Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Airport in LaSalle

I am continuing my research on the little known airport in LaSalle where Buzz Beurling had his beginning in aviation in the 30s. I found the following aircraft company in the 1930-31 Lovell directory:

Dominion Aircraft Co. Ltd,

7900 Blvd LaSalle,

F G M Sparks mgr

The street address seems to be where the golf course was situated facing or near the dam. I am slowly unraveling the mysteries on the airport and any help members can give me would be greatly appreciated. If we could find some photos of aircraft parked in or in front of the hangar and aircraft landing and leaving the airstrip would be the holy grail but a map showing the airstrip would also be quite a discovery. I previously went through all the Guardians (1929-1967) in our archives and never saw any mention of an airport in LaSalle. 

Yesterday I met a Mr Harry Carlyle who is 91 years old and lives in Verdun since he was 4 years old. wich means he arrived from England in 1924 but he does not recall any airport in the vicinity. He lives on Leclair street in Crawford Park and remembers going to the Bannantyne school and was in the army in the 2nd WW. He was an officer with 2 stripes and remembers hitting a soldier who would not obey orders wich he was not supposed to do. He grew vegetables on his property and used to sell them at the Atwater market and of course he remembers the farms with cows. His wife died 4 years ago and lives alone in his home He gave me his phone number and we agreed to keep in contact.

Guy

37 comments:

pauline garneau said...

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=f2I_AAAAIBAJ&sjid=p1MMAAAAIBAJ&pg=7072,1812974&dq=dominion+aircraft+co+ltd&hl=en

Hi Guy Yes!!! there was an airport in Lasalle Dominion Aircraft Co. Ltd, but NO picture. Will keep looking.

Guy Billard said...

Pauline,
Thanks a lot, this is a major step in my research, very appreciated.
Guy

Les F said...

Guy I would suggest looking into the old city hall in Lasalle they would definitely have some sort of history & maybe even some photographs.......Good Luck
This airport being at the old golf course is news to me, I certainly never heard anything like that over the years ? I did hear at some point (which I mentioned before) was that the club house was actually some wealthy family's summer cottage,I think i heard it was the Molson family ,but then that could be just mixed thoughts.... Good Luck

Guy Billard said...

Les,
I am stunned at this discovery of an airport in LaSalle in the 20s and 30s. Despite my involvement with the SHGV for the past 6 or 7 years and my going through all kinds of books and newspapers including the Guardian I found no mention of it at all. All the people I spoke to where unaware of it.What got me going was the small note in the Buzz Beurling biography wich mentions the airport which I never noticed before. I even spoke to an historian from LaSalle whose memory of it was vaque..
Lets onctinue our research and see what we can come up with.
Guy

Les F said...

It should be interesting........I have been searching & so far otherthan some brief mention in the archived newspapers,& I can find no concrete evidence yet.........but Hey it took us years to find some of the stuff we did find.... If it's out there ,we 'will' find it........Cheers ! HF&RV

pauline garneau said...

http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=1377

pauline garneau said...

http://daveg4otu.tripod.com/iowweb/simcan.html


DI/SAR. Considerable number of repairs and modifications will be required to make CF-ABC airworthy.
Lasalle Airport with hangars and shops remain the property of Ross Realty Co,
and is believed on lease to H G Marpole.

pauline garneau said...

http://daveg4otu.tripod.com/iowweb/simcan.html

Les F said...

Lasalle Airport with hangars and shops remain the property of Ross Realty Co,
and is believed on lease to H G Marpole.
This info might help locate where the Lasalle Field was ? If we can checkout Ross Reallty Co. or this H.G.Marpole fellow.
Like I said all'brief mentions in archived papers,but nothing so far with an address ,that I have come across yet. There must be a registrationwith head office ,it certainly sounds like it was more than just an 'airstrip' since there is mention of Hangars & shops........ahhh the mystery continues.....

Les F said...

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=vHctAAAAIBAJ&sjid=uZgFAAAAIBAJ&dq=lasalle%20airport&pg=3465%2C3416152
More brief mention about an airshow with upwards of 25 thousand in attendance...that's a lot of people considering the era.....although flying machines would have garnered an audience for sure.

pauline garneau said...

