Long Beach Airport Closes its Historic Terminal. Temporarily

Long Beach Airport Terminal circa 1962 – Courtesy of the airport

Over the past week, the Stuck at the Airport team has shared news of how Kansas City decided to replace an old terminal with a brand new one at Kansas City International Airport (MCI). And of a new museum in Atchison, Kansas dedicated to iconic aviator Amelia Earhart.

Today we share some news about Long Beach, which is keeping and preserving its historic Long Beach Airport (LGB) terminal. The airport, also known as Daugherty Field, is where Amelia Earhart took her first airplane ride in 1920.

Long Beach Airport Historic Terminal

The terminal building at Long Beach Airport was built in 1941 in the iconic Streamline Moderne Style. It is the oldest municipally-owned airport in California.

Designed by William Horace Austin and Kenneth Smith Wing, the groundbreaking for the Historic Terminal took place on Jan. 11, 1941, with the building scheduled to open on Dec. 8 of that year.

The Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7 delayed the opening, led to the cancellation of all commercial flights, and resulted in the building being painted in camouflage and used as lodging for soldiers and military equipment.

The formal opening occurred on April 25, 1942.

Now a Long Beach Historic Landmark, the terminal building is also home to recently restored mosaic masterpieces created by Grace Clements under the Works Progress Administration Federal Arts Project.

LGB Terminal Renovation Project

Starting this week, Long Beach Airport (LGB)’s Historic Terminal temporarily closes for a year-long renovation that will include a seismic retrofit and restoration of many of its classic 1941 design elements.

Preliminary renovation efforts began while the Historic Terminal was partially open to the public. But now, airport officials say, a full closure of the building is necessary to complete the renovation of the restrooms and building infrastructure, restoration of covered mosaic tiles, and other Art Deco design elements.

The restored terminal building is expected to reopen in early 2024 and is one piece of a multi-part terminal improvement program. Two major components were completed in the spring of 2022, including the new Ticketing Lobby and Checked Baggage Inspection System (CBIS) facility. A new Baggage Claim is currently under construction and scheduled to open in the coming months.

Phase I of the Terminal Area Improvement Program created an award-winning indoor-outdoor passenger concourse in 2012.

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