Up until a recent renovation at the Long Beach Airport, underneath the carpet a series of beautiful floor tile mosaics were buried for decades. The floor tile mosaics were designed as part of the Southern California Art Project of the Works Project Administration in the late 30s and early 40s. Some of the mosaics have been visible on the staircase and in front of the upstairs restaurant, but the remainder of mosaic tile was covered over by carpet for decades. On Sunday, the airport and newly expanded concourse were open to the public, without a boarding pass, for an open house and tours. My husband and I decided to check it out, and I was especially interested in the part of the project that involved the historic preservation of the original art moderne/ streamline moderne style Daughtery Field terminal building. The design of the outdoor improvements and expansion are very nice, but my favorite part of the open house was by far the mosaic tile floors. I also liked the vintage travel posters on the second floor, featuring aviation from 1910s through the 1940s. A large map of the western hemisphere showing old airline routes occupies a vast section of the original concourse floor. Some of the mosaic designs highlight key features of Long Beach from the first half of the twentieth century, the shoreline, shipping, oil, aviation and the telephone. Unfortunately, there were once wall murals that accompanied the floor mosaics, but according to local historian, Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, the murals were painted over in 2005 and could not be recovered.
We are planning to redo our patio area out back and after admiring all the mosaic floors at the airport, I am inspired to add some decorative mosaics somewhere into the design.