1929.11.05 SAR/ Flying & Services Ltd. Is this still owned by Dominion Airways?
If ownership has changed it will be necessary to make application in the usual manner.
1929.12 Flying & Services Ltd/DND. We have bought complete control of Dominion Aircraft Ltd and
intend to keep it alive.

pauline garneau said...

http://www.navcanada.ca/ContentDefinitionFiles/AboutUs/ANSHeritage/ANS_Heritage_EN.pdf



First control
tower
Saint-Hubert
Airport was
the country’s
first civilian
airport built
by the federal
government,
in 1930. It was
also the busiest
in the country. By the late 1930s,
Saint-Hubert airport served Montreal
and was at the heart of the Eastern air
service network as well as a thriving
centre for military aircraft. The airport
was originally intended for hydrogenfuelled
airships, with a small control
tower constructed atop its radio station.
The airships no longer flew, but three
airlines were now scheduling regular

pauline garneau said...

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&pq=7900+blvd+lasalle+&xhr=t&q=7900+Blvd+LaSalle+quebec&cp=24&rlz=1T4ADFA_enCA374CA401&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&biw=1488&bih=883&wrapid=tljp1311342392651012&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x4cc911a71209dd83:0xc079cac14e04d7ca,7900+Boulevard+Lasalle,+Verdun,+QC+H4H+1R4,+Canada&ei=PX8pToaSGpDPgAfT1NWRCw&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=title&resnum=1&sqi=2&ved=0CBQQ8gEwAA


7900 Lasalle Blvd. is near 7 th avenue

Guy Billard said...

Pauline,
It is facing the dam which is where I thought it was and about where the golf course was. Am I right ? The planes must have flown over Verdun at a low altitute depending on the direction of the wind and Verdunites coudn't miss them.. Untill we find some photos or maps, how can we find a photo of the Curtiss JN-4 airplane mentioned in the july 1930 Aviation Safety Network report. There must publications of old planes on line.
Guy

Les F said...

Les F said...

A Curtis JM-4,.......affectionatley referred to as a Jenny........
ght="349">

Les F said...

The Golf Course property started just west of Bishop-Power,...........the airport I doubt was as pointed out on that map, as the Bronx part of Lasalle was around in those days, & the point pinpointed by the letter A on the google map shows it as btwn 6th & 7th av. Which is across from the Parc Sanctuary,the actual Dam was more in line with 8th av a little towards the 9th av side. I lived on 9th av. and navigated the Dam many times,........later in the early 70's prior to moving out west here,my girlfriend & I lived btwn 6th & 7th on Lasalle blvd facing the rapids & the what is now a sanctuary park, there is a building that is like a Knight of Columbus or one of those type of organisations on Lasalle blvd on the river side that has been around for a long time too. I have a photo from my front gallery somewhere looking across thee street towards the same building.
It sounds like the airport was od a fair size,however if the dates are in fact around 1925-1930ish then I would think more people would remember this. It would be interesting to find out for sure & since we have found over the years several aerial shots of the dam,& I would think a shot of the airport would have been taken too ? What do you think ?

Les F said...

here is an old photo aerial showing the old Dam & part of the Bronx ,...too many trees for an airport in this area, so west of Bishop Power would most likely be better,unless they used what is now Lacharite Park running along Alepin ,this property would easily have accomodated an airfield, & coulld have supproted shops & hangars,.We also have to remember that just because a place had hangars,doesn't make them big , as one newspaper article pointes out they could keep these size planes in a garage, sans the wings..

Les F said...

and in this photo you are looking west towardds the golf course property,looks like a few trees here making landing & take off a 'bit tricky'..........lol

Les F said...

Les F said...

Les F said...

There would probably be a good source of information, the DuHamel family as I think tey lived in Lasalle for quite some time,the prsent day version of the family (who were all into racing I think) had some of the newer beautiful large homes on Lasalle Blvd, out near the Lasalle Drive in end of the road......?
Also maybe Mr Denis Gravel may have access to some old maps through the City of Lasalle ,that may show exactly where the airport was? Worth a shot even going to the old City Hall for Ville Lasalle I am sure they would have a map or maybe even photos ?

