Dear June



Thanks for all the info re the HMB area. I spent many hours roaming the
airport grounds as a kid. You may not be aware that the airport was
often used as an alternate to SF Intl when SF Intl was fogged in. It
was quite an event to see a DC-6 or DC-7 land on that very short runway.
Some of the airlines kept equipment at the airport to handle passengers
when needed.

There were a number of old buildings that were left over from the WW 2
period. They were abandoned and I used to wander through them. They
were at the North end of the airport just off the hwy.

We used to buy produce from japanese farmers who farmed the many little
canyons. Strawberries were a very popular purchase.

We lived in SF in the Castro Street area and every weekend we’d drive to HMB
so my Dad could work on his airplane. He was rebuilding one in a little
shack at the south end of the airport. I hated the ride down Devils
Slide! It really scared me as a kid. I was always greatly relieved
after we passed it.

My dad spent a great deal of time working on the rebuilding of his
plane. He manually rebuilt the wings. The fusilage of the airplane was
kept outside waiting for him to complete the wings. One day, the
airport management decided to do a controlled burn of the weeds and
accidentally burned up his fusilage! He was heartbroken! He was able
to sell the beautiful wings to another guy who came to pick them up in
his truck. Just as he was pulling out on to the hwy, he was broadsided
by another car! The wings were totally destroyed. I guess they were
never meant to fly.

The airport was managed by a Frank Sylvestri. He operated a maintenance
facility too.

I find it hard to believe that the area is so built up now. Having a
Ritz Carlton there really blows my mind! I always thought the weather
was terrible…it always seemed cold and overcast.

John Flynn
Downers Grove, Illinois