TUSTIN IRVINE HANGAR
The Tustin Irvine Hangars stand tall as a tribute to lost age of aviation. They rank as the largest wooden structures in the world with stories that are seventeen stories high and 1,000 feet long. Having width of 300 feet, the hangars were and still are the two biggest wooden structures to be ever built.
A steel shortage during the war times necessitated the wood construction and were designed by Navy engineer Arsham Amirikian. Each of the hangars used 2.7millon board feet of fireproof Douglas fir that were held together by 70 tons of washers and bolts with 30 tons of ring connectors. The construction of these structures took place during wartime with all-wood design garnered the hangars their 1993 listing by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the “Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks” of 20th century.
Irvine Hangars were built on the land that was seized from the massive Irvine Ranch. Orange County was selected for maintenance and housing of blimps that were to patrol for the enemy submarines along the southern California coasts from San Diego to Santa Barbara. Orange County proved to be an ideal location for this facility having rural character and small population. The vast 1,600 acre land was chosen by the military for blimp base.
These hangars have been featured in The X Files, JAG, Pearl Harbor, Star Trek and Austin Powers.
Plans are being made to rejuvenate these historic blimp hangars as a part of the urban village in heart of the community. Few details are available that indicate the initial plans including a 123- acre development of blending commercial , office, residential and entertainment uses. According to John Buchanan, deputy director of economic development, the company wishes to build up and out along an entire grid of short walking blocks.
The surrounding area has been long talked about as potential site for baseball stadium. Over the years, a lot of ideas have been discussed back and forth on utilization of the hangar. The notable suggestions have included a farmer’s market and shops, museum all of which are pretty much possible still. The south hangar of the Tustin Irvine Hangars is going a structural evaluation right now to determine whether it can be used in the future. The hangar is the property of the Department of the Navy right now. Certain activities and events do take place in the south hangar.
The Tustin Chamber of Commerce with sponsorship of Primo Fitness has announced the Inaugural Tustin Hangar 5k and Half Marathon. These races have been designed to raise optimum funds for local charities and nonprofits while exhibiting one of the historic cities of Southern California.
The runners of both races shall be running through one of the two blimp hangars which are rarely open to the public. The 5k shall boost and carry on the tradition that is enjoyed by over thousands of Tustin residents who jog through the hangar wearing green on St. Patrick Day.