Today it would probably be hard to imagine that people used to go to an airport to watch the airplanes take off and land . However, in the early days of commercial aviation people would flock to the airport , often paying a nominal fee to observe the airplanes. These airport excursions would also provide an opportunity to view celebrities close up. Among these celebrities, but by no means a definitive list, were the likes of Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh and Fiorello LaGuardia .
With the opening of LaGuardia Airport, in December 1939, five of the seven airlines at Newark Airport eventually left New Jersey and set up shop in New York. Against the background of this existential struggle it is understandable that the Newark Commissioners (the predecessors to today’s Council) would deem it worthwhile to host an air show.
This ticket on view here was never used. Take a brief moment to examine the ticket. The background shows the Art Deco Administration Building which was opened in 1935. Now on National Register of Historic Places this terminal building is a seminal structure from the early days of US aviation. In front of the terminal is an early passenger airplane.
In less than three months we would be at war. The military would arrive shortly there after (1942) and take over the airport , effectively ending civilian aviation at Newark Municipal Airport until 1946. This hiatus provided a clean break from Newark’s origins as a small pioneering municipal airport and the International Airport it grew into after the war.