Days Gone By - stories from the past

Did you know that in 1932 the Birmingham Municipal Airport was the only airport in the South that received an A-T-A rating [vintage photographs]

The Birmingham Airport opened in 1931. At the time of the opening a Birmingham to Los Angeles flight took 19 hours.  It was dedicated June 1, 1931.

In 1932, “a spectacular air carnival, featured by a night air attack on the city of Birmingham and numerous unusual and thrilling air events,” took place at the Birmingham Municipal Airport on June3-4-5. The three day carnival of events was in celebration of the first anniversary of the dedication of the airport and the award of its A-T-A rating, the highest given by the Department of Commerce. At the time the Birmingham Municipal Airport was the only airport in the South that received an A-T-A rating and was only one of the three in the country on which the honor had been conferred. (The Florence Times May 6, 1932)

Birmingham Municpal airport 1931Black and white photograph of three men with a truck from Pennsylvania Central Air Conditioner Company in front of the first terminal at Birmingham Municipal Airport (courtesy Birmingham Public Library)

Birmingham Muncipal airport Eastern airlines bplonline

Black and white photograph of the Birmingham Municipal Airport with Eastern Air Lines airplane on the tarmac. (courtesy Birmingham Public Library)

The Birmingham Airport opened with pomp, ceremony and the greatest air show that the city had ever seen. Hundreds came to witness the Birmingham debut of commercial passenger service with a stop by American Airways along its Atlanta to Fort Worth route.

Birmingham_Airport_interior_viewBlack and white photograph of Birmingham Airport’s interior showing the Eastern Air Lines ticket counter and a sign for the coffee shop. (courtesy Birmingham Public Library Feb 5,1847 Charles Preston Photographs, Collection 98)

Bob_Hope_and_Doris_Day_at_the_airportThe photograph of the interior of the airport is probably the view of Birmingham Airport that Doris Day and Bob Hope probably saw when they arrived in Birmingham on April 22, 1949. Bob Hope was promoting his ‘Bob Hope Radio Show and Dors Day came with him. While in town, Doris Day attended the showing of her new Warner Brothers movie “My Dream is Yours” at the Alabama Theater. They also visited Vulcan while in Birmingham. (courtesy Birmingham Public Library)

The postcard below shows the administration and terminal buildings. It covered 315 acres and could accommodate 300 to 500 planes and was five miles northeast of the heart of the city and cost approximately one million dollars.

Birmingham’s Million Dollar Airport, Birmingham, Alabama ca. 1931

"Birmingham's Million Dollar Airport, Birmingham, Alabama

birmingham municipal airport

1930’s postcard printed above – written on back: “Birmingham Municipal Airport, located five miles Northeast of the heart of the city, was dedicated June 1st, 1931. It has three hard surfaced run-ways, all being 4,500 ft. or more in length. The Airport covers 432 acres, and is 610 degrees above sea level; is irregular in shape, with sod all over, and has underground drainage.’, Ehler’s News Co., Birmingham, Ala”

On July 16, 2008, the Birmingham Airport Authority Board of Directors approved the airports renaming for Birmingham Civil Rights Activist Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth to  Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport


Birmingham Municipal Airport located first in Ensley

First Night Flight in the World took place in Montgomery

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS – Settlement: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 2)

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

Liked it? Take a second to support Alabama Pioneers on Patreon!