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Warren G. Magnuson

History - Early Airfield Development

Warren G. Magnuson Park Information: (206)684-4946
Park Address: 7400 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115 > directions
Administrative office visiting address: 6310 NE 74th St, bldg 30 southeast offices
Administrative office mail: 6310 NE 74th St., Suite 109E, Seattle, WA 98115

Figure 2: Pontiac Bay
Figure 2: Pontiac Bay, 1926

Figure 3: NAS Airfield, late 1920s, early 1930s
Figure 3: NAS Airfield, late 1920s, early 1930s

Figure 4: NAS Map 1927, dated May 7, 1927
Figure 4: NAS Map 1927, dated May 7, 1927

Figure 5: Pontiac Bay, Buildings 1, 2; Building 9 in background near 74th Street entrance
Figure 5: Pontiac Bay, Buildings 1, 2; Building 9 in background near 74th Street entrance
  • Late 1910s to early 1920s King County commissioners began acquiring small farms on the peninsula
  • June 19, 1920, ground breaking ceremony held that included a symbolic tree cutting and the first aircraft landing
  • July 1920, congressional committee traveled to Sand Point via boat for a second dedication, and they cruised along the brush beach and walked through the woods over the entire site
  • 1923, the U.S. Army leased the field from the Navy and erected a sheet iron hangar (Building 1, demolished by NOAA in 1970s or 1980s) that was shipped from California to Sand Point
  • 1924, aircraft squadrons of the "Battle Fleet" established a camp at the location
  • April-September 1924, four Army Air Corps planes, began and ended a "round-the-world flight" from Sand Point
  • September 28, 1924, World Flight reception, estimated public attendance 40,000.
  • September 1925, King County Commissioners authorized clearing of a landing strip 500 hundred feet wide and 2640 feet long, followed by grading, leveling and sowing in grass. Pilots seeded the runway to give it a more reliable turf surface, which nevertheless turned to mud in the winter and dust in the summer. Clarence Blethen of The Seattle Times paid for piping to be laid and for ditches to be dug divert water runoff.
  • 1926, Sand Point was still no more than a series of farms, a field served as a runway, the station commander worked out of a farm house (Imbree residence), and naval aviation cadets were billeted in a chicken house
  • Mid-1926, King County jail inmates used to clear trees and undergrowth to expand the airstrip
  • October 1926, Carkeek family sold Carkeek Park to King County, which in turn deeded the entire peninsula to the U.S. Navy for developing a Naval Air Station (approximately 411 acres)
  • September 13, 1927, visit by Charles Lindbergh and the aircraft, Spirit of St. Louis. Estimated public attendance 50,000.
  • 1928-29, constructed Buildings 2, 5A, 5B, 5C, 5D, 9, 20 (incorporated into Building 11)
  • 1929, seaplane runway constructed near the shore of Pontiac Bay
  • 1930 Building 12 constructed, the central steam plant
    Early to Mid-1930s, coordinating with the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Navy trucked in hundreds of loads of fill to develop expanded landing facilities. Hundreds of WPA workers covered most of the point's "gently rolling land,", buried what remained of Mud Lake and the marsh, and eliminated Pontiac Bay. This fill material was graded and much of it covered with a slab of concrete for landing strips.
  • 1936-39, constructed Buildings 6, 15, 18, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30, 31, 41, 330, 331, 332. Expansion of Building 9. Constructed munitions storage Buildings 19, 21 (Figure 8: Overview May 1938).
  • 1937, Pontiac Bay (approximately 2.7 acres) filled in to construct Building/Hangar 27 and adjacent tarmac.
Euro-American Settlement « Early Airfield Development » Second World War Period

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Updated May 15, 2007
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