Thursday, July 23, 2015

#TBT: 4 Airports in Clairemont?

For #ThrowbackThursday, here is a story published in the CC News' first History of Clairemont edition in August 2007. Do you have information to add to the piece? Email editor@clairemont.com.

by  Dave Konstantin

Did you know there were once airports in Clairemont? I know of 4 airports that were in the Clairemont area over the years. Some of the info is clear and some is fuzzy.
1946 Thomas Bros. Map Shows Air Park in Clairemont
Let’s look at the fuzzy one first.

When I mention that I am a pilot, many long term residents tell me about an airport they remember near the intersection of Balboa and Charger. I can not substantiate this but have heard it many times.

We do have good info on three airports that were in Clairemont long before it was called Clairemont.

The first was near what is now the corner of Dakota and Clairemont Drive. It was called “San Diego Airpark”. It was shown on the  1945 Thomas Brothers map and on San Diego Aviation Charts of the time. It originally had a 2,700 foot unpaved runway but later added a taxiway and an opposing runway. It seems to have been operated between 1948 and 1952.  I have heard stories that it was built by a doctor from La Jolla. This airport was graded over to make room for the new community of Clairemont.

The second was called Rosedale and it appears to have been located near where Genesee Plaza is today at Balboa and Genesee. It was one of the Navy’s “Out Lying Fields” attached to the NAS at North Island. It had a 1,500 foot long adobe runway with an east-west orientation to make use of the prevailing wind. This was also shown on aviation charts and topographic maps of the day. It was opened in 1938, used extensively during WWII and closed some time between 1949 and 1951.

A 1946 aerial view looking west at Piek's Airport (courtesy of John Nance), 
showing the former Army barracks on the left, the Pacific Highway 
Tecolote Canyon Bridge in the foreground, and the the radio towers on the right.

The third airport was called “Peiks Airport”. It appears to have been a thriving airport from 1942 till about 1957. It was located on the southeast edge of Mission Bay before Mission Bay Park was developed. It looks like it was just west of I-5 (Highway 101 at that time) where Morena Blvd takes a bend. It is depicted  on maps and aviation charts of the time.

There was a 2,600 foot oiled runway, hangers, a cafĂ©, and flight training. The SD Historical Society has some great pictures of it.  Peik’s Airport went the way of progress as Mission Bay was developed.

So there you have it.  Could Clairemont have been the location of the international airport if it was not developed into what we know it to be today?

I would like to thank Paul Freeman for much of this information.  Visit his website about abandoned and forgotten airfields at www.airfields-freeman.com

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