Occupations | Airplane & Auto Mechanic

Daniel Edison Moran, Jr.


Birthdate: 21 April 1905

Birthplace: Allegheny County, Pennsylvania

Occupation: Airplane & Auto Mechanic

Properties Owned:

Daniel Edison Moran, Jr. was not an early pioneer of Monrovia, a long time resident of Monrovia, nor was he active in civic affairs.  However, he does play a significant role in Monrovia history as on May 19, 1938, he flew the first airmail flight out of Monrovia Airport.  The airport, which shut down in 1953, was bordered on the north by  Falling Leaf (now Huntington Drive) and on the south by Duarte Road.  Originally, Shamrock Avenue on the west of the airport and Mountain Avenue on the east ran all they way down to Duarte Road.  Now the 210 Freeway bisects the area where the airport used to be.

The airport had begun in 1928, and Moran and his partner Wyman Ellis took over around 1935. Moran was an auto mechanic and had his own gas station/auto repair facility at 324 S. Myrtle Avenue  (Lots 13 & and the north 46.7 feet of Lot 14,  Block B of the Town of Monrovia Subdivision).  He sold the gas station to lease the airport with Wyman Ellis who also had a gas station in Alhambra which he sold.

In Jack Irwin’s book Monrovia Airport Alias Monrovia Flying Field 1928-1953 (54) he describes Daniel Moran this way: “Dan was the more serious of the two and worked at the airport every day.  He took care of the books and the bushiness end as well as helping out as a mechanic.  Although he wasn’t one to joke around with, he was a nice fellow and very well liked.  Dan was a very good auto mechanic and actually opened a auto repair shop in one of the hangers.  Since more people had cars that airplanes, the auto repair business kept them busy.”

Moran and Ellis only ran the field for a few years.  How they lost the business seems to be in question, but Jack Irwin tells the story that a customer, Al Blackburn, was given a repair bill of $2,000 for repairs on his plane.  Though a wealthy man from Ohio, he felt he was being overcharged, so he went to Citizen Bank who controlled the property and bought it from the back for $12,000, which meant that Moran and Ellis were now out of business since their lease had expired and they didn’t have the money to buy the property.

Moran and his wife Beaulah who had married in 1926, lived at 421 Wild Rose Avenue from no later than 1926 until they moved then moved up to Spokane, Washington, sometime after 1940.  I found a 1949 directory entry for them at N5017 Lincoln, Spokane, Washington, indicating that Daniel had become manager of Western Sky Ways, Inc.  John Irwin states that Daniel Moran later worked as a maintenance inspector for the Civil Aeronautics Administration (57).

Daniel Edison Moran, Jr. was born on April 21, 1905, in Pennsylvania to Daniel Edison Moran and Emma Mathilda Prager, who had also both been born in Pennsylvania.  Both had contracted diseases in their youth which left them unable to hear.  Because they were so young when they lost their hearing, their speech skills were also affected.  They married in 1901 and started out farming in Spring, Crawford County, Pennsylvania.  All five of their children were born there, but census records showed they moved to Conneaut, Ashtabula, Ohio, where Daniel Senior worked as a machinist.

The entire family moved to Monrovia in the early 1920s, and, except for Daniel Junior and his wife, Emma and Daniel Senior, Carolyn, Raymond P. , and Victor L.,  lived down the street at 301 Wild Rose Avenue on the north east corner of Canyon and Wild Rose.  The house no longer exists, but Sanborn Fire Insurance maps show the house on a large lot.

John Irwin’s book says that Daniel and Beulah had a son, but I haven’t found evidence of one yet.
They moved down to Alameda, California, and he died there on January 7, 1980.  His wife died in Stockton, California, on March 29, 1999.

Daniel Senior was born in New York July 15, 1876.  He and his wife Emma had both had childhood illnesses which left them deaf.  Because of the early onset of the deafness, they didn't speak either.  They received a good education for the deaf at Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb and Blind (now Gallaudet University) in Pennsylvania where they probably met.  Daniel Senior was a painter for most of the time he lived in Monrovia, though he also helped out at the Monrovia Airport.  The 1930 census and some of the city directories indicate that at times he was living apart from his wife.  One address was 319 E. Olive Ave., a boarding house where his daughter Florence later lived.  Another address where he lived was at 327 S. California Avenue where his son Raymond and Raymond's wife were living.  Daniel Edison Moran, Senior died on July 25th, 1947, in Monrovia, and his wife Emma died December 28, 1944.

Their second child Carolyn Moran was born November 25th, 1907, and worked as a servant for a private family (Census Records 1930).  She married Howard Smith in 1939 and on January 22, 2003, in Sunland, California.

Raymond P. was born  May 30,  1909 in Spring, Crawford, Pennsylvania .  He seems to have stayed in Monrovia the longest, appearing in the 1942 Monrovia telephone directory as living with his wife Vivian at 327 S. California Ave. He died March 30, 1976, in Pleasant Hill, Contra Costa, County, California.

Victor Leroy was born September 28th, 1911 in Pennsylvania, married a woman named Beth and seemed to follow his oldest brother to Spokane where he also worked as a mechanic.  Before moving to Spokane, they lived at 503 Wild Rose Avenue.  He died on June 19, 2001, in Mesa, Arizona.

Florence W. was born in 1915 and moved out of the family home after 1930.  Resident directories for Monrovia gives her address at 319 E. Olive Ave. in 1935 and 1939 but no occupation.  I was unable to get any more information on Florence.

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