These days, building a community airport may not be that big a deal. But when the Vernon airport officially opened in 1931, most of the town turned out.
A video of that momentous event has been released by the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives and it is generating a lot of attention.
“The clip has been getting some quite positive attention, both from locals and tourists familiar with the Vernon area who are interested to see this almost unrecognizable footage of the city - for example, the lack of development on Middleton Mountain - and from plane and machinery enthusiasts around the world,” said Gwyn Evans, GVMA community engagement coordinator.
“The video has even been shared as far away as the U.K. It is wonderful to think that this fascinating little clip has struck a chord with individuals that far away, especially during this time when positive distractions are a blessing.”
The video was created from 35 mm black and white film that Vernon historian and videographer Francois Arsenault had to send the footage to Ontario to be converted. The larger format is indicative of being produced by professionals and the opening credits name Vancouver Motion Pictures for the photography.
“It is extraordinary quality,” said Arseneault who also operates a Youtube channel featuring vintage footage. “And it is unbelievably rare.”
The airport video shows officials making speeches and numerous now-vintage aircraft landing and taking off with crowds watching.
Since the video was released on the GVMA Youtube page, there have been numerous comments and Arseneault is thrilled by the amount of information pouring in.
“Several of the aircraft have been identified now. We have identified seven of them so far, but there are still a few more that need to be identified,” he said. “Their histories are quite fascinating, especially the big Ford Tri-motor.”
Arseneault has also been able to research the outcome of the aircraft in the video.
“Several of them crashed within four or five years. Flying was dangerous back then,” he said. “One of the little biplanes, AGK, is currently in England right now being rebuilt. This film has raised a lot of eyebrows in the hardcore historical circles for aircraft. A lot of people are really excited about this film.”