in the Greater Boston Concourse Association annual 600-mile race, the largest flown in America at this distance with 51 fanciers and 202 birds competing, the birds liberated at Romeo, Michigan, at 5:58 AM and the six winners clocked in at Mr. Curtis's loft at 6:14 PM together, on day of toss. The ancestors of these birds were purchased direct from Messrs. Evrard Havenith, of Antwerp, Belgium, Lucien Bastin, of Verviers, Belgium, Guillaume Stassart, of Anderlecht, Belgium, and Paul Sion, of Tourcoing, France. Mr Theodore Vekens, formerly of Grammant, Belgium, and associated with Mr. Curtis, at his large and palatial lofts called Journey's End, received much praise for his splendid handling of the six winners. Nothing even approaching it had ever before been accomplished and the fanciers who had heretofore been skeptical about the ability of the Belgian racing pigeon were loud in their praise of the four continental fanciers mentioned above who had furnished Mr. Curtis with birds from which he was able to produce such racers.

The following article is taken from editorials on page 223 of the March 27th, 1931, issue of "The Homing Pigeon", published in Birmingham, England.

We have received a copy of the January issue of The American Racing Pigeon News - a particularly fine production printed on art paper and embellished with many illustrations of famous American fanciers, their birds and lofts, and the "Hall of Fame" cover is a composite picture of six racers from the loft of Mr. Lewis F. Curtis, of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

Mr. Curtis' performance in winning the first six positions in the 600-mile race of the Greater Boston Concourse Association of June last gained for him the premier award in the Hall of Fame at the Hotel Pennsylvania, New York City, on January 10th last. It is of interest to note that the strains of birds responsible for this remarkable performance are the Havenith, Stassart, Bastin, and Sion. Judging from the extensive importations of birds made by Mr. Curtis from Belgium, he may be classed as, "The Logan of America".

Praises from leading fanciers of the day:

Verviers, Belguim, August 15, 1932
My dear Mr. Curtis;
I cannot but admire more and more the results that you are securing with the descendants of my pigeons. These are really amazing and I am so pleased that I am really afraid that I shall become altogether too proud thereof.
Cordially and sincerely yours,
Lucien Bastin

Anderlechl, Belgium, September 12, 1932
My dear Mr. Curtis;
Although not personally acquainted with you, I have the highest esteem and the greatest admiration for the Grand National Champion of the United States. Your wonderful exploits during the past three years at 600 miles has also contributed considerably to the growth of your reputation here, which was anyhow very well known and appreciated. Allow me to express the hope that you have only started a long line of triumphs in the fancy.
Very Sincerely,
Guilliame Stassart

Antwerp, Belgium, August 20, 1932
My dear Mr. Curtis;
I am very pleased you are succeeding so splendidly with the birds you imported from our country. Your famous performances with our good birds are most creditable, particularly your performance over three years at 600 miles distance, which has never been approached in the entire racing world. You are certainly the "Premier" of your country and I am happy to acknowledge your strength and knowledge of pigeon racing.
Yours very sincerely,
Evrard Havenith

Tourcoing, France, December 11, 1932
My dear Mr. Curtis,
I am very happy at the successes which you have obtained with the performances of my pigeons. The success gained by you at the 600-mile distance on July 9, 1932, and my success at the 500 miles distance on July 12, 1930, are beyond question the two greatest races ever flown by a single competitor throughout the racing world at these meets. You see that my predictions have been realized and I am very glad about this.
Sincerely Yours,
Paul Sion

Westcombe Park, London, England, August 7, 1932
Dear Mr. Curtis;
Congratulations on the records of your splendid birds. Wonders will never cease.
Best wishes from,
Dr. M. E. Tresidder

Farnworth, England, Austust 11, 1932
My dear Mr. Curtis;
In the forty years I have acted as agent for the Belgians, I have never witnessed such remarkable performances at the long distances as those made by your birds. I never knew anything equal to it in our country. They are World's Records and naturally deserve a recognition equal to it. I note the American Racing Pigeon News takes pride in honoring you while the Editor seems also to be equal to the occasion and "right Well" he has done his work.
Most sincerely yours,
Al Darbyshire

