Bob Hope Airport's 80th Birthday Celebration

Yesterday afternoon Bob Hope Airport brought out the cake and balloons to celebrate its 80th birthday beneath a tent set up in the parking lot. Invitees included local dignitaries, police departments, the Bob Hope family, and every single airport employee, who had to attend in rotation to keep the airport running.

A new banner had been placed across the front of the airport, in addition to a beautiful indoor basrelief which was installed in February. The street signs are being changed to The Bob Hope Airport. The name was officially changed in 2003 after Bob Hope's passing.

Historical photographs were on display with famous aviators and aviatrixes like Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart. Also on the tables were programmes from the 1930 dedication of United Airport, a three day extravaganza of airplane races, dogfights, bombers, blimps, gliders, concerts and dancing. Oh, and a balloon bursting competition by Army and Navy pursuit planes. That I would have liked to see.

The airport was opened in 1930 as United Airport. From the Programme,

America's model airport is now open to all branches of Aviation, paved runways 300 feet wide and 3,500 feet long permit take-off in all directions...the airport is particularly free from surrounding obstructions and practically free from fog....Make the United your Southern California headquarters.

In 1940, as part of the war effort, Lockheed purchased and expanded the airport, renaming it Lockheed Air Terminal. An airport authority was established in 1978 by Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena to purchase the airport, according to the airport's website. The airport police department is made up of officers from those three cities. Bob Hope Airport now serves 5 million passengers a year.

Victor Gill, the first speaker at the anniversary event, did the usual housekeeping of thanking everyone and spoke about his dream of the airport becoming a transportation hub, with rail and buses making cars unnecessary. He then proceeded to load down the following speaker, Frank Quintero, with armloads of congratulatory certificates, commendations, and declarations.

Quintero's introduction of Bob Hope's son, Kerry, mentioned the family's philanthropy not only towards the airport, but the entire city of Burbank. Kerry Hope mentioned that the airport shared a birthday with his mother, her 101st. He brought a hush to the room when he said he knew that his dad was looking down on us all that day and smiling.