The Post published a touching article on Sunday about the eventful past of the Belin family, which owned the grand Evermay estate from the 1920s until this year. It was initiated by the journalist’s desire to tell the story of Harry Belin, who, faced with a massive real estate tax and maintenance bill, was forced to sell his family’s jewel. But in catching up with Harry, the writer, Ian Shapira, found a man excavating fascinating stories of the family’s past.
The weather for Peter Belin’s flight home from Europe was largely serene. It was early in May 1937, and as touchdown in New Jersey approached, the recent Yale graduate snapped photos of the airport’s three-story hangar, the ground crew, and the stark, oval shadow of his mode of transportation, the Hindenburg zeppelin.
Moments later, after the crew flung down the landing ropes, an explosion rocked the Hindenburg’s rear. Peter grabbed his things — his datebook, his camera — and leapt from the doomed craft. He survived the 30-foot plunge…“He landed on a sandbank!?” Harry marveled, standing amid his basement archives, after finding a family letter. “I never heard about the sandbank.”
Having a father dramatically survive the Hindenburg disaster is just the start. Later Shapira writes that Harry’s grandfather bought a ticket on the Titanic before changing plans. Continue reading