1946-58

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Posted with permission of Frank Tibbo

 

Streets of Gander, Part III - Streets in the former Residential Areas

by Frank Tibbo

Prior to the Town of Gander being built, people lived in several areas around the airport. They were referred to as the American Side, the Canadian Side, The Army Side, The RAF and the Station Area.

The American Side:

This area contained living quarters for the American military personnel, a 150-bed American hospital, a 300-seat theatre several hangers, and a fire hall/crash unit. The airport terminal presently occupies this location.

The following streets were located on the American Side:

Chestnut Road and Jewett Street were named for two of the first engineers who were responsible for the airport design and operations. Jewett, who was in charge, named a street Chestnut who in turn reciprocated and named one of the first streets Jewett.

Grant Avenue was named in honour of President General Ulysses Grant; Hull Street was named to honour Cordell Hull, an American senator appointed Secretary of State by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933. He was awarded the Nobel peace Prize in 1945; Lincoln Street was named in honour of US President Abraham Lincoln; Power Street was name such because there was a power plant at the end of the street; Roosevelt Street was named in honour of US President Franklin Roosevelt; Washington Avenue was called after US president George Washington; Wilkie Street; Wright Avenue was named to honour the Wright brothers.

 

The Canadian Side:

This was the section near the northeast side of Runway 14/32, known as Runway No. 1, and to the west side of the approach end of Runway 18, known as Runway No. 2. It was the location of a 100-bed RCAF Hospital (later the Sir Frederick Banting Memorial Hospital); a large drill hall built by the RCAF; a theatre; barracks for members of the RCAF personnel; administration offices; a theatre; fire hall and several hangars. It was also the only area where houses were built.

The streets on the Canadian Side: (Note: Explanations of why streets were named have been given where possible.

Chestnut Road connected the American and Canadian Sides; Churchill Street was named to honour Sir Winston Churchill; Elizabeth Avenue named for Princess Elizabeth; Foss Avenue was named after Group Captain R. H. Foss, the third commanding officer; George Street named in honour of King George VI; Godwin Street was named after a former RCAF Commanding Officer; John’s Street; Nyles Road; Pattison Road was named for Squadron Leader H. A. L. Pattison; Reside Street; Verrier Street; Well Road received its name because it was the road leading to a well.

 

The Army Side:

This was the section occupied by the various units of the Canadian Army. It consisted mainly of living quarters for the troops, a drill hall, a theatre and other military buildings. It was situated outside of Circular Road, which, as its name implies, circled the airport, and was slightly north and west of the approach to Runway 23 (known as Runway No. 4).

The following streets were on the Army Side:

Arms Street; Delano Avenue; Fleet Street; Hayden Avenue named for Rod Hayden, the first manager of the Shell Oil Company at the airport;  MacDonald Street; Page Street; Thompson Road was named for Lt./Col Thompson, the Commanding Officer of the PEI Highlanders in Gander from March 1942 to March 1943; Winston Avenue was named in honour of Sir Winston Churchill.

 

The RAF:

This section contained the headquarters for the RAF Ferry Command, Hangers 21 and 22. The Air Traffic Control Tower and weather offices were also located here along with several buildings for living accommodations. After the war the International Terminal, Hotel Jupiter and Hotel Saturn were located in this section. The RAF was sometimes referred to as  the "Beaver Centre".

The following streets were on the RAF:

Anderson Alley was called after Group Captain David F. Anderson, the Commanding Officer of the RAF Ferry Command; Bowhill Blvd. was named to honour Air Marshall Sir Frederick Bowhill, who was the Royal Air Force's air officer Commander-in-Chief; Marix Blvd was named for Air Vice Marshall Reggie G.L. Marix was the Deputy Commander of Ferry Command; Ratcliffe Row was named after Frank Ratcliffe who was in charge of the Communications section of RAF Ferry Command. He was killed when the Norseman aircraft, in which he was a passenger, crashed en route from Gander to Montreal. He is buried in the Commonwealth War Graves at Gander; Ross Avenue was named for Captain I.G. Ross of the British Overseas Airways Corporation who controlled the Ferry Command section until the first RAF Commanding Officer, Group Captain Cottle, assumed command on April 1, 1942.

 

Railroad Station area

This section was very close to the approach end of Runway 23 (known as Runway No. 4). The Administration Building, Railway Station, the Eastbound Inn and the Gander Inn, which contained hundreds of rooms, were located in this area. The two inns were build to accommodate ferry crews, there were occasions when more than 100 aircraft were on the ground in Gander waiting for suitable weather conditions before heading across the Atlantic.

Guthrie Street was named in honour of the second commanding officer of the base; McClure Street was first named Queen Street and later changed to McClure Street. He was the British Air Ministry official who instigated the "Gander Scheme," Walwyn Avenue was named after Sir Humphry Walwyn of the Newfoundland government; Woods Avenue was named for Sir Wilfred Woods, a commissioner of the Newfoundland government.;

 

Other Roads

Bomb Storage Road was parallel to Runway 09; Circular Road completely circled the airport; Deadman's Pond Road; Gander Lake Road is on the approach end of Runway 09; MacGillivary Mall; Piggery Road was near the RAF Side; Radio Range Road is off the approach end of Runway 27; Receiver Road is between the Canadian and the American side leading to the remote radio receivers site.

Contributed by Frank Tibbo

 

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