HISTORY OF AIRLINE SERVICE AT JACKSONVILLE
Part 2: The 1940s
Jacksonville Municipal Airport opened a new administration building and control tower at a dedication ceremony on December 29, 1941. An Eastern Air Lines DC-3 is pictured at the new facility in this circa 1942 postcard view.
Prior to the opening of the administration building, National and Eastern airlines operated from separate buildings. The National Airlines building seen here served as their terminal and airport office. From the University of Florida Digital Collections.
This June 1940 photo shows the construction of the foundation for the new administration building. National Airlines' building can be seen to the left.
The building was constructed by the city of Jacksonville using WPA labor.
The next four photos document the construction progress over the course of a year. This is facing south and the airfield is to the left and the entrance from Main St. would be off to the right. The first photo was taken on June 30, 1940.
By March 27, 1941 the administration building was taking shape. National Airlines new hangar and headquarters can be seen in the distance to the right.
Front view from March 1941.
The shell of the control tower is nearly complete in this May 3, 1941 view, seven months before completion.
The building opened on December 29, 1941.
"Dignity and richness of appearance combine with the utmost utility and efficiency toward the rapid handling of the air traveler." The following photos appeared in an article about the new building in the January 1942 issue of Florida Public Works. The first composite photo shows the central ticket lobby. At bottom left is the airside view with an Eastern DC-3 at the gate. The curbside view shows single-story wings on either side of the main building. The north wing to the left housed a restaurant that overlooked the airfield while the south wing to the right housed a post office, first aid station and airport and airline offices. The article also mentions that Eastern Air Lines had 17 daily flights in and out of Jacksonville while National Airlines operated 10 flights a day.
A mid 1940s curbside view of the Jacksonville airport terminal shows the addition of a second story on the south wing of the building at right (compare with the above photo).
Delta began serving Jacksonville on Decemeber 1, 1945 as one of numerous stops along a 12-hour Chicago - Miami route. The photo caption of DC-3 NC28343 "City of Miami" from a 1946 issue of the Delta Digest states, "The Mayors' special flight stops at the Jacksonville terminal for Mayor Whitehead."
Delta's December 1, 1945 timetable shows 4 daily arrivals and departures at Jacksonville. From the Delta Flight Museum digital archives.
Delta's Jacksonville ticket counter and staff in December 1945.
A circa 1947 view of a National Airlines Lockheed Lodestar and Eastern DC-3 on the Jacksonville ramp. National was one the rare airlines never to operate the DC-3 and kept the Lodestars in service into the early 1960s.
September 7, 1947 photo of a young lady with a Coca-Cola cart at the door of a National Airlines Lodestar. Florida State Archives.
Circa 1947 view of a shiny new Delta Douglas DC-4 on the ramp at Jacksonville.
A similar color postcard view of a Delta DC-4 at JAX, circa 1947.
Delta's Jacksonville ticket counter pictured in the Delta Digest in 1947.
Florida Airways, formerly Orlando Airlines, offered intrastate commuter flights to Jacksonville between 1946 and 1949 using Beechcraft D-18Cs. The July 25, 1947 timetable from the collection of Björn Larsson shows four daily round-trips between Jacksonville and Orlando with various stops enroute.
A late 1940s view of Jacksonville Airport from an Airlines Service, Inc advertisement.
Another late 1940s advertisement showing limousines and a National Airlines DC-4 at Jacksonville.
Jacksonville Municipal Airport No. 1 (today's Craig Airport was then known as Municipal Airport No. 2) was officially renamed Thomas Cole Imeson Airport on July 25, 1948 following Mr. Imeson's death. The former city commissioner was instrumental in the development of Jacksonville airport and the growth of aviation in the city.
Southern Airways arrived in Jacksonville on June 25, 1949 with a single round-trip to and from Atlanta using Douglas DC-3s.
Passengers board an Eastern Air Lines DC-3 in this unpublished photo taken by Ralph Morse for LIFE magazine in June 1949.
Another great Ralph Morse shot, taken moments after the previous photo. These were taken for an article about Eastern Air Lines' leader and ace pilot Eddie Rickenbacker but were never published in the magazine.