TwentySix: Home of the Airships


Continuing the ‘Creeks and Rivers of Silicon Valley’ year long project.

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USS Macon and Hanger 1
USS Macon and Hanger 1

Covering 8 acres, the size of 6 football fields, Hanger 1 at Moffett Field has always been a marvel to see driving by on busy Highway 101. Moffett Field was commissioned in 1933 as a Naval Air Station and over the years has been the base for airships, maritime patrol craft, NASA Ames Research Center, Satellite Control Network (AKA ‘Blue Cube’), and a host of other activities. An aerospace industry grew up around it in the towns of Mountain View and Sunnyvale. Moffett is now a joint civil-military airport.

A relic from the past, Hanger 1 was built in 1933 to house the airship USS Macon and is one of the worlds largest freestanding structures. Two other hangers nearby, appropriately called #2 and #3, are some of the world’s largest freestanding wood structures. currently, Hanger 1 is going through a restoration, removing asbestos and other dangerous materials.

Stevens Creek originates in the Santa Cruz Mountains, flows through the towns of Cupertino, Los Altos, Sunnyvale, and Mountain View. It flows by and empties into the San Francisco Bay right next to Moffett Field. On the other side of the creek is the world headquarters of a company called Google and a smaller company called LinkedIn. The Shoreline Amphitheater is nearby, one of the main concert venues in the bay area..

Of course, if you use the internet, you know who Google is. Their buildings (called the Googleplex) occupy blocks and blocks of buildings adjacent to Moffett Field. Recently, they have leased much of Moffett, and taken over the restoration of Hanger 1.

Click on any picture to view the full size–

I did the painting on a pedestrian bridge over Stevens Creek. Another sky painting, in front is Moffett Field with Hanger 1 on the left. The large building on the right is the intake for the worlds largest wind tunnel. Hanger 1 is a little hard to see in the photos as it currently has it’s outer skin removed and looks like a silver skeleton. I wanted to paint it as it usually looks, so put the skin back on.

Home of the Airships, 8x10, oil on board
Home of the Airships, 8×10, oil on board

As painting number twenty-six, this marks the halfway point in this quest, at least as far as the number of paintings. I am about 6 paintings ahead of schedule and will probably do more than the original 52 painting goal.

Coming up:
We are getting a series of Pacific storms, so am going to scout around for some of the smaller, seasonal streams. Also on the agenda, Chavez and Korakuen.

5 thoughts on “TwentySix: Home of the Airships”

  1. I like this one, Don. You know, I worked at Ames from ’93-’98 but never thought about those buildings as art subjects. You’ve given me a whole new perspective on that!

  2. Mary, thanks for the kudos! I never thought of them as art objects either, until I spotted this location…which is kinda what this year long project is about…haha. Actually, I have only been in Moffett several times, and never close to Hanger 1.

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