These Massive Hangars in Orange County Once Housed WWII Airships

Rising conspicuously above the red-tile roofs and big-box stores of suburban Tustin, California, these two massive hangars stand as monuments to a lost age of aviation, built when lighter-than-air dirigibles held promise as the future of air travel—and air warfare.

They rank among the largest wooden structures in the world. Step inside one, and the vastness of the enclosed space—6.8 acres contained within a 17-story parabolic roof—confuses the eye. Only photographs of the hangars taken during World War II, when they housed the U.S. Navy's Airship Patrol Squadron ZP-31, can begin to make sense of the cavernous buildings.

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