Guy Billard said...

Les,
This is an old photo of the dam and must have been taken prior to the exhistance of the LaSalle airport. Thanks for the photo and video of the Curtiss aircraft which I have downloaded for use with an article I am working on. Hopefully photos of the LaSalle airport will turn up sooner or later.
Guy

Guy Billard said...

I corresponded with Denis Gravel but has little information of the airport. But word is now around of our interest in the LaSalle airport and will snowball and hopefully bring results.
Guy

Tom q said...

Dear Guy/Les/Group: Your ongoing search for the Lasalle Airfield is getting more attention than just in the Verdun/Lasalle Area. I live across the river from Detroit, but grew up across the street from the DIL. "Screwball" Beurling was a boyhood hero, and I read up a lot on him. For instance, there's a funeral parlour across the street from St. Thomas More parish, I can't remember the name of it now. My Dad's wake was held there back in 1989. There were 4 or 5 eight-by-ten black and white photos of the big homecoming ceremony for Beurling at the Auditorium still on the walls! Many of the people in the current Air Force don't even know who the heck he was, and I proved it myself several times. We digress.

I contacted Transport Canada(1-800-305-2059) in Ottawa and spoke for 15 minutes with a charming lady named Diane. She informed me that TC’s records older than 25 years automatically get diverted to Archives Canada.
She also pointed out that she’d start a few inquiries on her own about this airfield, as she grew up in the Verdun-area as well. She’ll get back to us in 3 weeks or so.

I'm hoping this all pays out for us, Group. I'd like to go back and see this airport/airfield for myself! We have several of the "flying farmers" still left around my area, and they own and operate grass strips. Perhaps it was one of those?

Tom

Guy Billard said...

Tom,
Wow fantastic Tom, congratulation on your detective work which hopefully will pay off with more interesting information on the LaSalle Airport and which has been a dorrmant historical event..
Guy

Les F said...

Great stuff Tom thanks for that investigating for us.............. This airport is interesting for sure,my guess from what I've read in archived newspapers etc , is that this place had to be there from the 1920's until maybe 1931 ish ,is when the trail dies off.....Keep us informed,.it's very much appreciated.........

Les F said...

Well somebody was using it for transport anyway:
AMICUS No. 20277568
Monograph

NAME(S):*Canada. Ministère de la défense nationale. Section
géographique
TITLE(S): Montreal to Rimouski [Document cartographique] /
compiled and published by the Geographical Section,
G.S., Department of National Defence
PUBLISHER: [Ottawa] : the Section, 1931
DESCRIPTION: 1 carte en 3 coupures : coul. ; chacune 29 x 84 cm ou
moins

NOTES: Scale 1:253 440 (W 73°40'-W 68°00'/N 48°20'-N 45°20')
Comprend 6 cartons à l'échelle de 1:63 360 : Rimouski
airport ; Cap-de-la-Madeleine airport ; Fairchild
seaplane port ; St. Hubert airport ; Reid airport ;
LaSalle airport
CLASSIFICATION: LC Call no.: G3450

Jean-Marie Hachey said...

Good evening !

Here is a link to a map showing the LaSalle Airport

http://services.banq.qc.ca/sdx/cep/document.xsp?id=0002684812

Jean-Marie Hachey

Les F said...

Good find JMH. I was just searching the BNQ site,but I didn't come across this.. It looks like it is directly inline with the manmade island I believe was refereed to as the 'black bank' not many called it that in my days around there,but my dads era did. We have aerials showing the dam but not any of the airport yet, My Dad got his 'wings' flying piper-cubs out of Cartierville Airport,& I never heard mention of this Lasalle Airport,just shows we should have talked with our parents more.... So with this find of the map,perhaps some photos will follow,I did look through the 'Pistard Archives' but did not find anything related.
For other who are not familiar with the BNQ site,..here is the web address,where we have found countless photos & info over the years,.have a look some of you may like it.
http://www.banq.qc.ca/accueil/
Again great work JMH ..........and merci beaucoup

Guy Billard said...

