Monday, March 25, 2013

Tustin, Laguna, Bruce Sinclair & Viola Small

I got to visit Hangar 28 (1942) at the former Marine Corps Air Station Tustin (a.k.a. Santa Ana Naval Air Station). These blimp hangars are each 17 stories high, over 1,000 feet long, and 300 feet wide, and are the largest free-standing buildings in the world. I've often heard the phrase, "I can't believe my eyes," but this was the first literal example I've ever experienced. My brain couldn't accept the hangar's enormity when I was standing inside. Looking at a standard-sized row of doors on the far side of the hangar did not help me grasp the scale of the building. I know that sounds nuts, but it really was a surreal experience. Happily, the County now owns Hangar 28 (the North Hangar), and will be putting it, along with numerous other historic buildings on the property, to further good use. That means someday you'll be able to visit this amazing place yourself. When that day arrives, GO! (Thanks to Steve Sarkis for the photo above, and Lynne Yauger for the photo below!)
Standing on the deck of the air traffic control tower at MCAS Tustin.
I'm sad to report two very important losses to our local historical community: Dr. Bruce Sinclair and Viola Small.

Longtime Santa Ana resident Viola Small passed away March 19 at age 87 following a stroke. Surviving family includes her husband Wayne; son, Bruce; and daughter-in-law, Denise. Viola was on the board of the Historic French Park Homeowners Association, owned 4 historic homes, and was a fundraiser and member of the Old Courthouse Museum Society. We'll all miss her dedication and her friendly smile.

On Feb. 14, we also lost another longtime champion of Orange County history, Dr. Robert Bruce Sinclair. Bruce was an active member of many local organizations, including the Santa Ana, Tustin, and Costa Mesa Historical Societies. He served on the board of the Orange County Historical Society and was president of the Old Courthouse Museum Society for seven years. He helped create an oral history program for the Orange Community Historical Society and received their William T. Glassell Award. A teacher and educational administrator, Bruce was a 43-year resident of Santa Ana’s Floral Park neighborhood. I've already missed seeing him around the Old Courthouse and at OCHS meetings since his health declined. He was definitely "one of the good guys."
Architect and architectural historian Alan Hess will discuss "Desert Modernism vs Seaside Modernism" and will introduce the documentary "Desert Utopia" (about Palm Springs architecture) at the next meeting of the Laguna Friends of Architecture, tomorrow, Tuesday, March 26, 6:30pm, at the Laguna College of Art & Design, Studio 12, 2222 Laguna Canyon Rd., in Laguna Beach. Above is an image of the iconic Enco/Tramway Gas Station (1965) by Albert Frey and Robson Chambers, which now serves as the Palm Springs Visitor Center.


Anonymous said...

104Aren't there other hangars built on the same plans up in Northern California?

Chris Jepsen said...

Yes, there are. Same plans. I understand that some have been torn down, but a few others are still standing.

Anonymous said...

Moffett Field in Sunnyvale/Mountain View. Very visible right off the Bayshore Freeway (US 101).
I think it's part of the site now used by Ames Research.

Autor said...

Dear Jepsen, my name is Lucas G. Silva and im from Brazil. Im writting a romance that the story happens in a city called Santa Ana, in the Orange Country.
Having never visited your city , and also i dont have the conditions to do it now,i would like your help with some historical information about this city.
I would like to know how the city of Santa Ana was between 1930 and 1933.
In those times, they feasted the Independence Day of Mexico?
The pratic of contraband was common?
Which park was the most beautyfull in those times?
If you could help me i would be very thankful, and with pleasure I will mention you in my book.

PS: Sorry if this text have some grammar errors, or something incorrect. Thank you.