Timothy L. PfluegerAmerican (San Francisco, California, 1892 - 1946, San Francisco, California)
Nathan Larson, Architectural DelineatorSwedish (1892 - 1941)
J. R. Miller & T. L. Pflueger, Architects(Active 1920 - 1938)
Bird's-eye view of the proposed airport at China Basin, San Francisco
From the mid-1920s until his death in 1946, Timothy L. Pflueger was a leading Bay Area architect and patron of the arts who was often consulted on major city planning issues. In 1928, capitalizing on San Francisco's standing as a major port, developers sought to make the city the leading West Coast transportation hub. Pflueger proposed a centralized transportation system that would make use of the existing ports and railway and include a new airport sited at China Basin, an undeveloped waterfront area south of the proposed Bay Bridge.
Pflueger envisioned the China Basin area as a three-tiered transportation center, with the docks on the water, the rail system just inland, and a new airport situated between the train station and the city limits. Since the field of aviation was very new in the first half of the 20th century, proximity to an airport facilitated both the transportation of cargo and the branding of San Francisco as a modern, progressive city.
Ultimately, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors settled on Mills Field near San Bruno as the site of the airport because it offered plenty of room to expand and was convenient to the Bayshore Highway. Nevertheless, this early proposal by Pflueger captures the designer's excitement and pride in his booming hometown, which he was playing an integral role in shaping.