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 Portrait of Wilkinson’s Harvey Weir Cook Joins Governor’s Hoosier Heritage Collection

February 14, 2007 - Governor Mitch Daniels today unveiled a portrait of Harvey Weir Cook as the newest addition to the Hoosier Heritage Portrait Collection that adorns the south wall of the Governor’s Office. The governor was joined by members of the Cook family and representatives from aviation and veterans organizations.

“I’ll look forward to telling visitors about this outstanding figure in Indiana history, one of the genuine pioneers of aviation and Indiana’s first flying ace in World War I,” said Daniels. “He was friends with people like Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindberg, Orville Wright and Eddie Rickenbacker, and he was every bit the legend that any of them was.”

Cook, a Wilkinson native, was a pioneer in bringing Indianapolis its first principal airport. The Indianapolis International Airport was known as the Weir-Cook Airport from 1944 to 1976. Cook was a noted flying ace and captain during World War I, accredited with downing seven enemy planes. He later returned to military service as lieutenant colonel in World War II.

In January 2006, the governor designated the south wall of the governor’s office as a place for portraits of historically important Hoosiers – a change in the longstanding tradition of hanging portraits solely of former governors. The portraits, which are loaned to the state, are part of a rotating exhibit that is updated periodically.

The portrait is on loan from the Indianapolis Airport Authority and Military Officers Association of Indiana. It replaces a portrait of Mark C. Honeywell of Wabash.

 

Biography of Harvey Weir Cook

Harvey Weir Cook was born in Wilkinson, Indiana in 1892. He graduated from Anderson High School and attended college at both DePauw University in Greencastle and Washington & Jefferson University in Washington, Pennsylvania. In 1917, he joined the United States Army Air Service and was a combat ace and captain during World War I, officially downing seven enemy planes. Cook was a pioneer in bringing Indianapolis its first principal airport. The Indianapolis International Airport was known as the Weir-Cook Airport from 1944 to 1976. In 1942, he returned to military service as lieutenant colonel in World War II, where he was killed while flying a Curtiss P-40 over New Zealand. A memorial in his honor remains on display at the Indianapolis International Airport.

 

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