Cecil DeMille was not only a celebrated movie director who founded the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences but was passionate about aviation.  Inspired by the 1910 Dominguez Air Meet along with Sydney Chaplin, half-brother of Charlie Chaplin, established the first scheduled commercial flights in the world.   
 
DeMille built his first airfield, DeMille Field No. 1,  in 1918, located on the southwest corner of Melrose and Crescent Avenues.  His company, Mercury Aviation or Mercury Air Lines, was founded the next year. It offered regularly scheduled runs for freight and passengers. DeMille
soon added DeMille Field No. 2, moving Mercury to the northwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue (then Crescent Avenue).  Both automobiles and airplanes could refuel at the airfield’s gas station.   Surplus WWI Jennys were available for sightseeing trips and charter flights.
 
In 1920, a new Junkers aircraft was added to Mercury’s inventory –  delivered to DeMille Field by flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker.  The company began scheduled flights the next year to Santa Catalina Island, San Diego, and San Francisco.  Newspapers noted that the first passenger flight from New York to Los Angeles landed at the DeMille Field.  Despite being the ‘first’, Mercury was not profitable.  Flying was in its embryo stage and not well supported by the public.  As a result, Mercury shut its doors in 1922.
Across Wilshire from DeMille Airfield No. 2, Sydney Chaplin, Charlie’s business manager and former actor, established Chaplin Airfield in 1919.  The Syd Chaplin Aircraft Corporation advertised that it “maintained a fleet of the newest Curtis one and two-passenger aeroplanes, large shops with complete equipment and hangars for our own ships as well as those belonging to business firms and individuals.”  One year later, with little business, Chaplin sold the enterprise to one of his partners, Emory R. Rogers and Rogers Field was launched. Considered one of the largest airports in the West, the field was offered to the City of Los Angeles as a municipal airport.
 
Neither DeMille nor Rogers Fields disappeared from street maps by 1931. 
​For more information and images:
        https://miraclemilela.com/the-miracle-mile/aviation-history-of-the-miracle-mile/

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