News

A piece of history

Hangar One skinning job wraps up as last piece is removed from frame

The last piece of Hangar One's exterior came off Thursday, wrapping up an environmental cleanup that took just over a year.

Pieces of redwood sheet and a set of upper windows were the last items removed on Thursday, July 19. The major reason for the cleanup was to remove metal siding layered in toxics, the last piece of which came off on July 11, said project manager Bryce Bartelma in an email.

"It certainly is an interesting structure," said Moffett museum curator Bill Stubkjaer. "I'd be a lot happier if I knew there was plan for getting siding back on it."

With a birds-eye view of the Bay Area, workers rappelled down the sides of the 200-foot-all monolith to remove tiles of siding, a layer of redwood underneath it and 4,638 glass windows. Built inside was possibly the largest assembly of scaffolding in local history, enough to fill 225 semi-trucks, with elevators.

Countless tons of a 1930s product called Robertson Protected Metal were removed, corrugated steel siding encapsulated in layers of toxic PCBs, lead and Asbestos, with each piece weighing up to 70 pounds. The tiles were wrapped in plastic and transported to Grassy Mountain landfill in Utah. The frame was cleaned with pressurized water and coated with a silver paint said to have lasted decades on other structures.

The environmental cleanup reportedly cost $32 million, an increase from the $26 million initially reported. UK-based AMEC Environmental did the work under a contract with the United States Navy.

The hangar was built during the Great Depression to hold the U.S.S. Macon, a massive airship used by the Navy between 1933 and 1935. The Macon held several small planes that could be deployed from its belly for long range scouting off the Pacific Coast. After 50 flights it hit a storm off the coast of Point Sur in 1935 and sank near Monterey Bay. Two of 83 sailors on board died.

Along with its sister the USS Akron, it remains the largest helium airship ever built, with a length of over two and half football fields, 785 feet.

Hangar One is set to stand bare indefinitely as a symbol of government dysfunction, say those working to save it. The founders of Google have offered to put up as much as $45 million for new siding in exchange for an agreement to allow them to use a portion of the hangar for a fleet of private planes. But owner NASA has yet to accept the offer and instead has expressed interest in offloading the structure and the entire Moffett Federal Airfield in a process that could take years.

Comments

3 people like this
Posted by Mr Advice
a resident of Castro City
on Jul 20, 2012 at 7:37 am

Such an Icon of the history of Mtn View, needs to be saved at any cost.


3 people like this
Posted by Bill Hough
a resident of another community
on Jul 20, 2012 at 7:57 am

Mr. Advice: "Such an Icon of the history of Mtn View, needs to be saved at any cost."

I completely agree. It's absolutely disgraceful that the government continues to ignore the wishes of the community, transmitted by the Bay Area congressional delegation on saving Hangar One. It's been almost 8 months since the representatives sent a joint letter to NASA administrator Bolden stating that "full consideration of the benefits of leveraging public money with private investment should be examined."

Bolden's boss should tell him in no uncertain terms to accept the H211 proposal to re-skin Hangar One.


3 people like this
Posted by gcoladon
a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 20, 2012 at 2:18 pm

gcoladon is a registered user.

I have come to learn that when people say "at any cost", they are usually not referring to using their own money.


3 people like this
Posted by Gordon
a resident of Gemello
on Jul 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Good riddance. I'd call it an eyesore rather than an icon. If the gov't was trying to create this anew, the community would be up in arms to to avoid the "enormous blight". But just because this thing has been here 80 years and folks are used to it, they fight to keep it.

Maybe if there was some compelling public use for this enormous hangar, it might be worth spending the tens of millions of dollars to reskin it. But turn it into a private trophy hangars for Google execs? No thanks.


3 people like this
Posted by Honor Spitz
a resident of another community
on Jul 20, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Hanger One at Moffett Field is a significant piece of history. Whether or not is meets the criteria of "beautiful" is 1. subjective and 2. and most important, beside the point. The wonderful museum at Moffett Field (or a peek on line) as well as a visit to the Mtn. View History Center on the 2nd floor or the Library will tell a most interesting story, one not repeated anywhere else in the country!! We need to wake up and do whatever possible to preserve, respect and honor our past.


