Control Tower Newark Airport January 1938

Control Tower , Newark airport January 1938

This photo is an Associated Press Photo taken in early 1938. Press photos were generally well circulated and oftentimes repeatedly published. I had never seen this photo before and the early aviation scene appealed to me. The newspaper that utilized the photo attached the article that they published on the back of the picture. The article mentions three photos. I only have one.

The photo was taken in what is now Building One at Newark Liberty International Airport. The Newark Preservation and Landmarks Committee had their annual meeting there not long after the Port Authority had finished a restoration of the building. At that time we were allowed to climb into the control room. It wasn’t very big.

In this photo we see TWA aircraft on the tarmac. The two huge dials are for wind direction and wind velocity. The Sunday Star of 01/06/1938 had this to say:

“How traffic jams are avoided at one of the nations busiest airports, Newark, N.J., which serves the New York area is seen in the picture(s) taken as the men in the airport and Department of Commerce “(forerunner of the FAA) “dispatching offices went about their daily jobs in a light fog. Between 250 and 300 planes arrive and depart daily from the port and the dispatchers on many occasions have the big airliners stacked up to 10,000 feet at 500 or even 1,000-foot levels waiting for a chance to move down. Occasionally bad weather at near-by airports force planes to detour to Newark with scanty supplies of gasoline, and when this happens a complete reshuffling of schedules is necessary.”

” At the upper right, Operator Gordon Hamilton directs by radiophone communication the take-offs and landings of radio-equipped planes, while Chris Rauscher records the movements of of planes from the port and relays information to and from the tower to the office below, where flight information is charted.”

The article continues to describe the photos which I do not have.

Chief Operator W.J. Conrad and Operator Mike Murphy (picture at left) are shown communicating with a plane not equipped with radio which is approaching the airport. Red and green lights are flashed from the portable traffic control signal which is held by Murphy outside the control tower”

” In the lower picture, John Huber, manager of the traffic-control office, is seated at the map on which he keeps track of all air traffic in his area, fair weather or foul, by means of markers. Each one indicates the location of a plane entering or leaving the airport district and they are moved every 15 minutes to conform with progress made by the various flights.”

While I wish I had copies of the additional photos, the descriptions are full enough to imagine what one is not seeing.


6 thoughts on “Control Tower Newark Airport January 1938

  1. Thanks so much. I live in Dallas, Texas, but am a history buff and my daughter and son in law are in Newark, NJ. I have visited them many times over the past 8 years, She went to law school at NYU. And that us where they met. But my daughter is a Texas girl– 100%


    1. I’m also in Newark. Interesting that your daughter and son-in-law chose Newark as their home. I hope they’ve shown you some good things up here. Yes, it’s a long way from Texas by any yardstick. Stay safe and we’ll.


  2. This comment actually belongs on a post from 2915, but I am leaving it here because I wasn’t sure if you go back that far in checking for new comments. I saw your entry on Hahne’s (the book published in 1911) and it was mentioned that only part of the book was put on this blog. Would you know if a photo of the merry-go-round that was located near the toy department was included in the book, or if one exists anywhere else? I have been trying to find a photo for several years, but to no avail. The merry go round was part of the 1901 store and was removed some time in the late 1960s-early 1970s. Also, I am curious as to what might have happened to the merry-g-round. Any information would be much appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read this!


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