Home movies of Amelia Earhart discovered in New York

Home movies of Amelia Earhart discovered in New York
Home movies of Amelia Earhart discovered in New York
Posted at 11:54 PM, Sep 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-28 23:20:30-04

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC/CNN) - For 80 years, history buffs have been trying to solve the mystery of Amelia Earhart.

Nine years before her disappearance, she got a hero's welcome near Rochester, New York.

Now, there is a newly-discovered treasure, what's believed to be the only film footage of Earhart.

In the early 1900s, Livonia town Doctor Harold Trott was one of Livingston County's most colorful characters.

With his motion picture camera, he filmed his exploits on his beloved open cockpit rag wing biplane.

Until now, no one knew Trott's home movies revealed a treasure except film collector Mike West.

West bought a slew of items from Trott's estate 35 years ago, including a box of Kodak film.

Inside, on notes carefully typed out by Trott himself, one name stood out.

It was Amelia Earhart, the most famous female pilot of all time.

In 1928, after Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, she began traveling all over the country.

On this occasion Trott was there, and filmed it.

His notes suggest it was at the new airport in Leroy, in late 1928 or early 1929.

Earhart spoke into a radio microphone with the call letters WFBL, that's Syracuse.

These are believed to be the only moving images of Amelia Earhart on the celebrity circuit outside Rochester.

The film may never have seen the light of day were it not for preservationist Glenn Galbraith, who runs ROC Archive.

"I'm not sure he knew what he had. He was aware of the names but I don't think he understood the significance," Galbraith said.

"I brought them home and they sat for a long time. I never did anything with them," West said.

Galbraith convinced West to search for the film, which was buried among the antiques in his warehouse.

"These people were icons, they're American heroes, and I had a little piece of it right here in front of me," West said. "Who would have thought that all these decades later, this is a legend."

Galbraith is now preserving the film, which shows rare images of early 20th century Livonia, including Hemlock Lake, and the long-gone Hemlock Airport.

But it's the 30-second clip of Amelia Earhart that may prove most priceless of all.

Galbraith is trying to identify the people who appear with Earhart on the film, to help fill out the story of her visit.

To watch Trott's film in its entirety, go to ROC Archive's YouTube channel.

Copyright 2017 WROC via CNN. All rights reserved.

MOBILE USERS: Download our WTXL news app on your Apple and Android devices for the latest from South Georgia and North Florida. Also, download our WTXL Weather Now app for Apple and Android devices to get the latest local weather wherever you go. 

Copyright 2017 WTXL via Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.