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Old Posted Jul 26, 2012, 10:26 PM
BifRayRock BifRayRock is offline
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Originally Posted by ethereal_reality View Post
Below: Another photograph from Rogers Field (I'm trying to piece this all if I'm mistaken please let me know).


This is the offices of Mercury Air Lines (founded by, of all people, Cecil B. DeMille in 1919).
The thing that confuses me a bit, is that the upper portion of the sign reads 'de Mille Field No.2'
Have seen references to Chaplin Field, Rogers Field, Mercury Field and DeMille Field. Many sources imply that these names refer to the same location, i.e., West of Fairfax and North of Wilshire, but at different times. This seems accurate only to the extent it refers to the same general vicinity. Arguably "Rogers" was the last name standing, but just as Hamburgers and later May Co. was subsumed by the Macy name, many labels apply to the same thing or place.

Sydney Chaplin, Chuck's brother, appears to have been on the southwest corner of Wilshire and Fairfax (previously named Crescent Ave) with his Chaplin Aircraft Co. in 1919. He formed this company with Emory Rogers. Chaplin's Field or Aerodrome later became Rogers Field or Rogers Airport. One source states Rogers bought Chaplin out in 1923 and "opened the Rogers Airport at the south east corner of Western and El Segundo." Needless to say, the El Segundo address would have been adjacent to Mines Field (later to become LAX) and an historical hotbed of aviation activity. But the statement does not explain the Chaplin-Rogers "situation" at Fairfax and Wilshire, except inferentially. Another source provides far more insight with its extensive list of California airfields, including map coordinates. The notes for Chaplin Field indicate Chaplin sold to Rogers. Emory Rogers died in Nov. '21 crash, but his wife continued the business until April 1923. As explained below, it may be more than happenstance that there were several Rogers airports, just like DeMille's. The Western-El Segundo location may have been called Rogers Western Ave. Airport. The 1923 directory lists Rogers Aircraft Inc., "Wilshire Blvd at Fairfax." JB Webster Mgr. Mention of the names DeMille or Mercury, at least in connection with the aviation and that address seems absent.

It seems safe to say that DeMille's No. 2 was on the northwest area of Fairfax and Wilshire - coexisting with Chaplin's Aerodrome to the south of Wilshire. DeMille's efforts evidently predated Chaplin's. Unclear whether it was by days or months. One source indicates DeMille's No. 2 extended north to Beverly Ave., so that it would have been across from the Farmer's Market/Grove. As suggested below, the "DeMille" and "Mercury" names were attached to various nearby fields/airstrips. Presuming Mercury was operated as a profit making enterprise, one might also assume that having a great number of "fields" or "airports" would be good for business - in so many ways. Same with the DeMille name. The quote below indicates three separate locations for DeMille/Mercury operation. Two of them would have been so close together that a trip between them might have been just as quick via bicycle. Since the source omits the ubiquitous DeMille No 2 at Fairfax and Wilshire, one wonders whether the Wilshire/La Cienega is erroneous. Likewise, other sources indicate Mercury had a field in Altadena and one presumes the source below is referring to that address when it mentions "a third up in Pasadena."

Perhaps the most definitive source, states that "Emory Rogers bought DeMille's holdings in March 1921 and renamed the field." Thus, DeMille's Field No. 2 became Rogers Field No.1 and thus DeMille and Chaplin interests fell under the Rogers No. 1 umbrella.

Rogers Field No. 2 was the product of Emory Rogers merger with Pacific Aero Corp, in 1923 and was located at 127th St & Western Ave.

Rogers Field No. 3 was located at or near 39th St & Angeles Mesa Dr (SE of #2).

DeMille's Field No. 1 was established on the southwest corner of Melrose Avenue and Crescent Ave (later renamed Fairfax).
This location was apparently short lived as DeMille's "holdings" moved to the Miracle Mile location of Wilshire and Fairfax in 1918/1919.

DeMille's Field No. 2 ,again, was on the Northwest corner of Wilshire and Fairfax.

DeMille's Field No. 3 was most likely in Altadena at the present location of the Altadena Country Club and according to the source, seldom used. Some evidence is said to exist of DeMille's consideration of the third site being in Glendale, west of Central Ave at W Mountain St. This information is derived from the comprehensive list of airports found here:

"De Mille’s ambitious plan for Mercury was to offer regular flights up and down the coast from San Francisco to San Diego and points in between. This never quite came about, but Mercury did have regular flights and even their own airfields, one at the corner of Wilshire and La Cienega, another at Melrose and Fairfax and a third up in Pasadena. Ironically, had De Mille and his investors held on to their landing fields just a few more years, they would have stood to have made a fortune, not necessarily in air travel, but in the land upon which the fields sat."
"Cecil B. DeMille founded the Mercury Aviation Company ( aka Mercury Air Lines ) in 1919 which was one of the first American airlines to carry air freight and passengers commercially on regularly scheduled runs. This company was one of the world's first ( if not the first ) scheduled airline with multiple destinations (5 months before Dutch KLM inauguration). the company flew Junkers-Larsen JL-6 and had scheduled flights to to Santa Catalina Island, San Diego, and San Francisco. Over 25,000 passengers flew Mercury as transportation, charter, and sightseeing flights during their two-years of operations. Then never had one injury.

In August of 1920, Mercury Aviation bought its first factory new plane (JL-6) from Junkers, and it was delivered by famed WWI ace, Eddie Rickenbacker to DeMille Field #2. In May 1921 that plane flew its first scheduled flight for Mercury from L.A. to San Diego. The public was not yet ready to embrace the idea of using aircraft for serious traveling and his airline never became a viable business."
1925(?)USC digital


From this 1920 perspective, DeMille/Mercury would be to the north of Wilshire and Chaplin/Rogers to the south (with the striped hangars)
"Aerial view of Fairfax and Wilshire in 1920 showing undeveloped land with many oil derricks. In the lower part of the photograph is Rogers airport." (Could the path or parallel rail line in the foreground be San Vicente?)

Source lists these images as "Venice." First image appears to bear markings: "Wilshire and LaBrea 1920." Suspect the better reference would have been Wilshire and "Fairfax", given the background. Second image is identified as Rogers Field while third is Venice. Per above photo, striped hangers suggests these photos are labeled incorrectly and should be Wilshire and Fairfax locale, Rogers Field.

In 1918, W.O Timm "opened a shop in Venice, Cal., called Pacific Aeroplane and Supply Co. - designed/built special 6 passenger twin-engine biplane called the "Pacific Hawk" for rugged commercial use." Timm designed many aircraft, including the plane used in the '1965 Jimmy Stewart film, Flight of the Phoenix

Source identifies this image as "Mercury Field."

Previously posted image of "Pony Blimp." Source identifies image as "Rogers Field."


Last edited by BifRayRock; Mar 26, 2017 at 2:06 AM.
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