Historic Photographs

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Moreno Valley

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March Air Force Base, Gymnasium, DeKay Avenue, Moreno Valley, Riverside County, CA



B&W Photos

HB144202
BWPhotos 323048

HB144203
BWPhotos 323049

HB144204
BWPhotos 323050

HB144205
BWPhotos 323051

HB144206
BWPhotos 323052

HB144207
BWPhotos 323053

HB144208
BWPhotos 323054

HB144209
BWPhotos 323055

HB144210
BWPhotos 323056

HB144211
BWPhotos 323057

HB144212
BWPhotos 323058

HB144213
BWPhotos 323059

HB144214
BWPhotos 323060


Item Title
BWPhotos 323060

Location
DeKay Avenue, Moreno Valley, CA

Find maps of Moreno Valley, CA


Created/Published
Documentation compiled after 1933.

Notes
Survey number HABS CA-2353-A
Significance: March Field Historic District is significant in the area of military history for its association with the development of the Air Corps on the West Coast, serving as the key training and bombardment post on the West Coast during the period of significance from 1928 to 1943. The March Field Historic District is significant in architecture in three regards: as a monumental example of site planning, reflecting the influence of city planning ideas upon military base design during the 1920s; as an example of the work of Myron Hunt, a nationally known master designer from Pasadena; and as an exceptionally large and intact collection of hollow wall concrete buildings. The Gymnasium, Building 465, is a contributing element of the historic district serving as a recreational building from the time it was built in 1933 until the present. It is located in the enlisted personnel recreational/social sector of the district along with five other buildings. March Field had its beginnings as a World War I airfield. In 1917 as the United States entered the war, the Aviation Section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps has only a handful of usable flying fields, but this number expanded to exceed 40 by the end of the war. In the period between the world wars, the number of Air Corps flying fields decreased until only a relatively few were in use in 1939 when the country began to rebuild its land and air forces. The Air Corps established a few new air bases during this period but most of those that survived the interwar years were World War I bases that underwent substantial reconstruction. Among this latter group was Langley Field in Virginia, Maxwell Field in Alabama, Kelly and Brooks Fields in Texas, and Rockwell and March Fields in California. All of these air fields were established or reconstructed as a result of the Air Corps Act of 1926 - a milestone in the history of the U.S. Army's air arm. The March Field historic district is clearly the most significant tangible symbol in California of this historic era of Army aviation history. March Field is also important in the area of military significance as an important example of military post planning because it was the first complete aviation post laid out and built by the Construction Division of the Quartermaster Corps and the Army Air Corps during peacetime. As such, it was not built with standardized plans, but developed as the collaborative effort of government and private planners and architects. March Field was also built during an era in which the Construction Service adhered to regional values and built using appropriate local building materials and architectural styles. Thus, the principles developed in laying out March Field were repeated elsewhere and the individual buildings designed for the post became models for all California and Southwestern Air Corps fields built afterward in the interwar period. The officers' quarters, barracks, bachelor officers' quarters, and other structures built in 1930-31 at Rockwell Field, San Diego and at Randolph Field, Texas are virtual replicas of the buildings developed for March Field between 1927 and 1929 with respect to floor plan and architectural style. Finally, in United States military history, the district is strongly associated with the development and advancement of tactical military aviation under the Army Air Corps and with the War Department General Staff's efforts to strengthen Army aviation following World War I. Under the Air Corps Act of 1926, Congress authorized a $147 million five-year program to modernize and expand the number of units manned, equipped, and trained for tactical operations during peacetime as a base for mobilization. In caretaker status since 1923, March Field reopened in 1927 as one of three primary and advanced flying schools operated by the Army Air Corps nationwide. In keeping with the Five-Year Plan, March's primary training functions were transferred to Randolph Field in 1931 and March Field became the central base for West Coast bombing and gunnery training and so remained until 1941. During the period of significance, 1928-1943, it was an important cog in the national defense machinery - the largest flying field on the Pacific Coast and home of the largest air armada west of the Mississippi River. It is one of the very few remaining examples of the air bases built under the discretion of the Army Air Corps from this period between the world wars and is a significant symbol of the emergence of army aviation as a distinctive branch of the modern American armed services.

Collection
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)

Contents
Photograph caption(s): 
Contextual view of gymnasium facing northeast
View of gymnasium facing east
View of gymnasium facing southeast
View of gymnasium south wall facing northeast
View of gymnasium south wall facing north
View of gymnasium south wall facing northwest
View of gymnasium facing south
Interior view of gymnasium facing northeast
Interior View of gymnasium facing southwest
Interior View of gymnasium south wall facing south
Detail View of gymnasium south wall facing south
Interior view of weight room facing southwest
Historic view of gymnasium facing southeast


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