Hangar One of NASA Ames Research Center (Formerly Naval Airstation Moffett Field)
Hangar One in 1933
Hanger One - Before Decontamination
Hanger One Today
Inside of Hangar One, Today
Backstory and Context
Hangar One was built in 1933, as an airship hangar, which would house one of the biggest Naval Airships in American History: a dirigible known as the USS Mason. Hangar one is located at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California. The USS Mason was built as a scouting vessel but unfortunately, it had a short life. After sustaining damage from a prior flight, it went down off the coast of California while on its return voyage home. After the accident destroyed the USS Mason, the hangar was re-purposed to house various non-rigid aircraft for the remainder of the military's ownership of it.
In 1994, The Navy turned over Moffett Field to NASA. During testing, NASA discovered that the steel panels of the hangar were contaminated. Due to contamination, NASA decided to pull off the steel plating, which left only the wire-frame skeleton. This is how it sits today.
In 2008, Hangar One was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 2008 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
Although it was initially in danger, the space has recently been rented out to Google on a long-term lease, who has devised a Reconstruction plan, which has begun and will be completed in 2025.
There are no tours to the hangar currently. However, The Moffett Field Historical Society Museum is located right next to it and you can stand right next to it. Entrance to the hangar is currently prohibited as the wireframe is still contaminated.
Library of Congress site: Hangar 1 photos and summary
The first website I evaluated for Moffett Field Hangar One, comes from The Library of Congress website, located at https://www.loc.gov/resource/hhh.ca3437.photos/?sp=22. It is informative and is not lengthy, which is perfect for the reader on the go. Contributions for this article are from NASA Ames, The Moffett Field Historical Society, and others. The article states that Moffett Field was created and named after Admiral William A. Moffett, who believed strongly in the opportunity of using air reconnaissance. Air reconnaissance is the gathering of information using aerial vehicles. Due to his lengthy efforts, the government established two Naval Air Stations. One being Moffett Field and the other being situated in Akron, Ohio. They were established in the 1930’s in order to store and port two US dirigibles (blimp type aircraft). Hangar One was built to house the U.S.S. MACON. Hangar One and its sister site’s dirigible hangars are the still the largest structures in the United States, without internal support. The hangar was modified to fit smaller aircraft after the crash of the U.S.S. MACON.
Last flight of USS Macon: ‘Queen of the Skies’ crashed near Big Sur
For my second article relating to Hangar One is about the crash of the USS Macon It is pertinent to this CLIO entry as the USS Macon was the airship housed in Hangar One. The page can be found at https://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/photos-from-the-vault/article39471531.html. The aircraft was made by the Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation, which was commemoration of German and American companies working together. It had a sister ship called the USS Akron, which was staged out of Akron, OH. The two airships were meant to be used for aerial reconnaissance over the oceans, however, they were easy targets for airships. The USS Akron was first to crash. It was a fatal one in which only 3 out of the 76 people aboard survived. The USS Macon went down in February 1935. A few days before, it had an accident, which severely weakened the upper vertical fin of the dirigible. The weakened fin broke as a strong wind hit the airship over Big Sur. The ship went down shortly after making SOS calls. This time the mortality rate was less, due to having a seasoned captain and a quick-thinking crew. Although flares caused issues with inflammable liquids, surprisingly only 2 people perished out of the 83 on board. The USS Macon was in service less than 2 years. From April 21, 1933 to Feb 1935. The remains of the ship were found in June of 1990 and it is now registered as a Historical site.
Hangar One restoration to take until 2025
As written above, Google has currently leased Hangar One and has proposed a remodeling plan. I have included this article which goes into further detail about this remodeling plan. The article comes from the local newspaper, The Mountain View voice, and the e-newspaper article can be found at https://www.mv-voice.com/news/2017/05/24/hangar-one-restoration-to-take-until-2025. Google did an abundance of testing on the structure to see how to proceed not only to completely decontaminate the frame, but also how to rebuild the skeletal structures. Although it's currently set for 2025, it is subject to change.
Hangar One Restoration Options Laid Out in Newly Released Report
In an article written by a San Francisco news team, CBS SF KPX 5, which is found at https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2019/08/21/hangar-one-restoration-options-laid-out-in-newly-released-report/, goes further into detail regarding the contamination of the hangar. It was due to asbestos and PCB's from Lead paint which lead to needing to decontaminate the structure. Much like the news anchor, many people here share fond memories of being in awe upon seeing Hangar One, not just on their first time, but every time they witness its majestic girth. The plans for google to restore the hangar will cost around 115 million dollars.
That Giant Structure Off 101 Once Housed a Flying Aircraft Carrier
For my final source, I wanted to share another article which goes over the history of Hangar One. This article comes from local news station KQED and can be found at https://www.kqed.org/news/11738379/that-giant-structure-off-101-once-housed-a-flying-aircraft-carrier. This article states an incredible fact! The land that Moffett Field is on, was sold to the Navy for only 1.00 in 1933! It added up to 1,000 acres of waterfront property. The article details how the based was built with the purpose of building Hangar One for the USS Macon. After both dirigibles went down, the Navy stopped production and use of them. This was in 1937, prior to the great Hindenburg disaster. Fast Forward the end of the dirigible program and it goes into detail about how NASA acquired Moffett Field from the Navy. The article ends by stating that Google is planning to use it for the use of balloons, not dirigibles. One interesting fact in this article, is that the size of Hangar One is equal to seven football fields.