back to article Silicon Valley struggles to save toxic landmark

On the morning of May 12, 1932 — long before the area was transformed into the nation's technology hub— more than 100,000 spectators braved traffic on the still-uncompleted Bayshore Freeway to congregate at the Mountain View-Sunnyvale border. The crowd had arrived to watch the arrival of "sky-queen," a jewel of America's …


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  1. Nick Galloway

    Listing to the rescue?

    Why didn't the good folk interested in keeping hangar one intact vote in the recent poll for the modern seven wonders of the world. Get a UNESCO heritage listing and the thing gets funded from the UN and the boys with wrecking balls have to take time off!

    A bit of a no brainer I would have thought?

  2. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Area 51 ..... 33 degrees of h3g3 42 Parallel Dimensions stuff?

    Crikey, four years on, and we're back to the beginning again. Does Time and the World stand still in Silicon Valleys?

    Publication Date: Friday, July 18, 2003 ......

    Ah well, at least you can be assured that with another 327 degrees of Control to discover, ye olde Orders are only Beginners at Squaring the Circle with ITs Answers. Probably they've got the heads stuck up somewhere where the Sun doesn't shine ....... a dead end pastime for them.

  3. Sean O'Connor


    My roommate is one of the facility engineers for NASA AMES which maintains Moffett Field and Hanger One now. They have been trying for years to tear it down but the historical societies keep filing injunctions to stop them.

    The Navy says it will cost 12 to 15 million to tear down the building and clean up the land. But contrary to what the historical groups are saying, NASA actually puts removing all of the toxic materials from the building, reconditioning it and cleaning the surrounding area could reach upwards of 80 million dollars.

    There was even a proposal by the Navy and NASA to put up a smaller building on the spot but that was also rejected by the Historical Groups. The irony here is they bulldoze over just about everything around here and for years people complained about the hanger because it looks so out of place where it is. Now that the government wants to tear it down because of toxic materials, suddenly there is a group thats trying to save it. They have had no luck in finding funds to match their proposals to save it. Nor do they have enough support or following to get anything done once and for all. All they have been able to do is file motion after motion seeking injuctions and keep the whole thing tied up in the courts. Costing the tax payers more money and further taxing the surrounding environment as more and more pollutants seep into the surrounding wetlands...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Easily Resolved

    This really doesn't take a rocket scientist to resolve. Here are a couple potential simple solutions. A 10% additional "luxury tax" on all valley home sales/purchases of 2 million dollars or more. Simple there's your $15 million in 75 or less homes sold. Don't like that one? How about we quit wasting all this hard earned taxpayer money we're spending researching / funding a new sports stadium? Hell, we'll just end up subsidizing it over the next 20 years. Does it really take 20 years for everyone to realize it's not profitable? Stadiums never are. Put the money into the hanger, crap, use it as the stadium. Ok, try this one on: Tax the top corporations in the valley a couple of percent. It's not going to break them. The CEOs will still get their tens of millions in bonus money. Hey, if there is even a slight impact on the bottom line, they can always show profitability by laying off another 10-20 thousand low paid employes. It's not like this is something new. Happens all the time. Or a few of the following could just kick down some of their pocket change:

    (from Equilar, Mercury News research Article: 06/09/2007)

    These are the 25 highest-paid executives below the chief executive level among Silicon Valley's 150 largest companies in 2006. Their total compensation includes cash paid in salary, bonus and other compensation including the value of perks given. It also includes the value of stock option grants and restricted stock awards.

Safra Catz, Pres and CFO, Oracle, $26,084,800, 17.4%, 82.6% 
Daniel Rosensweig, COO, Yahoo, 25,134,355, 6.2%, 93.8%
Susan Decker, EVP and CFO, Yahoo, 24,972,297, 5.6%, 94.4% 
Timothy Cook, COO, Apple, 22,838,080, 5.4%, 94.6% 
Charles Phillips, Pres, Oracle, 19,017,864, 24.5%, 75.5% 
Vyomesh Joshi, EVP, Hewlett-Packard, 16,179,183, 61.6%, 38.4% 
Peter Oppenheimer, SVP and CFO, Apple, 15,480,206, 7.0%, 93.0% 
Ronald Johnson, SVP, Apple, 15,444,476, 6.7%, 93.3%
Keith Block, EVP, Oracle, 14,892,450, 27.7%, 72.3%
Ann Livermore, EVP, Hewlett-Packard, 14,155,992, 54.6% 45.4% 
Farzad Nazem, EVP and CTO, Yahoo, 12,191,657, 9.7%, 90.3% 
Philip Schiller, SVP, Apple 11,677,211, 7.5%, 92.5%
Shane V. Robison, EVP and CTO, Hewlett-Packard, 11,481,391, 53.1%, 46.9% 
Robert P. Wayman, EVP and CFO, Hewlett-Packard, 11,182,833, 82.3%, 17.7% 
Kiran M. Patel, SVP and CFO, Intuit, 11,014,433, 14.0%, 86.0% 
Gary Bloom, Ex-Pres, Symantec, 10,390,425, 58.7%, 41.3%

