CURBSIDE AT ATLANTA'S TEMPORARY TERMINAL
While we've published over a hundred photos of Atlanta's "Temporary Terminal" that served the city from 1948 to 1961, virtually all of those have shown the classic airliners of yesteryear or well dressed passengers presumably heading to exciting, far-flung destinations. Here we take a look at Atlanta air travel from a slightly less glamorous perspective, the curbside. Passenger drop off and pick up areas, parking lots, taxis, buses, valet parking - this is how passengers originating in Atlanta would have experienced the airport before or after their flight. The landscape has since changed completely, the cars are now classics and these mundane views of parking lots and spartan airport buildings seem slightly otherworldly six decades later.
A rare color view of Atlanta's temporary passenger terminal entrance circa 1960. This entire scene is now under the roof of the City North hangar off of Toffie Terrace, originally built by Eastern Air Lines in the 1960s, now leased by Delta. Thanks to O.M. for identifying the cars: "a 55 Buick, 55 Chevy, two 57 Oldsmobiles, 56 Chevy, 58 Ford, and a 56 Ford in foreground."
Below: Another rare color view circa 1960, this time facing southeast from the elevated parking lot on the far west end of the temporary terminal. Concourse B of the turquoise "Jet Age" terminal can be seen under construction in the distance at the center of the photo. Three Delta Convair 440s, two Capital Airlines Viscounts and three Southern DC-3s can be seen at the west concourse.
This Google Maps view shows the same area in January 2018.
A 1950s curbside view of the temporary terminal. Photo from the Tracy O'Neal Photographic Collection, Georgia State University Library.
Valet parking booth at Atlanta Municipal Airport in April 1958. Photo from the Tracy O'Neal Photographic Collection, Georgia State University Library.
The helpful crew at Airways Service valet in April 1958. 24 hour storage was $1.25, 25¢ each 4 hours over 24, with a maximum of $1.25 for 24 hours. Photo from the Tracy O'Neal Photographic Collection, Georgia State University Library.
An April 1958 view of airport parking at Atlanta facing east northeast. The temporary terminal would have been directly to the photographer's right. This area is now the parking lot for the City North Delta hangar. The round water tank in the parking lot is the only structure in this photo that is still standing. The building to the right was used by Eastern Air Lines and was demolished in the mid 1990s. Photo from the Tracy O'Neal Photographic Collection, Georgia State University Library.
A view of the same parking lot facing northwest from the roof of the Eastern building seen in the previous photo. Photo from the Tracy O'Neal Photographic Collection, Georgia State University Library.
View facing northeast. The terminal was directly off to the right of this scene (out of view in this photo). The building seen at the far right is the same one seen on the left in the previous shot. Photo from the Tracy O'Neal Photographic Collection, Georgia State University Library.
This is the same parking lot seen in the second color photo at the top of this page, facing west toward the city of College Park. The color photo was taken from the elevated lot seen at far right and the terminal would be to the left of this scene. The field in the background was the clearing beyond the end of runway 15/33. Interstate I-85 now occupies the area.
For you local history buffs, there are only two structures in the above photo that are still standing. The steeple on the horizon is that of the College Park Baptist church and the building poking over the runway overrun was the S.R. Young Grammar School, now part of a senior living community seen here on Google Earth. The last of the row of houses seen above were demolished in the early 1990s.
A view of Atlanta airport parking from just outside the terminal doors in April 1958, facing north. This is taken from almost exactly the same spot as the first color photo at the top of this page, facing in the opposite direction.
A detail of the previous photo. The same view today would find you and the gentlemen pictured here standing inside of Delta's City North hangar.
This is the Airways Service valet remote parking shed that was located just northeast of the temporary terminal. These might be the same three employees seen in the previous photos of the curbside valet booth.
The above scene is dramatically different today. The valet shed site is now occupied by the FlightSafety Atlanta Learning Center. The Atlanta Airport La Quinta Inn at the corner of Toffie Terrace and Loop Road can be seen through the trees.
Another view of the valet parking at the Atlanta Municipal Airport in April 1958 as seen from the southeast corner of the lot.
View from the northeast corner of the lot facing southwest. The airport terminal was on the other side of this shed.
This late 1959 - early 1960 aerial view of the bustling temporary terminal shows the valet shed at bottom right. There is an amazing mix of aircraft in this shot, ranging from the flock of vintage DC-3s at the top of the photo to the brand new Delta DC-8 jet at top left. Also of note is the Eastern Air Lines Lockheed Electra L-188 turboprop at center left, not to mention the numerous Constellations, Martin 404s, Convair 440s, DC-6s and a single Capital Airlines Viscount turboprop at top center. Atlanta opened its "Jet Age" terminal a little more than a year later in May 1961.
A similar perspective taken from Google Earth in 2018 shows virtually no trace of the temporary terminal although some of the odd angles in the asphalt and concrete near top right seem to roughly match some of the long gone structures in the earlier photo. The constant landmark in both views is the small round water tank at center right.