Blimp Hangar, Marin Headlands

I had driven by it perhaps 30 times during a hawk banding season as a volunteer hawk bander for the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory (GGRO) and I had thought, there’s another military building. This one was big and gray and it reminded me of an oversized barn. This impression made sense because of the horse stables in front of the “barn”.

It turns out that it was a barn of sorts, not for horses but blimps.

This structure is the Fort Berry Balloon Hangar and it was completed on June 27, 1921 for a cost of $99,893.50. At that time the Army was experimenting with tethered balloons for coastal surveillance. Things didn’t turn out so well because the hangar was built and abandoned in the same year (1921). The military sure knows how to spend money! And taxpayers where left with an oversized gray vehicle shed, which what it is used for today.

This is the only surviving blimp hangar of its type that actually housed army balloons. Now it is used to store tractors and other vehicles, according to the man feeding the horses.

The horses are stabled at the Presidio Riding Club in the buildings that where originally built as vehicle sheds.

In my field sketch I included part of the stable on the foreground. I also used a little sketcher’s license by opening the door in the hangar. Shhh don’t tell!

A friendly horse boarded at the Presidio Riding Club, just in front of the blimp hangar.