Scott Air Force Base News

This month in Scott history: Construction of Scott Field Airship Hangar completed in 1923

Pictured is the completed Scott Field Airship Hangar circa the 1920s.
Pictured is the completed Scott Field Airship Hangar circa the 1920s.

On Jan. 31, 1923, construction of the massive Scott Field Airship Hangar (Bldg. 75)—the largest and most important building at Scott Field between 1923 and 1937—was completed just north of the current Engineering Hangar No. 1 at Scott AFB.

General contractor William M. Sutherland Building and Contracting Company of St. Louis began construction of the Airship Hanger in 1922.

On Aug. 1, 1938, the Airship Hangar, dirigible mooring mast, and the supporting buildings were sold to American Wrecking Company of Chicago for $20,051. It is not known what happened to the bronze plaque attached to the 15-year-old Airship Hangar.

Maj. Frank L. Kennedy oversaw the hangar design and Capt. Carl H. Jabelonsky was in charge of construction.

The hangar was constructed under a lump sum contract of $1,250,000, which included the construction of supporting structures, specifically the Hangar Heating Plant (Bldg. 73), Hangar Ejector Station (Bldg. 74), a Balloon Hangar (Bldg. 76), and a 175-foot Mooring Mast (Bldg. 99). The frame of the Airship Hangar required 3,200 tons of structural steel and over 1 million rivets.

The Airship Hangar included an engineering office, motor shop, machine shop, carpenter’s shop, two supply rooms, locker room, operations office, hydrogen gas meter room, rigging room, guard room, officer’s and enlisted men’s toilets, switchboard room, electrical repair room, stock room, and the massive main hangar room (808 feet long, 163.5 feet wide, and 161 feet high). This was approximately twice the volume of the current Engineering Hangar No. 1 at Scott AFB.

Today, very little material evidence of the 1921-37 Airship Era at Scott AFB survives.

In 1932, a revolving beacon was added to the north end of the hangar roof and the roof gained a checkerboard-pattern paint scheme for safety.

On Aug. 1, 1938, the Airship Hangar, dirigible mooring mast, and the supporting buildings were sold to American Wrecking Company of Chicago for $20,051. It is not known what happened to the bronze plaque attached to the 15-year-old Airship Hangar.

Today, very little material evidence of the 1921-37 Airship Era at Scott AFB survives.

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