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Dedication of Western Air Express terminal

Dedication of Western Air Express terminal

April 17, 1930: The Fanchon and Marco chorus girls dance atop a new Fokker F-32 aircraft during dedication ceremonies of Western Air Express’ new terminal at Alhambra Field.

An article the next morning in The Times reported:

With a crowd of people estimated at 10,000 participating, the $1,000,000 terminal of the Western Air Express on Valley Boulevard near Alhambra was dedicated yesterday with fitting ceremonies…

The ceremonies yesterday comprised a program of music by the South Gate Boys’ Municipal Band, speeches by well-known men, and the christening of one of the big Fokkers by Julia Faye and Dorothy Jordan, M.-G.-M. players. The Goodyear blimp Volunteer floated overhead and dropped bouquets of flowers hung from small parachutes with felicitations from various Southern California cities to the airport.

A troupe of Fanchon and Marco dancers got out on the wing of the big Fokker and danced a few steps. The Southern California Racing Pigeon Association sent off a flock of birds to show how flying is really done.

Edward Everett Horton, as master of ceremonies, presented Gov. (Clement) Young as the chief speaker of the afternoon. The Governor, in a brief talk, congratulated the men back at Western Air Express for the accomplishments and referred to the new airport as “a monument to airplane transportation,” He recited how the company has grown from an organization with five airplanes and twenty employees covering 1200 miles daily four years ago, to the present concern with seventy-four airplanes, 606 employees, and planes covering 14,000 miles daily….

The Fokker F-32 aircraft proved to be underpowered and costly to operate. Western Air Service only purchased two and retired them within a couple of years.

Western Air Express moved its operations to the Grand Central Air Terminal in Glendale. Western Air Express later became Western Airlines, ceasing to exist following its 1987 merger with Delta Air Lines.

The photo above by former staff photographer George Watson was published in the April 18, 1930 Los Angeles Times. The original print is not in the L.A. Times archive, but a copy later was obtained from Western Airlines in the 1980s.

April 17, 1930: Crowd of about 10,000 attends the dedication of Western Air Express terminal at Alhambra Field. Western Air Express later became Western Airlines. Credit: Los Angeles Times

April 1930: New Western Air Express terminal at Alhambra Field. This photo was published in the April 14, 1930 Los Angeles Times. Credit: Los Angeles Times

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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