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Makeover for hanger in Army balloon experiment

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POSTED September 13, 2015 5:03 p.m.

SAUSALITO  (AP) — A military hangar once used to house gigantic, tethered balloons during the U.S. Army’s brief experiments to determine how they might be used to supplement the nation’s coastal defense system is getting a makeover.

The hangar at Fort Barry near Sausalito will get a new coat of paint and a historically accurate shell, the Marin Independent Journal reports. In recent weeks, the hangar’s asbestos-covered metal sheet coating had begun to peel away.

National Park Service project manager Rich Melbostad said the upgrade will keep the hangar from falling down.

“It’s not so much a restoration as a stabilization,” Melbostad said.

The structure was built as a balloon hangar in 1921 as the military considered how they might be used for directing artillery fire. Officials decided to remove the balloons after realizing that high winds would wreak havoc.

Through the years, the hangar has been used instead for military storage, a missile repair shop and most recently, a horse riding center.

“The balloons did not last very long at all, but the building has held up all these years,” Jason Hagin, a historical architect for the park service, told the newspaper. “Now we are making it safe. It’s an interesting part of history.”

The $1.8 million upgrade is expected to be completed in March and will be used to store large park service maintenance vehicles.

 

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