ATLANTA'S TEMPORARY TERMINAL
The 1932 terminal had reached its capacity after the war as traffic increased and larger 4-engine aircraft entered service. The first jet engines had been developed during the war and airlines anticipated the arrival of jet airliners within the next decade. Until it could be determined what type of facility would be required to accommodate the next generation of airliners, and until the time the Federal Government agreed to match a $3,000,000 bond issue for the contemplated "atom-age" building, the city created an inexpensive temporary terminal using repurposed materials from the old Army buildings that stood along Virginia Avenue. The facility was used from May 1948 until a true jet-age terminal was opened in May 1961. To see where the temporary terminal was located, click HERE.
A July 1947 view of the temporary terminal under construction. The building was constructed on the former Army ramp on the northwest corner of the airport using as much salvage material from the old military buildings as possible. Airport manager Jack Gray designed the building and oversaw its construction. He was relentless in keeping costs at a bare minimum and the entire project cost the city only $200,000. Its hangar-like appearance was no accident - it was designed to be converted into a hangar when the official terminal opened. True to this intention, it was relocated in 1961 and became part of the Hangar One general aviation complex.
World War I fighter ace, Medal of Honor recipient, and head of Eastern Air Lines, Eddie Rickenbacker (center) checks the progress of the temporary terminal on March 30, 1948, about 5 weeks before opening day. The papers on the wall are covering large photographic murals of scenes from around Georgia. The one at left is labeled "Okefenokee swamp - Georgia state park" and the one at center says "Five Points - downtown Atlanta".
The terminal officially opened for business on May 8, 1948 and featured the longest ticket counter in the world.
A trio of DC-4s are seen on the ramp in this photo from Delta's 1948 Annual Report from the Delta Flight Museum digital archives.
Four days after the new terminal opened, the city gained a third airline when Capital began service between Atlanta and New York via Pittsburgh and Charleston, WV. This photo from the inaugural ceremony on May 12 shows Mrs. M.E. Thompson, wife of the Georgia Governor, about to christen the DC-4 with a bouquet of roses. Mayor William Hartsfield can be seen to her right in the light gray suit at the top of the stairs. Credit: Georgia State University Digital Collections.
A May 1949 view of the crowded ramp along the east wing shows 4 Eastern Air Lines DC-3s, 2 Constellations and a DC-4 with a Delta DC-4 in the background. Credit: Lane Brothers Collection, Georgia State University.
An Eastern Air Lines Lockheed Constellation starts its engines with a cloud of smoke in this postcard view. Note the altered lettering on the terminal from the actual photo above. The word "temporary" has been removed.
Atlanta-based local service airline Southern Airways took to the air on June 10, 1949 with a daily round trip between Atlanta and Memphis. Two weeks later, a second route was inaugurated to Jacksonville. Timetable from Craig Morris collection via TimetableImages.com.
A postcard view of the temporary terminal shows a Delta DC-6 and DC-3 and a Capital Airlines DC-3 at right. Note the second story observation deck. Capital was absorbed by United Airlines in 1961.