HISTORY OF AIRLINE SERVICE AT JACKSONVILLE
Part 3: Imeson Airport in the 1950s
Part 1 (1920s-30s) / Part 2 (1940s) / Part 4 (1960s) / Part 5 (Imeson final years) / Part 6 (Imeson closing)
Postcard view of Jacksonville's Imeson Airport circa 1950.
Unidentified dapper gentleman posing in front of Eastern Air Lines' Martin 404 N484A at Imeson in 1952. This aircraft later flew with Florida Air Lines.
February 1955 Florida Times Union photo showing construction of several additions to the original structure including an expanded ticket lobby and waiting area just to the right of the tower in this side view.
This circa 1955 aerial view facing east shows the completed additions to the terminal including a covered curbside area, a new two-story extension on the right side of the building and airside breezeways. Two National Airlines Lodestars can be seen at left and two Eastern Martin 404s can be seen to the right of the tower.
A great circa 1955 view from inside the control tower. Two Eastern Constellations and a Martin 404 are in the background.
This May 1955 Jeppesen chart shows four active runways at Imeson. The terminal and control tower were on the west side of the airport and are marked by the circled star on this map. Courtesy of John Hewson.
Eastern Air Lines dominated air travel in Jacksonville for four decades and was carrying roughly 60% of passengers at the airport in the mid 1950s.
A circa 1955 postcard of Imeson shows the recent addition of a curbside overhang and the lettering above the main entrance changed from Jacksonville Airport to Imeson Airport.
A circa 1956 postcard view shows the new airside terminal expansion beneath the tail of an Eastern Martin 404.
Postcard view of an Eastern Constellation parked in front of the 1955 terminal expansion.
Passengers boarding a National Airlines DC-6 circa 1955.
Here's a silent film showing the ticket lobby and aircraft operations during the mid 1950s. A classic parade of vintage planes can be seen arriving and departing runway 9: lots of Eastern Martin 404s, a National Lodestar, and an Eastern Constellation making an impressively smooth landing. There are a couple of shots of an Eastern Constellation and a National DC-6 starting their engines with a quick blast of smoke. Great stuff! Original video posted by JAX Airport.
A view of the ticket lobby taken from the second story walkway. Judging from the Delta route map at far right, this would have been 1956 -1957.
Another view of the information booth. University of Florida digital collections.
The Savarin restaurant at Imeson Airport in the late 1950s. The windows at left overlooked the airfield.
An afternoon view of the Imeson ramp in May 1957 shows a trio of National Airlines Convair 340s and an Eastern Martin 404, among others. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Another May 1957 view, facing south from the Laurie Yonge general aviation ramp, shows a National Airlines DC-7, Eastern Constellation and Martin 404, and a Southern Airways DC-3 at the terminal. There may be a second Constellation beyond those. Hard to tell. Source: Wikimedia Commons
A Delta DC-6 on the ramp in the late afternoon sunlight in 1957. Photo credit: Jeff Davies
The next six photos of the airport entrance were taken at various times in the late 1950s to showcase the landscaping work of May Mann Jennings and her group the Duval County Highway Beautification Association. University of Florida digital collections.
View from N. Main St. showing the airport azaleas. Look closely and you'll see a Constellation and 2 Martin 404s to the right of the terminal.
View of the airport entrance from the tower.
Laurie Yonge was a Jacksonville aviation pioneer and operated this general aviation facility at Imeson for more than 40 years. This was just north of the main terminal on the west side of the field. October 24, 1958. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Northeast Airlines began turboprop Vickers Viscount flights at Imeson on March 15, 1959. The airline would be the first to bring pure jet service to Jacksonville in 1961.
The terminal was expanded again in 1959 with a 12,000 square foot addition that doubled the size of the lobby and seating area and added counter space for three additional airlines. University of Florida digital collections.
Workers are adding finishing touches to the new building in preparation for the August 18, 1959 opening day. The new addition featured large windows that gave a panoramic view of the ramp and runways.
Washington D.C. - based Capital Airlines began Jacksonville flights on October 25, 1959 with nonstop flights to Atlanta and direct service to Pittsburgh and Charleston, WV. Capital was absorbed by United Airlines in 1961.