Uccle, Belgium, August 28, 1932
My dear Mr. Curtis;
I wish to thank you from the bottom of my heart for obtaining such fine success at such a long distance during these many years with the pigeons I had sent to you. The Belgian pigeon papers are full of your fame and I am indeed honored and pleased.
Heartily yours,
Alfred Seret

Brussells, Belgium, September 21, 1932
Dear Mr. Curtis;
I have read in our journals the results obtained by your pigeons for the three years past at the distance of 600 miles. I herewith beg to extend my congratulations because this represents a magnificent success.
Yours very truly,
Arthur Lenoir

Schaerbeck, Belgium, October 29, 1932
Dear Mr. Curtis;
Your great wins at 600 miles for the three years past exceeds the brilliant year I enjoyed in 1921 when all my countrymen marvelled at my triumphs. I cannot pay your deserving records greater homage.
Very truly,
Gaston Ryelandt

London, England, August 4, 1932
Dear Mr. Curtis;
Please accept my heartiest congratulations on your splendid performances. I have received several phone messages and letters expressing admiration of your twelve best racers.
Yours faithfully,
W. H. Osman

Sherwood House, Reading, England, October 10, 1932
Dear Mr. Curtis;
My hearty congratulations to you on owning such a team of real champions. I know the difficulties of pigeon racing, therefore my congratulations are very sincere.
Yours faithfully,
W. Fury

Ecaussines, Belgium, September 14, 1932
Dear Mr. Curtis;
Receive my felicitations for the fine successes you have presented, as well as my confraternal salutations.
Very sincerely,
Ernest Duray

Vinderhaute, Belgium, September 7, 1932
Dear Mr. Curtis;
With my best congratulations for your great 600-mile achievements, which are very agreeable to the Belgian fanciers. Also please accept the best wishes of my friends Stassart, Sion, Janssens, and all the other ones of the Belgian National Flying Club.
Yours sincerely,
P. Vanhecke

Verviers, Belgium, October 26, 1932
Dear Mr. Curtis;
I make haste to come and congratulate you upon your brilliant success in the long races. Such achievements in such competition are feats to be proud of and also they go to make our sport the more interesting. I am sure that all true fanciers, even if a bit jealous, will be glad to know of such successes.
Yours most sincerely,
Renier Gurnay

Laeken, Belgium, August 17, 1932
Dear Mr. Curtis;
It is with pleasure that I am cognizant of the great success gained by your pigeons. Your success is not only unique from the far distant points, but most interesting.
Most sincerely,
Albert Warsee

Mr. Lewis F. Curtis - First Hall of Fame Award - Part 1

The February 1933 issue of "The American Racing Pigeon News" included a 10 page paid advertisement on America's first Hall of Fame Award winner: Mr. Lewis F. Curtis. These pages included praises from leading fanciers of the day, and reprints from  international racing pigeon papers.

The following article appeared on the front page of "The Messager Colombophile" on the 20th of May, 1931. This weekly publication is generally regarded as the foremost in Belgium.

"The Belgian Pigeon in America"

On June 28, 1930, a new world's record was established by six pigeons belonging to Mr. Curtis, of Massachusetts. The pigeons accomplished the trip of 600 miles, or 1000 kilometers, in 12 hours and 16 minutes, earning thus the six first places in the American Concourse for the longest distance. 51 fanciers took part in this test in which they had entered 202 pigeons.

The release of the pigeons was effected at 5:58 AM and the six victors of Mr. Curtis finished their race together by arriving at 6:14 PM at their home loft. These prize winners originated from subjects imported from Belgium and France which had been purchased directly from Messrs. Havenith, of Antwerp, Lucien Bastin, of Verviers, Guillaume Stassart, of Anderlecht, and Paul Sion, of Tourcoing. They were handled by Mr. Theodore Vekens, who is also associated with Mr. Curtis. This Belgian was highly congratulated upon this exploit and the Belgian pigeons were showered with praise.

