AKA: United States Navy (USN), Naval Air Station Terminal Island, Terminal Island, CA; United States Navy (USN), Reeves Field, Terminal Island, CA

Structure Type: built works - infrastructure - transportation structures; built works - military buildings

Designers: Heitschmidt and Matcham, Architects (firm); Earl Theodore Heitschmidt (architect); Charles Ormrod Matcham Sr. (architect)

Dates: constructed 1935-1936

Terminal Island, Los Angeles, CA

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Terminal Island, officially named in 1918, is a muddy/sandy island located in southern Los Angeles County, half of which belongs to the City of Los Angeles (San Pedro) and half to the City of Long Beach. A 410-acre civilian airstrip known as "Allen Field," opened on the island in 1927, although the US Navy, saw, early on, the island's value as a port, seaplane launch site and airfield. As military historian Mark Denger has written: "The field itself consisted of three paved runways (the largest being 4,200 feet long), a large seaplane ramp, and several hangars and other buildings. The U.S. Navy began its use of Allen Field almost from the very beginning. In 1927 a Naval Air Reserve Training Facility was established there. With the U.S. Naval Reserve Training Camp located across the harbor at the Submarine Base in San Pedro, it was an ideal location. With its large seaplane ramp, the airfield at Terminal Island soon became the primary operating base for seaplanes assigned to ships of the Pacific Fleet." (See Mark Denger, "Historic California Posts: Naval Air Station, Terminal Island," California State Military Museum,Accessed 08/10/2011.) The US Navy took possession of Allen Field in 1935, and renamed it the "Naval Air Base San Pedro" the following year. The Naval Reserve Air Training Facility became a significant flight training school during 1942; these training duties were transferred to the Naval Air Station Los Alamitos in 1943. Following this move, the Navy downgraded the NAB Terminal Island to become "Naval Air Station Terminal Island" in 1943, although a great deal of building work occurred there between 1943-1945. As a NAS, it served as a flight-test and Pacific theatre shipping facility for planes produced by the Lockheed and Vultee manufacturing facilities in nearby Long Beach. The Long Beach Naval Station, founded in 1941, occupied about half of Terminal Island, adjacent to the Naval Air Base San Pedro (aka Reeves Field). NAS San Pedro (Reeves Field) was decommissioned in 1947, although planes from the Long Beach Naval Station used its runways for about forty years following its official closure. The architecture firm of Heitschmidt and Matcham designed several projects on Terminal Island for the US Navy between 1943-1944.

PCAD id: 17228