Corrections or additions?
This article by Nicole Plett was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on July
22, 1998. All rights reserved.
A Lindbergh Travel Adventure
The world is a book, and he who does not travel, reads
only the first page," says Larry Weikel, quoting one of his
expressions. The retired teacher of 30 years has embarked on a second
career in which he has transformed travel — a lifelong avocation
— into a vocation. "The First Trial of the Century: The
Kidnapping Case," is one of Weikel’s one-of-a-kind destination
tours that combines his duel interests in history and travel into
a business enterprise. The day and night tour of some of the sights
and sounds associated with the notorious kidnapping and murder of
20-month-old Charles A. Lindbergh Jr. departs New Hope Saturday, July
25, at 9:30 a.m.
"I guess you could say I inherited my wanderlust," says
now in his mid 50s. "Both my father and grandfather worked for
the Pennsylvania department of highways, and every Sunday the family
would get into the car and drive the highways my father and
had helped build." Each of Weikel’s tours is based around a theme
and aimed at educators, researchers, culture and history buffs. Past
offerings include "Gothic Writers: The Haunted Lives of Edgar
Allan Poe and Bram Stoker" (to be repeated this fall), and
Doan Trail Tour," focussing on the infamous Doan gang’s exploits
and hideouts. This year he’ll add "Titanic: Fortune and Fate,"
a trip to Newport News, Virginia (August 28 and 29), that takes in
the maritime museum and includes the identical meal served to the
Titanic’s first-class passengers on April 14, 1912.
Now in their third year, Weikel’s Lindbergh tours are enlivened by
the persistent doubts about Hauptmann’s guilt, rampant for 60 years
during which no Hauptmann accomplice or conspirator was ever named
or found. Led by historian Richard Sloan, this year’s first tour
at the New Jersey State Police Museum with an introduction to the
Lindbergh case and an examination of the crucial — although
circumstantial — evidence that led to the immigrant carpenter’s
conviction. The day includes a private tour of "Highfields,"
the former Lindbergh estate and scene of the crime, and a stop at
the Carter Road location where, six weeks after his disappearance,
the baby’s decomposing body was discovered by a trucker who had
into the woods to relieve himself. The tour then proceeds to the
County Courthouse, with a visit to Hauptmann’s holding cell, and the
courtroom where he was sentenced to death by electrocution. Dinner
is at the Union Hotel, the controversial spot where hundreds of
encamped and dined side-by-side with Hauptmann’s deliberating jurors.
The tour concludes with the dramatic trial reenactment by Harry and
Reva Kazman performed in the Hunterdon County Courthouse
If all this doesn’t satisfy the curious Lindbergh buff, Weikel offers
a second tour, "On the Trail of Bruno Richard Hauptmann,"
that takes place September 12. Also led by Sloan, this tour traces
the convicted kidnapper’s movements in New York and its environs,
with visits to the Hauptmann home; to the Fredericksen Bakery where
Anna Hauptmann worked and which her husband claimed as his alibi for
the night of the kidnapping; the Bronx County Courthouse, the scene
of Hauptmann’s extortion and extradition trials; the home of Dr. John
"Jafsie" Condon, the famous intermediary; and the cemetery
were the ransom money was paid.
A global traveler, Weikel says his favorite experiences to date
a transcontinental journey on the Orient Express, and trips to Machu
Picchu in Peru, safaris in Zaire, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, a Carnival
stay in Rio de Janeiro, and the Mozart festival in Salzburg Austria.
Already on his travel calendar for December, 1999, is a date with
a ship set to sail out of Auckland, New Zealand — this to enable
him to be among the first to "turn the page" and greet the
new millennium on the International Dateline.
— Nicole Plett
Case , Weikel Tours, New Hope, 215-257-1720. Reservations
required. $150 inclusive. Part of the proceeds benefit the Albert
Elias Rehabilitation Center at Highfields. Saturday, July 25, 9:30
County Courthouse, Flemington, 908-782-2610. The reenactment continues
Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, to August 16. $18.
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