Assessing The Condition of a WWII Seaplane Hangar On Midway

Seaplane Hangar, Building 151, was built at the Naval Air Station Midway Islands in late 1940 or 1941. Extensively damaged on December 7, 1941 and the Battle of Midway, it was reduced to half its size, altered, and deteriorated by the harsh marine environment and lack of maintenance. Mason Architects and Martin & Chock , structural engineers, prepared a Condition Assessment of the historically significant hangar as the first step in its rehabilitation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The hangar was designed by Albert Kahn, Inc. and became a standard hangar design, “Midway Type,” that was used at the Naval Air Stations at Barbers Point and Kaneohe Bay.

The original hangar was 372’ x 240’ and 60’ high, with ten large sliding doors that rolled into pockets on two sides, opening the interior of the hangar to the outside.

Each hangar door contained two rows of six windows on its upper half; behind the door pockets were office and shop spaces in shed-roofed wings.

Damaged and altered, it was used for seaplanes or as barracks and finally, in 1969, as storage.

Its historical significance as part of the Battle of Midway National Memorial and its eligibility for the National Register call for its preservation, and the operational needs of the FWS, stewards of the Memorial and the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, require its safe and economical use for storage.

Mason Architects and Martin & Chock addressed such questions as:

  • What are the highest priorities for repair?
  • Can the roof be patched?
  • Should windows be repaired or removed?
  • How should spalling concrete be treated?
  • How can rust on steel beams be retarded?

Their report contained architectural and structural evaluations and a cost estimate for proposed work. They also completed similar reports for three other buildings: the Cold Storage Building, Transportation Building, and SKI Warehouse, on Midway.

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Historical photo: National Archives.

Hangar, Building 151, 2009.