By Tim O’Rourke
And you thought SFO was packed before your last flight.
The Chronicle’s front page from Aug. 30, 1954, covers the opening of the San Francisco International Airport Terminal Building and the huge party heralding the project.
“As befits a city paying its tribute to the air age, San Francisco provided some stratospheric and awesome figures yesterday at the Flight Festival celebrating the completion of its new $14,000,000 Airport Terminal Building,” the story read.
“The crowd was unbelievable. It numbered 338,000 persons.”
Now that’s a crowded airport.
The front-page photo that has The Chronicle nameplate printed within it shows the tens of thousands of cars arranged in semi-circles outside SFO. All those automobiles brought most of the attendees and they, in turn, spent a whole lot of money at the airport.
“There were 95,000 sales inside the building at its restaurant, lunch counters and cocktail lounges,” the story read. “There were 100,000 sales of hot dogs and beer, spun sugar candy and soda pop at the tents set up alongside the big airliners.”
The food and drinks weren’t the draw, though.
“It was the planes which were the main attraction for the crowds,” The Chronicle’s Michael Harris wrote. “Even veterans of the aviation industry who remembered the days when they had amazed San Franciscans while barnstorming at the mudflats which have been rebuilt into the a $50,000,000 airport were unprepared for the awed reception.”
See more front pages: Go to SFChronicle.com/covers to search a database of hundreds of Chronicle Covers articles that showcase the newspaper’s 151-year history.
Read more: http://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Chronicle-Covers-SFO-s-biggest-aviation-party-9185479.php