Left: Looking west view of The Long Beach airport that parallels Spring Street.
This photo from the Long Beach Public Library is looks west and was taken in the area of Redondo and Spring.
The large natural gas storage tank in the center right was located at Junipero and Spring.
The Long Beach airport originally paralled Spring Street. This early photo from the Long Beach Public Library is looks west.
Early Airport History
The first transcontinental flight, a biplane flown by Calbraith Perry Rodgers, landed in 1911 on Long Beach's sandy beach. From 1911 until the airport was created, planes used the beach as a runway.
The famous barnstormer Earl S. Daugherty had leased the area that later became the airport for air shows, stunt flying, wing walking and passenger rides. Later, he started the world's first flight school in 1919 at the same location. In 1923 Daugherty convinced the city council to use the site to create the first municipal airport.
Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan used to fly regularly out of Daugherty Field. Before his infamous flight from Brooklyn, New York, to Ireland in 1938, he had flown from Long Beach to New York. After authorities refused his request to continue on to Ireland, he was supposed to return to Daugherty Field, but a claimed navigational error routed him to Ireland. He never publicly acknowledged having flown there intentionally.
Long Beach Army Air Field California Sixth Ferrying Group Book
To attract the United States Navy, the City of Long Beach built a hangar and an administrative building and then offered to lease it to the Navy for $1 a year for the establishment of the Naval Reserve Air Base. On May 10, 1928, the U.S. Navy commissioned the field as a Naval Reserve Air Base (NRAB Long Beach). Two years later the city built a hangar and administrative building for the United States Army Air Corps as well. Significant developments to the little city airport began only after the city built hangars and administrative facilities for the Army and Navy in 1928-30.
As a Naval Reserve Air Base, the mission was to instruct, train and drill Naval Reserve aviation personnel. A ground school was offered three nights a week at the base and two nights a week at the University of California in Los Angeles until 1930, when ground school was continuously offered at the base. On April 9, 1939, training in night flight began, and shortly thereafter its facilities began to be used by fleet aircraft as well.
With increased activity by commercial airlines and the private airplane industry, particularly with Douglas Aircraft showing an interest in the Long Beach Municipal Airport, the facility needed more space. With Douglas Aircraft as a resident, the attitude of Long Beach's authorities became openly hostile to naval aviation, with its city manager saying that "the sooner the Navy gets out of the Long Beach airport, the better we will like it."
So the Navy had begun a survey for another site — unknown to city officials at the time. Admiral Ernest J. King, then the Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics, and Admirals William D. Leahy, Joseph K. Taussig, and Allen E. Smith pointedly requested that the city of Long Beach repair the runways and reminded the city that the Pacific Fleet, then laying offshore in Long Beach and San Pedro harbors, had a payroll of more than $1 million a month. Eventually the city complied with the Navy's requests.
The city continued to show a hostile attitude toward approving a lease on any additional land that the Naval Reserve now required.
The Navy there upon, fed up with the city of Long Beach, decided upon the purchase of some property owned by a Mrs. Susanna Bixby Bryant, a fact made known by the commander of the base, Commander Thomas A. Gray, to the Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics, Admiral John H. Towers. The circumstances behind the purchase were revealed to James V. Forrestal, Under Secretary of the Navy, and by him to the House Naval Affairs committee who approved the purchase. Although Comdr. Gray had offered Mrs. Bryant $350 an acre, in the best patriotic spirit she sold the property at $300 an acre.
With the site acquired, in 1941, construction funds soon followed and NAS Los Alamitos began to take shape. Upon the transfer of the Naval Reserve Training Facility to Los Alamitos, to the surprise of city officials of Long Beach, in 1942, instead of returning the Naval Reserve Air Base facilities at Long Beach to the city, the Navy turned over the facilities to the United States Army Air Forces, which had established a training base next to it. NARB Long Beach was not totally abandoned but became a Naval Auxiliary Air Station (NAAS).
The 1940s was a busy time. Through World War II the airfield was given over to the war effort. In August, 1941, the Civil Aeronautics Administration took over control of the airport, which had increased to 500 acres (2.0 km2). Once Los Alamitos became an operational base in 1941, NAAS Long Beach now turned to servicing carrier borne F4Fs, SBDs, FM-2s, F4Us, F6Fs, TBF/TBMs, and SB2Cs. In addition, it had utility aircraft and such patrol planes as the PBY, SNB, GB3, NH, GH, and SNJ.
As the Navy's activities began to be shifted to Los Alamitos the Long Beach Army Airfield at Long Beach became the home of the Army's Air Transport Command's Ferrying Division, with the 1736th Ferrying Squadron assigned, which included a squadron of 18 women pilots commanded by Barbara London, a long time Long Beach aviator.
Like the Naval Air Ferry Command at NAS Terminal Island, the Army's ferrying work was an immense undertaking, thanks to Douglas Aircraft's wartime production. Ground was broken for the initial Douglas Aircraft facility in November 1940, with dedication in October 1941. Douglas had been drawn to Long Beach's growing municipal airport with its Army and Navy facilities. With wartime contracts the company went into intensive production. The company's first C-47 was delivered 16 days after the attack of Pearl Harbor and another 4,238 were produced during the war. The plant turned out some 1,000 A-20 Havocs, not to mention 3,000 B-17 Flying Fortresses and 1,156 A-26 Invaders.
With the end of the war the U.S. Navy abandoned any use of Long Beach Municipal Airport and with it the designation of Long Beach as a Naval Auxiliary Air Station.
copied from Wikipedia 2018
Above: Douglas C-74 Globemaster at Long Beach Airport with Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Curtiss C-46 Commando aircraft in the background.
NELLIE HOLMAN & EARL DAUGHERTY
"This was a staged publicity shot for the story about her being the first movie actress to fly in a plane. My Great grandmother Nell's maiden name was "Schall", she was more of an "extra" in the films,
My great grandfather was a camera operator at Balboa Films and their son Bobby (little boy in picture), (my grandfather), was in several feature films including "The Red Circle" series with Ruth Roland, "Wildcats" and "A Bit of Kindling" with Jackie Saunders, Ruth Roland was my Great grandmother's best friend I have many pictures, postcards and letters from her."
Photo and caption from Jim Wells, 11-23-03