"Old Gander" Genealogical Project
This site has a section dedicated to the identification
of the former residents of "Old Gander",
who they were, the companies they worked for and where they lived.
To see this section and to perhaps help make it better for future generations,
please click here.
(updated 05 October 2021)
Introduction to this website
In 1934 Gander did not existed except as trees and barren bog on a plateau above Gander Lake. Only 20 years later, in 1954, it was the largest and probably busiest aerodrome in the world. Planes went through it to New York, Zurich, London, Berlin, Shannon, Tel Aviv and we checked on the clocks in the terminal to see to what time zone they were headed. Our buddies were from all over in the world. Without knowing it, people from Gander became cosmopolitan.
But most of the people who built Gander in such a magnificent manner were generally ordinary men from all over Newfoundland - without their families - who came to a place first called Hatties Camp. The wages were good, the work was back-breaking, most of it was manual but all was done in record time. In a way therefore, Gander was not cosmopolitan at all but rather like any outport town, with the values and traditions of self reliance and community spirit, transported into the wilderness.
During the Second World war, the friendly military occupation of Gander left its mark on the people, right down to the architecture of their first homes, schools, stores and churches.
Without realizing it, because Gander was Gander, we became citizens of the world, while keeping our small town values. Quite a place.
----------------------------------------------------------Special thanks go to a number of people, notably my late father who started work in Gander in 1940, to the late Mr Fred Smeaton who sent me quite a number of old photographs, Faye Raynard of Boston for her "Faye's pages" and to Darrell Hillier who has done much research, especially in Memorial University files, concerning primarily the wartime period.
If you have something concerning Gander you think merits publication but you have no place to put it, please let me know. To contact me or one of the other contributors, please use the address below. You will have to change the "at" in the address to "@" (required to prevent spamming).