Alum Rock Airport

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Alum Rock Airport
LocationAlum Rock, California
Coordinates37°21′55″N 121°50′12″W / 37.365233°N 121.836727°W / 37.365233; -121.836727Coordinates: 37°21′55″N 121°50′12″W / 37.365233°N 121.836727°W / 37.365233; -121.836727
Direction Length Surface
ft m
unknown 1,800 549 grass

The Alum Rock Airport was an early airport in the town of Alum Rock, California. It was in an area now in the city limits of San Jose near the intersection of Alum Rock Avenue and Capitol Avenue. The airport was established in 1919 by Reserve Lieutenant Johnny Johnston after returning from World War I. Much of the early aerial photography of the then-rural Santa Clara Valley, now better known as Silicon Valley, was taken on flights from the Alum Rock Airport.[1]

A 1936 edition of the federal Airport Facility Directory (A/FD) described the Alum Rock Airport as having one runway of 1,800 feet (550 m), a hangar with "San Jose" painted on the roof (to help pilots navigate), and facilities to service aircraft.[2]

The events in the decline of the airport are not clearly documented. A lawsuit by neighbors in 1928 eventually led to relocation of the operation. Johnston was killed in a crash of an air mail flight in 1932 at age 34. The airport was still listed as existing in the Alum Rock location in the 1936 A/FD.[1][2]

Today remnants of the airport are visible in suburban city streets of San Jose's Alum Rock district. A minor residential street called Pala Avenue is located approximately at the original runway. The oddly-named cross streets, Avenues A, B and C, are believed to be named for lettered airport Taxiways A, B and C they were constructed upon.[1][3]

Air transportation for that vicinity today is served by Reid-Hillview Airport (established 1937) and San Jose International Airport (established as San Jose Municipal Airport in 1945).


  1. ^ a b c Thompson, Judy (October 2006). "An Airport on Alum Rock Avenue? Really? You betcha! Avenue B marks the spot". New Neighborhood Voice. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
  2. ^ a b "1936 Airport Facility Directory" (JPEG). US Government. 1936. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
  3. ^ Thompson, Judy (2006-10-08). "Alum Rock Airport". New Neighborhood Voice. Retrieved 2009-08-10.

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