Curb cuts and former driveways mark the now abandoned town of Surfridge near LAX.

The newly revamped Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) at LAX is considered the “crown jewel” of a $4.1 billion dollar modernization at the airport, the largest public-works project in LA history, according to the developers. Opening despite delays and unfinished areas, TBIT terminal will be on public view this Saturday, June 22 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. as part of LAX Appreciation Day, and opens officially later this year.
Despite all this fanfare, there’s a history to the development of LAX that has been brushed aside. To accomodate the expansion of LAX post-WWII, 2000 residents were relocated by eminent domain from the town of Surfridge because in was in the flight path of three new runways. The city was rendered a ghost town, and after 40 years, only crumbling foundations, rusting street signs and old streetlamps (that still turned on until recently) remain. Surfridge was left out of the 2004 LAX Master Plan, which does address other disused areas around LAX. More images from Surfridge are in our previous article about the Abandoned Landscape of LAX.

Curt Fentress, the architect of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal says, “We set out to put Los Angeles back on the map and be No. 1 again. This building will go a long way to achieving that.” But of course, if it’ll take more than just one building to fully revitalize LAX. For now, the future of Surfridge remains uncertain.
For a look at another of LAX’s buildings, check out our tour of the Theme Building, a Modernist icon.