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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Hitchcock in Galveston County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

U.S. Naval Air Station

(Blimp Base)

 

— Seven-tenths mile South —

 
U.S. Naval Air Station Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jim Evans, April 17, 2008
1. U.S. Naval Air Station Marker
Inscription.  

In an effort to defend U. S. coasts and shipping lanes against German submarine activity during World War II, the U. S. Navy established bases to house huge lighter-than-air (LTA) craft, also known as blimps. With the ability to hover above a target, the blimps were uniquely qualified for coastal defense and observation.

Because of its site on the flat Texas coastal plain, Hitchcock was chosen as the location for one of the nine new blimp bases. Construction began in 1942, and the facility was commissioned on May 22, 1943. The resulting military personnel build-up caused an economic boom in the community.

The Hitchcock base consisted of forty-seven buildings, including a massive hangar to house six blimps, administration buildings, warehouses, living quarters, and recreational facilities. Aircraft from the base, in addition to their regular patrolling duties, were also used to assist with hurricane relief efforts and war bond drives.

In 1944, after the blimps were no longer needed, the Hitchcock base was redesignated for other purposes. Following the war some of the buildings were used by private interests, and
Marker location seen while approaching from Highway 6 image. Click for full size.
By Gregory Walker, April 11, 2010
2. Marker location seen while approaching from Highway 6
Click or scan to see
this page online
after hurricane damage in 1961 the blimp hangar was razed.
 
Erected 1989 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 11585.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & SpaceWar, World II. A significant historical month for this entry is May 1861.
 
Location. 29° 21.476′ N, 95° 2.666′ W. Marker is in Hitchcock, Texas, in Galveston County. Marker can be reached from State Highway 6, on the left when traveling south. In Jack Brooks Park near the picnic tables. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hitchcock TX 77563, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Camp Wallace (here, next to this marker); City of Hitchcock (approx. 0.8 miles away); Hitchcock Depot (approx. 1½ miles away); Stringfellow Orchards (approx. 1.7 miles away); Miller-Brautigam Home (approx. 2.3 miles away); Original Site of First Baptist Church of Alta Loma (approx. 2.4 miles away); Alta Loma (approx. 2.4 miles away); Alta Loma Cemetery (approx. 2.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hitchcock.
 
Also see . . .  Hitchcock Naval Air Station. (Submitted on January 18, 2020, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico.)
 
Additional commentary.
1.
Referred to locally as The Blimp Base, it's not located
Marker location seen looking towards Highway 6 image. Click for full size.
By Gregory Walker, April 11, 2010
3. Marker location seen looking towards Highway 6
near the marker, but is nearby at 29°19'57.7"N 95°02'40.2"W.
    — Submitted January 18, 2020, by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas.
 
U. S. Naval Air Station, aka "The Blimp Base" image. Click for full size.
By Jim Evans, April 17, 2008
4. U. S. Naval Air Station, aka "The Blimp Base"
The tall concrete columns held up a giant quonset hut that housed the dirigibles. The base was severely damaged on September 9-12, 1961 by Hurricane Carla and subsequently destroyed.
Blimp Base Hangar image. Click for full size.
By The Portal to Texas History, circa 1943
5. Blimp Base Hangar
The hangar was 1,000 feet long, 200 feet tall, and accommodated six blimps.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 11, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 19, 2010, by Gregory Walker of La Grange, Texas. This page has been viewed 922 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on November 11, 2020, by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas.   2, 3. submitted on September 19, 2010, by Gregory Walker of La Grange, Texas.   4, 5. submitted on January 18, 2020, by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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May. 8, 2021