High Above Imeson Airport, 1950’s

November 8th, 2016, 10:51H · Topics: Aerials, Around Town · Print


A 1950’s vintage aerial of the old Jacksonville – Thomas Cole Imeson Municipal Airport just off Main Street on Jacksonville’s Northside. It originally opened as Jacksonville Municipal Airport Number One in 1927 and the first airport had just two runways, one grass and one described as “cinder and shell”. In the 1920’s the concept of commercial air travel was still a novelty so to generate publicity, Charles Lindberg flying the Spirit of St. Louis, less than five months after his first solo non-stop transatlantic flight from Long Island New York to Paris, France, landed at the still under construction airport for the dedication ceremony.

The Army Air Corps and then various other branches of the service used the airfield from 1941 through the end of World War II to fly anti-submarine aircraft off the Atlantic Coast in search of German submarines. After the war the airport resumed commercial operations, the main terminal complex can be seen in the bottom center of this photograph with the circular driveway. The Florida Air National Guard’s 159th. Fighter Squadron was also based there. As commercial aircraft transitioned from propeller driven planes to jets, longer runways were needed so In 1968 Jacksonville International Airport was opened and in 1970 the land was purchased and redeveloped as Imeson International Industrial Park. Some of the old runways remain among the commercial buildings that now occupy the property.


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  1. 1 Jim McDonald November 16th, 2016 22:52H

    Good memories. I used to sell fresh picked oranges to the guys in the control tower when I was a teenager in the ’50s. I would go there at night, climb up the ladder into the tower and hang around while the guys attended to their duties, sometime sipped vodka and ate oranges and entertained their girl friends. I can still remember when they would give clearance for take off to a Southern Airways DC-3- “OK, Southern xxx, shake, rattle and roll”. I was there when a Constellation crashed west of Main St. on a westerly approach for landing. A sad memory!

    • 2 bob December 28th, 2016 19:59H

      Thank you for adding your memories. That is not information you will find in any history book. Bob Self/Vintage Jacksonville

    • 3 Donna H September 29th, 2018 14:10H

      My grandmother, Genevieve Medlock, was the Justice of the Peace at the time of the Eastern Airlines plane crash on December 21, 1955. Part of her job was also serving as Coroner so she had the sad responsibility of collecting personal belongings and notifying families. There were 17 fatalities.

      • 4 bob September 30th, 2018 11:34H

        That is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing this. Bob Self/Vintage Jacksonville

  2. 5 Carl J Wittfeld III January 19th, 2018 12:53H

    I used to hang out with My Father at the Laurie Yonge Flying Service hangar, in the late 1950’s. I remember the coke machine just outside the office door, & having a bologna sandwich, my Dad made me and a coke. I remember the pull handle you had to use to get the coke bottle to come out. Laurie Yonge taught himself to fly and had his license signed by one of the Wright Brothers as well. We lived on Windemere Dr, Went to Arlington Elementary School. My little brother was born in 1958, still remember my Mom coming out to the car holding him. Pops had a blue 48 Chevrolet. My Mother’s parents had a 48 Ford. Dad eventually got a 1957 Buick station wagon, which had a mean hinge mechanism on the back upper tailgate. Cracked my head a few times on that. The Fuller Brush man had a 1958 Isetta BMW. The Avon lady had an ancient Volvo. You could burn trash and leaves at the street end of your driveway back then. 1959, saw snow for the first time. Pops brought it back from New York in a cooler. We did have frost on the ground but snow was different.

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About Photographer Loyd Sandgren

I first met Loyd Sandgren in 1997 as I was putting photo gear back into my car after... Learn More