Oakland Airport (North Field): Naval Reserve Air Base – Oakland CA

Description

The Works Projects Administration (WPA) built the first hanger, runway and road for the Navy Reserve Air Base at the Oakland Municipal Airport (now the North Field of the Oakland International Airport).

Then, in 1940 the WPA authorized $237,000 for construction of a new hangar for the Naval Reserve Air Base.  The Port of Oakland only had to contribute $17,000 in materials (Tribune, 1940).  This was clearly part of the military buildup toward World War II, with Oakland airport only one of 24 in Northern California being funded by the federal government in 1941 (Tribune, April 1941).

In mid-1941, a further grant was announced by the federal government for $286,000 for drainage at the Naval Reserve (northern) end of the field, laying concrete for taxi strips for the Navy, paving of the road from Hangar 5 to the Navy hangar, and miscellaneous work on parking and fill (Tribune, August 31).

The Naval Reserve base can be seen in the distance at the very top of a 1950 aerial of the airport; there seem to be no other historic photos of it online, possibly because of security prohibitions.  The base was closed in the 1990s, along with the better known Alameda Naval Air Station.

Nonetheless, the structures and runways are still in use by commercial companies and they show up clearly in a satellite view of the Oakland Airport North Field.  We believe the WPA-build hangar is the current Hanger 9, because 7 and 8 are twins and Hangar 6 did not exist in 1950.

 

 

 

Source notes

"Development program for municipal airport told," Oakland Tribune, March 10, 1940, p.1.

"24 airports planned for N. California," Oakland Tribune, April 13, 1941, p. 9.

"Oakland airport gets extra funds," Oakland Tribune, August 31, 1941, p. 34.

 

 

 

Project originally submitted by Richard A Walker on July 9, 2020.

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Location Info


Old Earhart Road
Oakland, CA 94621

Coordinates: 37.73780651264439, -122.21832557678222

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