Monday, February 11, 2008

Memory Monday - Watching Airplanes

Sitting on the hood of the car watching airplanes land on the runway and wishing we would grow up to be an airplane pilots was the perfect way for a kid to spend a Saturday morning. On many a Saturday morning at my fathers mention all of us kids would pile into the car fighting over which kid got the window seats in the yellow station wagon. It was one of the weeks highlights to go and watch the planes touch down on the runway, although, none of my fathers children would ever learn how to fly a plane.

In the late 1960’s and early 70’s when the San Fernando Valley had only a small number of people and lots of open spaces, 630 acres of land on the north-east corner of Sherman Way and Vineland was shared between the newly renamed Hollywood-Burbank Airport (formerly knows as Lockheed Air Terminal) and an Alta Dena Dairy Store with a cow pasture. The Alta Dena Dairy Stores were a regular landmark around the valley. Today, there still stands an Alta Dena Dairy store in Granada Hills but absent are the cows and the pasture. In later years the cows sharing the land with the Hollywood-Burbank Airport were moved and in the name of progress the Alta Dena Dairy store was torn down to erect the first of many box super stores that would invade the valley. This one was named the Price Club.

At this same time the Hollywood-Burbank airport was on its way to becoming a commercial airliner and in 1978, when Lockheed sold the facility and the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority took over operations the airport acquired its fifth name: Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport (1978-2003).

In November, 2003 the airport name was changed once again to Bob Hope Airport in honor of comedian Bob Hope, a longtime resident of nearby Toluca Lake, who had died earlier in the year and who kept his personal airplane at the airfield. Other Hollywood notables including John Travolta also house their personal airplanes at the airfield. The new name was unveiled at the end of year on the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first flight in 1903, the year Bob Hope was born.

In 2005, the airport celebrated its 75th anniversary. In 2006, it served over 5 million travelers on seven major carriers, with more than 70 flights daily.


Tanya said...

I grew up in a small San Diego suburb called El Cajon, which I've heard now resembles Tijuana, but there is a small airport called Gillespie Field and I would take my oldest Ashlyn to school in the mornings, pick up some Mickey D's for my littlest then, Christian and myself and we'd head over to Gillespie to watch the planes land and takeoff. Lots of great memories! There was also a dairy in El Cajon, on Fletcher Pkwy, I think, if I remember correctly, that also had a cow pasture which is no longer there, but the drive thru dairy still stands, or did. Too bad so many things have to change!