One more post on Salem’s Winter Island, where (in addition to Fort Pickering) there are two historical resources that have long been the focus of discussion and concern:  the former Coast Guard seaplane hangar and barracks/administration building, shown in “then (1938) and now” photographs below.

As you can see, these building have deteriorated dramatically following the closure of Air Station Salem in 1970.  Still, the new master plan for Winter Island proposes their rehabilitation and adaptive reuse.  I hope I am wrong, but it looks like it’s a little late for the Barracks Building, but a template for what could happen with the hangar is provided by the redevelopment of its twin in Miami.  The hangar at the former Coast Guard Air Station Miami at Dinner Key, built in the same year (1935) as the Salem hangar with identical plans, has been transformed into an adaptive aquatic center by the Shake-a-Leg Foundation in cooperation with the City of Miami. One possibility for a site with lots of potential.

Musters in Salem and Miami, from the Coast Guard Historian’s Office.  The Shake-a-Leg Aquatic Center in Miami with its rehabilitated hangar.

Another possibility, perhaps even more attractive as it involves year-round use, would be to convert the hangar into an indoor recreational facility.  The best example I could find of a pre-World War II hangar turned into a sports arena was in Seattle, where a private company transformed the historic Sand Point Seaplane Hangar #27 (built in 1938) into a sports club.  I think that the terms of the conveyance of the Winter Island site from the Federal government to the city of Salem would mandate a public venture, but hangars do seem to be well-suited to this particular use.

The former Sand Point Naval Air Hangar #27 in Seattle and the present Arena Sports Magnuson.  Architectural Design by Clark Design Group, Seattle.

One response to “UnGuarded

  • ceciliag

    yes a sports facility would be great, all that space and with those high high ceilings, i do hope they can recover the barracks building though. With those windows! c

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