Author Topic: Jacksonville Municipal Airport Imeson Field  (Read 7042 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Jacksonville Municipal Airport Imeson Field
« on: December 29, 2008, 05:00:00 AM »
Jacksonville Municipal Airport Imeson Field



For over 40 years, Jacksonville Municipal Airport Imeson Field was the center of the First Coast’s commercial aviation scene. Jacksonville Municipal Airport Number One opened in 1927, with a dedication that included Charles Lindbergh.  In 1931, Eastern Air Transit (eventually Eastern Airlines) became the first major commercial airline to provide regular service to Jacksonville.

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Re: Jacksonville Municipal Airport Imeson Field
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2008, 08:06:16 AM »
When I lived in Jax during the 70's, 80's and early 90's, sometimes I would go riding in that area of town.  I knew it was an old airport because when I was a kid, the TV stations would state that the temperatures were so and so at Imeson, this I remember.  I would ride around the park on weekends when it was closed and could see the old perforations that remained from the former runways.  These are probably gone by now and it is possibly very hard to see any indications up close.  Anyway, interesting thread.  I'll bet you can also see the same at Cecil Commerce regarding previous hints that that park was a former military (naval) base (barracks, military housing, etc.).

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alta

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Re: Jacksonville Municipal Airport Imeson Field
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2008, 09:07:05 AM »
I flew out of Jax on Wednesday.  The new terminal is awesome.

deathstar

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Re: Jacksonville Municipal Airport Imeson Field
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2008, 10:34:33 AM »
That's the airport my Mom and Grandmother landed at when they arrived from New York to Jacksonville, and before that, Germany to New York. I am the first on my Mom's side of the family to be born in America. The stretch of cars out there seems to go on for miles, really shows you how bad off the auto industry is.

stjr

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Re: Jacksonville Municipal Airport Imeson Field
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2008, 11:33:42 AM »
My grandparents generally preferred taking the train from Jax Terminal when traveling. I remember going into its tunnels and the smell of the trains and leather luggage as well as being mesmerized by the trains backing into the station.  In those days, you could go on the train to say goodbye before the train pulled out.  No greater thrill for a small kid than running through a rail car!  And regular travelers even knew the porters by name.

Likewise, at Imeson, as air travel picked up.  You would walk to the plane from the terminal via covered outdoor walkways.  From the end of the walk way, you would proceed to the movable stairs to enter the plane.  Anyone could go out on the tarmac to receive or say farewell to passengers.  And, in those days, flying was special.  Everyone wore their Sunday best when flying (or doing almost anything else back then  :) ).  I think they would even let you board the plane, like the trains, to say goodbye.  National Airlines was a class airline at its peak.  Remember its "Fly Me, I'm (enter girl's name)" campaign.  It was both popular and controversial at the same time.  Merging with Pan Am (the GM of airlines at the end) was obviously a ruinous move but it represented the new trend of combining domestic carriers with international ones.

One big problem at Imeson was the St. Regis paper mill that was off the end of the runway.  Planes would take off or land and fly right over the mill picking up all its ugly odors.  This did a lot to earn Jax the title of being a smelly city.  Buddy Hackett even wise cracked about it on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson after visiting Jax.

We have movies of all of the above and one day I need to digitize them.  Another world, another time.  Full of excitement and innocence.
Hey!  Whatever happened to just plain ol' COMMON SENSE!!

JeffreyS

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Re: Jacksonville Municipal Airport Imeson Field
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2008, 12:12:04 PM »
As the largest commercial park in Jax it would be in a good position to grow with commuter rail as it is directly adjacent to the main street line.
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thelakelander

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Re: Jacksonville Municipal Airport Imeson Field
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2008, 12:37:26 PM »
In addition, a station would be adjacent to the Busch Brewery Tour and set up perfectly for rapid bus connections between BRT and rail (via Dunn Avenue).
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JeffreyS

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Re: Jacksonville Municipal Airport Imeson Field
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2008, 12:39:30 PM »
Don't forget the Zoo could be serviced by the same stop.
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Ocklawaha

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Re: Jacksonville Municipal Airport Imeson Field
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2008, 07:40:30 PM »










Meanwhile, downtown...



