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Quonset Huts
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Managed By: Icon Here Quonset Hut
Quonset huts - those icons of WWII American ingenuity - can still be seen all over the world... although they aren't always immediately recognizable! Your mission: find one and tell us how it's being used today!

Expanded Description:

Quonset huts are prefabricated, corrugated steel structures having a semicircular cross section. They were developed at Quonset Point (hence the name), at the Davisville Naval Construction Battalion Center in Davisville, RI. by the George A. Fuller construction company as a cheap means of shelter and storgage facilities during World War II.

(Why yes, that is Bob Hope with the troops.)

The design was based on the Nissen hut (which in turn were loosely based on the Iroquois Longhouses), developed by Major Peter Norman Nissen for the British during World War I.

The open interior was meant to be very flexible, being used for offices, barracks, and sleeping quarters. Various designs of Quonset Huts were made before, during, and after the war. Here is a partial list;

T-Rib Quonset Hut - 16' x 36' and 16' x 20'

The original, or T-Rib, Quonset hut was modeled closely on the Nissen hut. Approximately 8,200 T-Rib Quonset huts were produced.

Stran-Steel Quonset - 20' x 48' and 20' x 56'

The last major redesign came in about 1943 when the factory was phased out and the contract for production transferred to the Stran-Steel Division of the Great Lakes Steel Corporation.

Jamesway Hut - 16' x 32'

The James Manufacturing Company of Fort Atkinson, WI., created a version with wooden ribs and an insulated fabric covering, designed for arctic weather when construction is needed to proceed quickly.

Pacific Hut - 18'-6" x 37'-4"

The Pacific Hut Company in Seattle, WA. started producing this all-wood Quonset design around 1942. Steel rusted quickly in the tropics and, in the Arctic, permitted cold temperature migration across metal structures. The Pacific hut is easily recognizable by its exterior of celotex, a waterproof form of Masonite, and by the triangular ridgeline vent cover.

Armco Hut - 20' x 50'

During World War II, the Armco International Corporation of Middletown, OH., produced arched corrugated ingot iron bunkers, ammo magazines, and personnel shelters. "Armcos" were strong enough to be completely buried in up to six feet of dirt.

Butler Hut - 16' x 48'

Developed by the Butler Manufacturing Company of Kansas City, MO., the "Butler hut" was an all-steel arched hut. With U-shaped arched ribs around an eight-foot radius, its profile was slightly more than a half circle. The endwalls were framed with steel, and all walls were enclosed with 2' standing seam metal sheets.

Utility Building - 40' x 100'

"Utility Building" is a larger version of the Quonset hut. Sometimes nicknamed "elephant hut", the building evolved over a period of time and could be adapted to tropical climates. A total of 11,800 Utility Buildings were fabricated by the end of World War II.

Quonset Redesign - 16' x 36' and 24' x 60'

The Quonset Redesign came with a modified arch with four-foot vertical sidewalls. Furnishings could be placed flush to the walls. Approximately 25,000 Quonset Redesign huts were produced.

Stran-Steel Quonset 24 - 24' x 36'

The Quonset 24, a two-thirds Quonset hut, provides a flat side for the installation of doors larger than could be accommodated in the ends or left entirely open.

Portaseal Hut - 16'-2' x 37-0'

Most likely a Canadian version of the wood-framed, plywood-clad Quonset-type structure. Identified by a tar paper finish nailed atop plywood sidewalls, end walls with large windows, and wide trim boards atop the end walls' vertical panel joints.

Emkay Hut - 20' x 48'

Morrison-Knudsen Company of Boise, ID. designed the "Emkay" (M-K) hut to shelter their crews for their large and remote military construction contracts. The Emkay had laminated wood ribs. Its distinct "two-centered arch" appears pointed, or gothic, in profile. All styles were built entirely of wood and wallboard, and could accommodate different climates.

Cowin Hut - 36' x 60'

Cowin and Company, Inc. developed large, semicircular steel warehouses (slightly less than half a circle). These 36' x 60' structures were called "Steeldromes." To resist thrust on the arch caused by snow loads, Cowin used a truss system of horizontal steel tie rods and vertical steel hangers, but proved inadequate for Alaskan snow loads. Not many were shipped to Alaska after 1943 because a number of them collapsed in their first winter of use.

Multiple Utility Building - 82' x 102'

The "Multiple Building" was a hut that could expand in both directions. It used many of the same parts designed for the Utility Building, but it accomplished larger spans by introducing a rectilinear steel frame upon which arched roof segments were joined one to the other with low, sloping valley gutters. The design allowed for expansion in both directions. In the years following World War II, National Steel Products constructed their Houston headquarters from an assemblage of units covering more than five full acres.

Modern Day Quonset Hut - Sizes vary

Today, instead of 2-3 inch round corrugation Quonset Huts are made with large angled corrugation, they required no framework at all.

Between 150,000-170,000 Quonset huts were manufactured during World War II. After the war, the U.S. military sold the surplus Quonset huts to the public for $1,000 each.

Many are still standing throughout the United States, and the rest of the world, being utilized for many different functions such as:


Fire Stations




& Various Businesses

Drive around and you'll see them here and there.

Much more than relics of war, they're icons of a time in our history - icons that spread all the way from North Africa to the Aleutian Islands.

This category update is the result of four years' research. Some of the information and images were found at the following websites.
- Harvey Farkle, Team Farkle 7

Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link

I highly recommend this excellent book,
"Quonset Hut: Metal Living for a Modern Age" by Chris Chiei & Julie Decker.

You can find information on it here. Link

Instructions for Posting a Quonset Huts Waymark:
To submit a Quonset Hut waymark, you must take a picture of the hut and fill in all fields possible.

Title of waymark: Location name - City, State/Country
Instructions for Visiting a Waymark in this Category:
To log a Visit, please make every effort to supply an image of yourself at the site. The standard GPS photo may be used as well, or even just an image that you took when you visited the location. If you do not have the option to provide an image, please provide a detailed description of your visit so we can form a 'mental image'
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The City of Jackson Storage Quonset Hut

posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member dalls

location: Tennessee

date approved: 11/6/2007

last visited: never

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posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member TurndAround

location: Tennessee

date approved: 8/4/2007

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