Moffett Field: The Legacy of Hangar 3. Courtesy NASA Ames Research Center and Planetary Ventures

Since 1933, Moffett Federal Airfield has been a center of global innovation, national defense, and local pride. Throughout its complex history, talented and brave individuals have dedicated their ingenuity and strength to successful missions that have protected the United States and expanded humanity’s capacity to explore new horizons.

The site’s strategic location beside the San Francisco Bay served as an ideal launching ground for the gravity defying balloons, airships, aircraft, and helicopters that allowed heroes of all backgrounds to patrol the Pacific Coast, fly to nearby and distant destinations, and assist those in need. Every diverse initiative at Moffett Field has been based within buildings that fostered a spirit of experimentation and service. Three of the largest structures in the world dominated the landscape for decades. While Hangar 1 and Hangar 2 at Moffett Field will endure for generations to come, the remarkable story of Hangar 3 has reached its conclusion.

The rapid production of Hangar 3’s huge wood-frame structure, which was completed in 1943, resulted in the need for comprehensive repairs just three years after it was built and created substantial engineering challenges throughout its lifespan. Although intensive ongoing efforts were made to save the hangar, unfortunately, there were no viable solutions to prevent the damage continuously advancing throughout the building. Confronted with the fact that this major landmark could not be conserved, a detailed plan was implemented to document its history and features.

This website and film were created to honor the extraordinary legacy of Hangar 3 and inspire the public to learn more about the exceptional people whose daily accomplishments and visionary projects continue to propel Moffett Field forward.

Cover image: Oblique of Hangar 3 south façade with doors closed, Naval Air Station Moffett Field, Stephen D. Schafer, 2018. Courtesy Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, HAER, CA-335-B-7