3 people like this
Posted by Doug Pearson
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 20, 2012 at 9:28 pm

The article says, "The frame was cleaned with pressurized water and coated with a silver paint said to have lasted decades on other structures." And, NASA "has expressed interest in offloading the structure and the entire Moffett Federal Airfield in a process that could take years."

I hope the silver paint does last decades--it looks like it will have to. I must say I'm pretty disgusted at the NASA Administrator's decision to give away the hanger and runways. If they go to the FAA, as has been suggested, I think it likely that the field will be considered for use as a general aviation and/or cargo facility.


3 people like this
Posted by gcoladon
a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 21, 2012 at 9:33 pm

gcoladon is a registered user.

Doug, what would you think of trading PAO for NUQ?


3 people like this
Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm

"at any cost?"

You can't even take a comment like that seriously.

I'm glad we're one step closer to seeing Hangar One finally demolished. Just because we've been looking at something for 60 years doesn't mean we can't live without it.

Bye bye Hangar One.


3 people like this
Posted by kman
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Only thing this reminds me of, is the airplanes that use to fly out of there no stop. One every 20 or so minutes, you can here one of those p-somethings fly over. Thank God that has stopped. So long, far well and asta lavista. Time to put up more apartments.


3 people like this
Posted by rem
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2012 at 2:15 pm

rem is a registered user.

Editorial from the San Jose Mercury News, May 25th 2012

President Obama --save Moffett Field

Welcome to Silicon Valley, Mr. President. Hey, look at the great Moffett Field landing strip that Air Force One just glided onto -- isn't Hangar One spectacular, even with its skeleton exposed like some giant extraterrestrial metal sculpture? And check out the runway -- 9,200 feet, long enough for just about anything that flies. Can you imagine building one like it today anywhere in America, let alone in the Bay Area?

Oh, wait. Moffett Field. Ahem. Your federal government, under your watch, is threatening to destroy it. Really.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration doesn't want it and plans to hand it over to the General Services Administration -- an agency that throws great parties in Vegas but has bizarre methods of disposing of property. And we do mean disposing.

So we have a simple request: Stop it. Just stop it.

The "excess property" stunner from NASA came just as U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo was working with Google on a deal to -- get this -- pay the estimated $15 million cost of re-cladding historic Hangar One in exchange for being able to rent space in it. What a gift -- the ideal public private partnership. But even more important, people here rely on Moffett as their emergency lifeline, as Air National Guard as the 129th Rescue Wing has saved a LOTS of people.

(You may have heard, we have earthquakes.)

And then there are the cities of Sunnyvale and Mountain View, with a direct interest in this huge property on their borders. They thought a plan was in place to utilize the field while protecting their interests. We all did.

Well, good luck with your fundraising and photo ops in the valley. Enjoy the weather. But leave us something in return.

****Save Hanger one*****


3 people like this
Posted by Mt. View Resident
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 25, 2012 at 8:53 pm

The hanger needs to go. As soon as possible.


3 people like this
Posted by Just an idea
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm

What about keeping the land as an airport/runway and restoring the vintage hanger to be a functional airport terminal? Perhaps it could pay for itself that way.


3 people like this
Posted by rem
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm

rem is a registered user.

Hey - "Mt. View Resident, a resident of the Whisman Station neighborhood"

You go. It is history - you aren't!!!!!!!


3 people like this
Posted by Todd L.
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 28, 2012 at 8:40 am

I grew up near the intersection of Whisman and Middlefield. I saw that hangar every day growing up. Though I've moved away to another state for employment, whenever I come back to visit, when I see Hangar One ... I know I'm home. I'm glad to see that at least for the time being, the structure continues to stand.


3 people like this
Posted by erics
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 17, 2016 at 9:04 pm

It looks like a giant cage


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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