There were two covered walks out the back of Imeson, one went NE the other SE from the terminal building.
There was no roof cover between the "gates" and the planes. The concourse was a metal roof sidewalk not unlike the one that extends west from the Central Skyway Station downtown. On each side of the walk was a metal railing, polished with the hands of thousands of passengers. Every now and then there was a break in the rail with a chain hanging across it (again similar to the "gates" where you board the Skyway). These were called the GATES. No such thing as a boarding lounge, the airport had a general "Railroad style" waiting room.
When the planes would land then they would make an arrival or departure call. Crowds usually met at the back doors which became something like a Wal-Mart entry on November 26. Passengers and their guests or families would just walk out to the chain at gate such and such and wait for the chain to be dropped. Heavy rain brought out the umbrellas en masse. BTW, municipal airport Number 2 was Craig Field, which WAS used from time to time by the Military but was never a regular base.

Blimps for the US Navy had pads at NAS and Mayport. A special Navy LTA base called NLTA FRANCIS FIELD allowed coastal patrol blimps to overnight SE of World Golf Village. The massive Blimp Stations were at Brunswick - NLTA GLENCO, BANANNA RIVER, RICHMOND FL (Miami area).

Even up to and including most of the 1950's railroads RULED the passenger trade. Coming out of Imeson one day, our family friends plane had been delayed by many hours due to weather in Boston. She was stalled out in New York and/or Washington for a couple of days... When we exited the old Imeson Terminal to make the turn South on Main Street, The SEABOARD'S SUNLAND came sweeping past us moving like a rocket. Our friend was so interested in the train, 3 big diesels in a pale green (more like an ice white-green) and red stripes, maybe 15 passenger sleek passenger cars. By the time we reached the area around 11Th or 12Th Street at Main, railroad crossings that train was already in the Jacksonville Terminal. The next winter she flew SEABOARD!

Trust me, while it was important for the early airline industry, Imeson was a speck of dust when stacked against our railroad terminals.


OCKLAWAHA
« Last Edit: December 29, 2008, 07:43:31 PM by Ocklawaha »

Ron Mexico

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Re: Jacksonville Municipal Airport Imeson Field
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2009, 10:53:13 PM »
It would be really nice to have an airline that flew around the cities in Florida.  SWA goes to FLL and TPA, but that's about it.  Getting down to Ft. Myers is a long drive and I would be nice.  Then again, so would a decent train system.
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mtraininjax

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Re: Jacksonville Municipal Airport Imeson Field
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2009, 01:28:24 AM »
Decent train system, LOL, I saw the Auto Train sitting along US 17, near NAS Jax for 2+ hours tonight, waiting for CSX engineers to fix something, as there were 2 CSX trucks by a signal tower.

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Papa Jeff

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Re: Jacksonville Municipal Airport Imeson Field
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2009, 10:01:32 AM »
I was born in Jacksonville back in the 50's, and my family goes back into Jacksonville history at least 3 generations, and the family goes back in the North Florida area at least another 2 generations before that.  That in itself is a rarity, as most people I meet seem to have moved to Florida in their lifetime, or in their parents.  To add a nail in the coffin (so to speak) my wife's family goes back at least 3 generations in the Jacksonville Beaches areas as well.
I was raised on the northside of town, in Highlands, back when the houses were still new, I recall going to sleep each night (pre-air conditioning of course) to the sound of the train whistle every night about my bedtime, as it traveled north along the tracks that ran along beside Main Street.  And to the amazement of my children, I recall when they not only built the McDonald's on the corner of Main and Tallulah Ave, but when they first counted their burgers in the thousands being sold (lol).
Almost every Sunday, after church, (North Jacksonville Baptist, when it was on Pearl Street) we would occasionally eat at the Imeson Airport Restaurant, and then go to the observation deck at the airport to watch the airplanes (propeller driven) land and takeoff. 
On one very special occasion, mt grandparents went on a trip to Hawaii, I can recall it was a time when people would dress up to fly, as if they were dressing to go to church.  As the aircraft was being loaded, we got to go aboard and look around, and even visited the cockpit (unheard of these days).  The stewardesses, finally called out, to all visitors to depart the plane if they were not going to Hawaii on the flight.  Needless to say it was a time when you could leave your windows open and doors unlocked.  Not so much a simpler time, but a more trustfull one.  And one that I miss at times.

