written by James Sinks
In World War II, to help safeguard military and cargo flotillas, the U.S. Navy launched blimps that could spot enemy submarines from above. The airships were housed in garages in strategic spots on both coasts. The northernmost in the West was in Tillamook.
Today, you can still stand in the belly of one of the mammoth hangars, known as Hangar B. Its twin, Hangar A, burned to the ground in 1992. Calling the place big is an understatement—visible for miles, it is among the largest free-standing, clear-span wooden structures on the planet.
During the war, with steel in high demand, the Navy looked to the forests of the Northwest to frame the architectural marvel, where a latticework of old-growth beams soar 192 feet overhead.
Now home to the Tillamook Air Museum, Hangar B shelters fighter jets, including an F-14 Tomcat; a locomotive; a piece of the Hindenburg; interactive exhibits; a gift shop; and a café. And at almost a quarter-mile long with 7 acres of indoor space, you’ll also find plenty of elbow room.
Learn more about the Tillamook Air Museum.