Certain American fanciers have been known in the past to doubt the capability of our aerial racers. These parties, however, were amongst the most enthusiastic in their praise and they showed the greatest admiration for the four Continental fanciers mentioned above and, incidentally, for the Belgian pigeons to which we must, of course, add those of Mr. Paul Sion. Such a performance could not fail to arouse the highest enthusiasm on the part of American fanciers.

Thus, on January 10, 1931, the National Committee, composed of three members of the two national organizations which control the Sport in the United States, met at the Hotel Pennsylvania, in New York and unanimously accorded the first prize in the "Hall of Fame" to Mr. Curtis for the exploit performed by his six pigeons, Mr. Curtis being the first fancier in the United States to receive this high honor.

The United States War Department has had photographs taken of the official presentation of the medal which goes with this "Hall of Fame" award. All the papers of that country have done likewise and they have, moreover, published enthusiastic articles in honor of the victor and his pigeons, an honor which he owes chiefly to the Belgian pigeon fanciers who also are entitled to all the honors of this occasion. We can see that they do things in a big way over there. We can see also that the military authorities attach a great deal of importance to the great deeds performed by racing pigeons. We can see, finally, that our pigeons are more than ever gaining great honor in America.

And you, dear Mr. Curtis, please accept our best congratulations. You may be sure that we heartily hope you may be able to duplicate this exploit. Your are young. You have yet a long career before you and you have the instruments which permit one to believe that this hope may well be expected to come true. On that day you will have won a title of imperishable Glory and all the Belgian pigeon fanciers, as well as all true American sportsmen, will join in acclaiming your success.

Forward hence, to a second victory for the Belgian racing pigeon, the best in the whole world.

The following article appeared on the front page of the "Messager Colombophile" published on August 10, 1932.

"In America"

Our readers will recall the unprecedented success by Mr. Lewis F. Curtis, of Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A., in 1930. For those who are not acquainted therewith, as for instance our new subscribers, and they are numerous, we will state again that Mr. Curtis was the victor in the great American meet at 600 miles distance. Such a distance means about 1000 kilometers.

As far as he is concerned it was a real triumph. Six of his pigeons returned together having covered the distance in 12 hours and 16 minutes which means more than 1300 metres per minute. These six prize winners, whose victory has kept an endless number of newspaper men busy writing in American and has been celebrated in great style, are of Belgian origin. Incidentally speaking, Mr. Curtis has never tried to hide this fact and has, moreover, sent us quite recently a magnificent photograph in colors of his great 600-mile champions which even aroused the particular attention of the United States military authorities at a time when the trophy was awarded which these pigeons had won in such a remarkable manner at 600 miles.

With this magnificent photograph we also received a printed table which for us Belgians is really a remarkable document as it specifies the pedigree of these prominent fliers all of which are of essentially Belgian origin. This document confirms again that the Belgian racing pigeon is the best in the entire world. This is a fact which no one can gainsay, neither Mr. Curtis, nor the Americans in general, as well as all of those who are closely connected with matters bearing on pigeon racing.

Since their unparalleled success in 1930, Mr. Lewis F. Curtis has been recording victory after victory with his Belgian pigeons.

In 1930 and 1931 he has won first place in 9 large concourse races out of 20 flown, comprising all the old bird races scheduled for that period.

During three successive years, namely - 1930, 1931, and 1932, the results realized by him at 600 miles distance have been simply the best that have been brought about in America and the entire racing world.

In 1930 his six pigeons won at 600-miles in 12 hours and 16 minutes. Then Mr. Curtis wins again the 600-mile race with one pigeon in 1931, the time being 12 hours and 42 minutes. In 1932 he establishes a new world's speed record for this distance covering the 600 miles in 9 hours and 27 minutes. At the last-named meet there were 236 pigeons belonging to 42 fanciers. The first 9 arrivals won the prizes awarded in this race. Amongst them Mr. Curtis had six. Their rating was as follows: 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 9th. After the first arrival he identifies 12 pigeons in 20 minutes owing to which he records the following results in the general classification: 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 18th, 23rd, 32nd, 53rd, 61st, 62nd, 63rd, 64th, 73rd, 78th, and 90th.

A lucky pigeon fancier, all the same!

We can only wish that for a long time to come he will perpetuate the glory of the Belgian racing pigeon.