View Full Version : FLORIDA - Richmond Naval Air Station, Miami

15-09-2009, 13:43
On September 15, 1945, the Richmond Naval Air Station in Miami, Florida was destroyed by a hurricane. Its hangars, 22 blimps as well as 366 aircraft were destroyed. In the 1960s the site became the intelligence-gathering headquarters for the CIA's operation against Fidel Castro's government in Cuba. It is now the Miami MetroZoo.

Basic Site Plan (http://cuban-exile.com/photo/wave/Jm-map42.jpg)

The site upon completion in 1943:

The area looks quite different today: Flashearth link (http://www.flashearth.com/?lat=25.612453&lon=-80.398855&z=15.1&r=0&src=msl). Miami metropolitan population in 1940: 172,000. Today: 5,400,000.

Two of the three blimp hangars:

The hangars after the hurricane:


HQ building in 1944:

Floor Plan of HQ building link (http://cuban-exile.com/photo/wave/Jm-fire2.jpg)

Location of HQ building:
25deg 37' 12.73" N
80deg 23' 56.12" W

The Headquarters building is currently being restored by the Dade Heritage Trust/Friends of the Military Museum and Turnkey Builders (http://www.turnkeyconstruction.biz/Project-Details-HR.asp?Project=Building-25-Richmond-Naval-Air-Station). Click Turnkey for photos of the HQ building in 2008.


16-09-2009, 06:27
Were the airship hangars timber clad Tommy?

16-09-2009, 13:19
Were the airship hangars timber clad Tommy?

Affirmative! Here are construction details from the Gold Coast Railroad Museum's website. The underlining is mine to highlight the answer to your question.


The three airship hangars to be built at NAS Richmond were designed by naval engineer Arsham Amirikian, who designed a total of 15 nearly identical hangars for bases along both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

Each of the three hangars were 157 feet high to the bottom of the truss arch, 257 feet wide to the inside of the truss span, and 297 feet wide on the outside. Each hangar was 1088 feet long and covered an area of about 7 acres. The doors at each end of each hangar were composed of 6 panels, rolling on steel railroad tracks imbedded in the concrete apron. Each door panel was 120 feet high and 3.5 feet thick and are considered the largest single door panels ever designed and built.

The hangars were built of structural grade wooden timbers (mostly Douglas fir) to conserve steel needed for the war effort. By using wood, each hangar saved over 4,000 tons of much needed steel which went to building tanks, airplanes, etc. All fabrication was done in shops. Mill order lists, shop drawings, template work, and pre-cutting was accomplished and the finished pieces of the "hanger kit" were sent to treatment plants to be made fire resistant.

The hangar trusses were of a revolutionary type of construction. Each hangar consisted of 51 timber hingeless arch trusses on 20 foot centers. To build the trusses, a traveling scaffold was constructed on top of 18 standard railroad flat cars. 3 cars on each of 6 rails running the length of each hangar. The scaffold consisted of a large, step-tabled platform, with the difference between platform elevations corresponding to the lengths of the trusses which could be easily handled. The scaffold was roughly the size of a 14 story building 120' by 190'.

The first 80' section of trusses were assembled on the ground and lifted into place. Next, 40' sections for each side, were assembled on the first level of the platform and hoisted into place with booms and tackle mounted on the scaffold. Likewise, the next two sections were assembled in the same way. Finally, the crown or center piece was assembled on the top of the platform and hoisted into place with gin-pole derricks. In the early stages of construction, workers built 1.5 arch bays per day. With experience, the number climbed to 2.75 per day!

Each hangar required:

2,719,000 board feet of lumber
79.5 tons of bolts and washers.
30.5 tons of miscellaneous ring connectors.
33 tons of miscellaneous structural steel.
Each scaffold was constructed of 375,000 board feet of lumber and 30 tons of steel.

Rafters were added after all of the trusses were in place. The entire surface was then covered with tongue and groove sheathing from the outside. The roof covering covered an area of approximately 10 acres. After the sheathing was in place, a composition roofing paper was applied over a tacked, felt slip sheet. Men installing the roofing were suspended from staging platforms, working from bottom to top.

The huge doors at each end of the hangars were built from structural steel members and covered in fire resistant plywood. The doors "tucked" into the enormous concrete towers (one of which is still on the Gold Coast Railroad/NAS Richmond property). The doors rolled on carriages supported by steel rails on the bottom and steel door tracks on top. The upper track was supported by a box beam girder spanning the door opening.

Each hangar cost approximately $2,500,000 in 1942 dollars. If you built these hangars today each one would cost $27,684,049!

18-09-2009, 08:55
That accounts for all the planking laying on the ground in your posted images.

Interesting construction technique.