Maxwell’s Building 841

Bldg 841

one of the (formerly) historic hangers on the Base, built with WPA money during the depression years, and which, less than a decade later, met such a vital need for the flying school programs there just before and during World War II. Wonderfully constructed, probably under the supervision of Algenon Blair.  It was so huge it is difficult to judge its scale. So large, in fact, that from time to time a dare-devil cadet would fly a training plane though it. Its 4-inch thick gypsum ceiling was so high, that when in 1941 a B-24 bomber, loaded with fuel, caught fire and completely burned up while parked within, the conflagration only made a dark smudge on the ceiling. In 1963 the structure was taken out of service as a hanger, and converted to a fitness center. The design job came to me, and sad to report, it was my plan that removed the hanger doors and closed the two vast openings with ribbed masonry, and installed within  a running track, steam rooms, volley ball, hand ball, and basketball courts, ad infinitum. Some years later the Base converted the adjacent hanger for the same use, and joined the two with new construction (visible on the right edge).

-Charles Humphries

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