Today marks the 75th Anniversary of the opening of Naval Air Station Hitchcock, in Hitchcock, Texas.
Designed to support lighter-than-air operations, the station’s 1,000 foot long hangar could house up to 12 blimps for anti-submarine patrols in the Gulf of Mexico. The base was opened under the command of Commander Charles Roland and 133 men were assigned to the station. Blimp Squadron ZP-23 arrived later in June to search for German U-Boats in the Gulf. In addition to the 300,000 sq. ft. hangar, the base also housed workshops, vehicle garages, barracks, administration buildings, a warehouse and a recreation center with a gym and swimming pool.
The air station was disestablished by the Navy in 1947 and sold as surplus property in 1949. In 1961, the massive wooden hangar was heavily damaged by Hurricane Carla, and was torn down in 1962. Today, all that remains of NAS Hitchcock are two sets of concrete support pillars that held up each end of the hangar and the former administration building. Travelers on I-45 headed to and from Galveston can often see these support pillars off several miles west of the highway.