HISTORY OF AIRLINE SERVICE AT JACKSONVILLE
Part 4: Imeson Airport in the early 1960s
As the 1960s began, seven passenger airlines served Jacksonville's Imeson Airport: Eastern, National, Delta, Southern, Northeast, Capital and Golden Isles Airlines. The arrival of pure jet aircraft in 1961 and the corresponding increase in passenger traffic stretched the limits of the terminal designed for pre-WWII aircraft. This circa 1961 postcard shows Imeson Airport repainted in mint green.
An Eastern Air Lines Lockheed L-188 Electra turboprop is parked at the terminal in this circa 1961 postcard. The large windows were at the end of the new lobby that was completed in 1959.
Golden Isles Airlines was a St. Simons Island based commuter carrier that operated deHavilland Dove flights between Jacksonville and St, Simons, Gainesville and Melbourne. Timetable courtesy of Don Henchel.
Northeast was the first airline to fly pure jet aircraft at Jacksonville and inaugurated Convair 880 flights on April 30, 1961. The 880 (named because it flew at roughly 880 feet per second) was one of the fastest airliners of all time and had a cruise speed of 615mph, nearly 100 mph faster than today's 737s and Airbus A320s.
A detail from a 1960 Jacksonville street map showing Imeson Airport and surrounding area.
A 1961 view of the crowded Laurie Yonge Flying Service ramp just north of the passenger terminal. A United Airlines DC-6 can be seen at bottom right. United inherited Capital Airlines' Jacksonville routes when they merged on June 1, 1961. Jacksonville International Airport Facebook page
A view of the airport entrance as seen from the terminal in 1962. This is from an advertisement for the unusual light posts seen here.
The same perspective at night.
The airport was bustling with activity in this January 1963 photo. The crowd at far right is standing at the curbside baggage claim, presumably waiting for their luggage.
This aerial view taken on January 1, 1963 shows a new extension on runway 5- 23 and new overruns at the end of each runway. The terminal, at left with the circular drive, has also been expanded.
A terrific view from January 1963 showing additional expansion at the terminal including two covered walkways extending out onto the ramp. Photo credit: AeroPic via the Jacksonville International Airport Facebook page.
A closer view shows a United Airlines Caravelle and three National Airlines Lockheed Electras at left and two Eastern DC-7s and a Delta DC-7 at right.
The same photo lined up with a current view from Google Earth showing what remains of Imeson Airport. Scroll back and forth to compare the two.
Map of the Imeson Airport terminal from 1964 courtesy of the Departed Flights website.
Southern Airways DC-3 N62SA being prepared for the next multi-hop flight back to Atlanta on May 20, 1964. Photo credit: Bo-Göran Lundkvist.
The Beatles arrived aboard a chartered American Flyers Airline Lockheed Electra on September 11, 1964 for their sold-out concert at the Gator Bowl that night. A great article about that historic event can be found at Salon.
My dad Parker Henderson took these photos on approach to Imeson's runway 5 in 1964.
Mackey Airlines offered direct service between Jacksonville and the Bahamas during the mid 1960s using Douglas DC-6s.
Argonaut Airways operated DC-3 commuter flights at Jacksonville beginning December 1, 1965.