Papa Jeff......
PS. And for those that might not know it, the football field at the Gator Bowl used to run east to west instead of north to south, as it does now.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2009, 10:18:45 AM by Papa Jeff »
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JeffreyS

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Re: Jacksonville Municipal Airport Imeson Field
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2009, 10:13:27 AM »
Decent train system, LOL, I saw the Auto Train sitting along US 17, near NAS Jax for 2+ hours tonight, waiting for CSX engineers to fix something, as there were 2 CSX trucks by a signal tower.

Get off public rail and you stand a chance as to decency.
Wow I bet that hasn't ever happened on a plane where people had to sit on the runway for an hour our two while engineers fix some problem. OK bad example I'll try again.
Wow I bet that hasn't ever happened in a car where people had to sit on the highway for an hour our two while the FHP fixes some problem. OK bad example sorry can't help you.
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Re: Jacksonville Municipal Airport Imeson Field
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2009, 12:01:59 PM »
Don't sweat the small stuff Jeffery, these are the same guys that think air and auto travel is "FREE" and a God given right. Only the railroads should pay. That rail travel is "Just a step above a Greyhound." That Greyhound line sent me looking for a train as bad as intercity bus travel and the gentleman from the right would be happy to know I found ONE. Until 1932, the Santa Fe and Rock Island Railroads operated a Mixed Train Daily between Guthrie and Kingfisher Oklahoma. A peddler freight with an ancient baggage/mail/coach combine car on the rear. It stopped at every siding to switch cars, leaving the coach by the local station, then would creep through the weeds to the next little hamlet. But you know that Conductor became so famous that there is an Oklahoma school named in his honor? He would take on small children, school kids, packages etc... and personally make sure they were safely delivered home. OH DAMN! There I go again, guess I got to find another example.

Memories of what that speak got a certain loud mouth, anti rail senator from Arizona recently. "ARIZONA CITIZENS ARE TIRED OF PAYING FOR TRAINS IN FLORIDA, GEORGIA... ETC..." Oh my how right!

I will become decent and get off the Amtrak - Rail band wagon as soon as McCain gives Florida back all the tax money that went to the Hoover Dam. Oh, my bad, the Colorado River? Oops, California Aquaduct? Las Vegas Electric? So much for the Macho Independent Cowboy West.

We all know Amtrak is a Commie Plot to destabilize the national budget. Never forget it cost YOU the taxpayer about $30 dollars for every Amtrak ticket sold. (We just won't tell them that for every airline seat we pay about 3 x more... Auto? Holy rubber tires Batman!



I smell a TROLL
OCKLAWAHA

Dog Walker

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Re: Jacksonville Municipal Airport Imeson Field
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2009, 01:25:19 PM »
I am older than Papa Jeff and have FLOWN airplanes in and out of Imeson.  The family airplane was based at Craig, but there were no repair facilities for electronics at Craig at the time.  When the radio went bad, you would phone the tower at Imeson and tell them that you were coming, giving them a description of your airplane.  When you tried to enter the pattern (carefully!) they would shine a red or a green light at you to let you know if it was OK to land.  I wonder if they still have red and green spotlights in towers today?

Sometimes when the wind was just right, the foul smoke from the paper mill just off the airport would actually close it due to visibility problems when it was clear everywhere else.
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