Jump to content
American Road Magazine
Celebrating our two-lane highways of yesteryear…And the joys of driving them today!
mga707

Question About Old Us 60/70 Alignment In La Area

Recommended Posts

Hello everyone--I am researching the old Alhambra Airport in the town of the same name and have a question about the former alignment of US 60/70 (I believe US 99 also was on the same alignment, at least for a while).

My question is, did the pre-freeway alignment of 60/70 follow Valley Boulevard, which ran along the north edge of the airport, or did it follow Garvey Avenue to the south? The old south boundary of the airport was the former streetcar track that was where the San Bernardino Freeway (Interstate 10) now runs, to the north of Garvey.

The Alhambra Airport is a fascinating and largely forgotten place. It was constructed by Western Air Express and opened in early 1930. For it's day it was state of the art, with a concrete runway and a large hexagonal hangar in the northwest corner of the site, where a shopping center now exists. I believe, but cannot prove, that the shopping center sits on old airport tarmac. WAE moved to Alhambra from another long-gone airfield, Vail Field, which was in the City of Commerce (unincorporated in the 1920s), just west of Montebello.

Alhambra airport had a short life, as Western ran into financial difficulty later in 1930 and was forced to divest itself of many of it's routes and aircraft (the infamous "Shotgun Marriage")by the Postmaster General and merge them into Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT), creating Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA). Another of it's routes it was forced to sell to American Airways, today's American Airlines. Both TAT and AA at that time used Grand Central Airport in Glendale (which Disney now owns and is planning to renovate into it's early 30s appearance), and the small part of WAE that was left independent, The LA to Salt Lake City route, was moved to Union Air Terminal in Burbank (today's Burbank Airport), where the United Airlines/Boeing System already operated. I am not sure when exactly Alhambra ceased to operate as an airport, but it was not long after the "shotgun marriage" of 1930. Incidentally, WAE survived, became Western Airlines, and operated fairly successfully until they bought by and merged into Delta in 1987.

Anyway, just wondering if anyone is familiar with the old alignment(s) of 60/70 in the Los Angeles basin, and how it was routed through the Alhambra area.

Thanks!

Edited by mga707

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like a job for MAPPERMAN!

 

Here is a 1939 map of the area. I wasn't sure what years you needed, and I don't see an airport on this map. Sadly I just sold a detailed atlas of LA from the 1930's. I figured I would never need it!

 

LAMGA707.jpg

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

PS Opps.... I had just before WWII in mind when I copied the map above. Below are two maps from 1925.

 

LAMGA707b.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, Dave!

Both of the maps tell me a lot. The 1939 map tells me that by that time Garvey Ave. was the 60/70/99 alignment, as I suspected, and also tells me that the Alhambra Airport had already been closed by that time, as it is not noted on the map. It's location was the open square right above the word "Wilmar" on the 1939 map, with Valley Blvd. to the north and the tracks to the south. The railroad alignment is where the San Bernardino Freeway would later be built. It's interesting that Wilmar was known as "Ramona Acres" on the 1925 map. Also note that Grand Central Airport is noted on the map, up in the northwest corner, as it was still in use. Commercial carriers had all moved to either Burbank or Mines Field--today's LAX--by that time.

 

The 1925 map is interesting in that Garvey Avenue had not yet been constructed, so the earlier 60/70/99 alignment could well have been Valley Blvd, which apparently was called El Monte Road west of El Monte at that time. Alhambra Airport did not yet exist (opened in early 1930) so again the site is the open square just above "Ramona Acres".

 

Thanks for posting the maps--they're excellent. It is always neat to see old LA maps from "B.F."--before freeways!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×