    Robert Swan, SVP and CFO, eBay, 9,261,108 24.1% 75.9%

    Sergio Giacoletto, EVP, Oracle, 8,899,501 39.5% 60.5%

    M. Keith Waddell, Pres, CFO, Robert Half, 8,805,998 42.9% 57.1%

    Sanjay Mehrotra, Pres, COO, Sandisk, 8,134,813 13.3% 86.7%

    Harold Covert, EVP, CFO, Openwave, 7,713,682 9.3% 90.7%

    John Donahoe, Div pres, eBay, 7,634,767, 27.1%, 72.9%

    Charles Giancarlo, SVP and CDO, Cisco Systems, 7,595,111, 20.8%, 79.2%

    Stephen Elop, Div pres, Adobe Systems, 7,405,971, 38.4%, 61.6%

    James A. Beer, EVP, CFO, Symantec, 7,173,636, 41.4%, 58.6%

  5. Jack Tonkin

    "No Brainer"

    Let's see, the Navy can spend 12m to tear it down. It will cost 12m to do a Teflon cover. Duh! Cover the hangar!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's worth saving

    Every month when I come down to Moffett Field I always look for Hanger One in the distance as I come down the 680 freeway. The building is simply immense and is easily spotted from that distance. It is almost impossible to appreciate its enormity from close up. But from across the field I have seen it dwarf the 747 that is used to transport the Space Shuttle when it is occassionally parked at Moffett, along with its cousin Air Force One. NASA's C-141 like transport looks like a model airplane when parked near it and modern blimps look like toy balloons. Inside one can only look around in awe at the vastness of the open space that is enclosed by one of these monsters (I've been in Hanger 3 on the other side of the field). It is truly a marvel that should be preserved, put to a new use and opened for the public to come to gasp in wonder at it.

  7. neil


    As the saying goes, In the UK 100 miles is a long way, in the US 100 years is a long time.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ringstone Round

    Perhaps Google could buy it. I have no idea what they would want with it - but does there have to be a reason for everything? There isn't a reason for clouds. There are physical processes that create clouds, and the clouds produce an effect; but there is no ultimate reason for them, no will guiding their creation. The same could be true with this building.

    It could be called HanGoogle One. The iGoogleblimp. Google could install some lights inside it, and patrol the outside with armed guards. Make it look as if something really creepy and clever is going on inside. Google's share price will go up, because the investors will assume that Google is working on a space programme, like in "The Man Who Fell to Earth". The press will go wild. Then, when the share price has reached a peak, the founders of Google and all their staff could enter the hangar and, like the Heaven's Gate cult, they could ascend to heaven in a burst of white light, leaving only dust behind, like in Quatermass.

    Alternatively, NASA could put Paris Hilton inside it. And lock her there, until she has written five hundred coherent words on any topic. Could be clothes, anything. No spelling mistakes, correct use of punctuation. She can have as many goes as she likes, infinite supply of paper, pencils, erasers.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This isnt the only toxic waste problem in this area

    McDonnell Douglas et al have also built satellites nearby for years and has also dumped a plethora of god-knows-what into the nearby marshland, where Yahoo!s campus stands - in fact, when Yahoo! built the new campus they were prevented from having a child care center onsite because of the nearby contamination.

  10. Joe Blogs


    a certain on-line casino might buy it is someone puts it on e-bay?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Chemical Chernobyl in your backyard

    Thank God I'm nowhere near it, if I found out I had such a hazardous storage facility near me I would claim to tear it down, pronto.

    Want funding for it? Stop the F22 Raptor project, and get all the money you need. Or better, stop the development of A SINGLE air-to-ground ordnance being developed for the Air Force; stop the development of the JDAM bombs, just one month. There you go, now you have plenty of dosh to tear it down, clean the soil up, and build one just like it, ten times bigger.

    US spends a few bn on defense, 12m is just a fart in the budget. The analogy is good: it has almost no weight, and the whole situation stinks rotten.


  12. Andy Enderby

    err...... in reply to Mr Pomeroy

    Consider the amount of carbon particulate pollution involved in forcing Ms Hilton into such an enterprise, the trees cut down, loss of precious rubber resources. You should be ashamed ;-)

  13. Eugene Goodrich

    May I suggest:

    Step 1: bulldoze it.

    Step 2: clean up the contaminated dirt around it.

    Step 3: rebuild a replica of it.

    The way I see it, stopping the contamination / preserving the environment has to be done. Might as well get started on it - it could be a decade before the paperwork is all filled out. But the preservation of such a beautiful sight / nostalgic eyesore * is optional. Yes, it'd be nice to combine the historic preservation with the environmental cleanup to save money, but I don't feel awkward saying they are probably full of contradictory details that mean the savings will end up being theoretical only.

    (* I've seen it.)

  14. Jim Maurer

    History corrections

    While USS Akron did crash before Airbase Sunnyvale was dedicated, it was used for about 2 years by a sister airship, USS Macon. USS Macon operated there until Feb. 12, 1935. After that the base was used as an Army Airfield and as a Navy anti-submarine patrol blimp base during WWII. It became a jet base in the 50's. In later years it was used as a anti-submarine patrol base with several squadrons of P-3 Orions. Hanger 1 could hold quite a few P-3's. It even has some buildings inside it, one is 3 stories tall and seems quite small. During airshows at the base they would sometimes give tethered hot air balloon rides inside hanger 1. Local balloon pilots would volunteer to give rides for charity because it was the only place they could log time indoors!

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