Jean Marie,
Superbe et félicitation. The combined effort of MVC members has permitted us to make these magnificent discoveries. Next step are the photos. The description on the map shows Lachine not LaSalle. I have looked at a currant map and the airport was situated at the end of the long man made dike that diverted the water to the hydro dam and is called Gardner Island. The smaller Beaton island is just west of Gardner island. and the airport was situated about facing a rectangular formed by 14th street west to app. Riverside park and north to George street. This is a very rough estimate and subject to correction
Guy

Jean-Marie Hachey said...

Lovell Directories (1931-1932) show the following addresses for LaSalle Blvd in Ville LaSalle
to be even-numbered addresses :

7720 : Lachine Rapids Power House
7730 : Montreal Light Heat and Power Station
7900 :
Flying and Services Ltd
Dominion Aircraft Co Ltd
General Air Craft Builders Ltd

Rem. :
Even-numbered addresses are on the South side (River side) of LaSalle Blvd.

___

Source :
Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ)
http://bibnum2.banq.qc.ca/bna/lovell/src/1931-1932/4.Montreal_street_directory/L/110643_1931-1932_0359.pdf

___

Maybe there were two airfield facilities :
The « big » Lasalle Airport as shown in this map of 1931 :

http://services.banq.qc.ca/sdx/cep/document.xsp?id=0002684812

And a small airfield on the South side of LaSalle Blvd, close to the 7900 « installations ».


Jean-Marie Hachey

Les F said...

I am presently searching through aerial photos & with any luck maybe we can find an aerial shot of the Lasalle Airport,I am convinced that someone ,somewhere has a photo ?
Here is a brief couple of paragraphs from the site I'm on right now, however It may take me a bit to scour everything,and I do have some 'real life' things I have to do around here ,or else I will be the recipient of a frying pan to the back of my head for being on the computer too long, & not getting other stuff done..............hahahaha (I am painting the whole basement,and it 'd not doing so well on it's own,,,,,,lol
I will also post the web address in case any of you want to checkout the site too: http://airphotos.nrcan.gc.ca/hist_e.php
Because of this development, Canada today has one of the most comprehensive storehouses of aerial photographs in the world.

In 1925, the Interdepartmental Committee on Air Surveys (ICAS) and the National Air Photo Library (NAPL) were established to take charge of all federal non-military air-photo activities. Originally part of the Department of the Interior, they are now key components of the Centre for Topographic Information of Geomatics Canada, a part of the Earth Sciences Sector of Natural Resources Canada.

Until 1956, most photographic surveys were flown by the Royal Canadian Air Force. Since then, however, all aerial photographs used for federal mapping have been contracted to commercial air survey firms. The federal government initiates the bulk of aerial photography in Canada; the Interdepartmental Committee on Air Surveys (ICAS) supervises and determines, through a bidding process, which contractor will do the photography and sets forth the specifications to be followed. ICAS coordinates all federal aerial photography and works together with the provinces to align federal and provincial programs. ICAS prevents duplication, establishes priorities and, in general, ensures that maximum benefit is derived from each flight

Jean-Marie Hachey said...

Hi Les !

Thanks for the ref. :
http://airphotos.nrcan.gc.ca/hist_e.php


Here is what I obtained for Lasalle Airport :
Search : Lasalle / Quebec
Source :
atlas.nrcan.gc.ca

LaSalle Airport

Guy Billard said...

Jean-Marie,
Rien n'apparaît, nothing shows up. A map appears but disappears immediately.
Guy

Jean-Marie Hachey said...

Guy,

I’m not very familiar with multiply.com

I mistakenly edit my picture in diapo version.
(Diapo with one image pass very fast !!!)


I change it now for a photo option.

JMH

Les F said...

Hmmmmmmm Just like the Airport........hahahaha , I had the same problem. For something so blatantly pprinted on a map,I am still wondering why so few people have ever heard of it ? Very Strange indeed.