6 In Liz Travels: Route 66

Quirky Quonset Quest

Now for a quirky quonset quest.

In Chicago, Dash, seeking directions from a much younger person, mentioned that we were standing by a building on the Navy Pier that looked like a quonset hut. Then she quickly realized that the person she was speaking to probably had absolutely no idea what she was talking about.

Raise your hand if you know what a quonset hut is… I’ll wait.

Quonset huts are corrugated steel buildings, in the shape of half cylinders, that were developed during WWII as a way to easily ship and assemble buildings without skilled labor. After the war, they were sold off as surplus.

Once Dash mentioned them, we began seeing them everywhere, starting in Illinois. We hypothesized that there were a lot of them there because, during the war, there was an enormous–40,000 acres enormous–arsenal near Elmwood. Which would have mean a whole bunch of quonsets.

But then we saw them everywhere. And we’re still seeing them six states later.

I thought I’d share my collection with you. Because… well, just because.


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  • Reply
    Mary DeGuelle
    June 24, 2022 at 8:28 am

    I fo know what a quonset hut is. Looks like a great trip with a good friend.

    • Reply
      Sharon Thompson
      June 25, 2022 at 5:20 pm

      And I’m not done finding quonsets, either! Liz

  • Reply
    Lori Murphy Cole
    June 24, 2022 at 10:35 am

    Very cool!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2022 at 5:50 pm

    There was a Quonset hut at Oregon State when I attended there. It has since been replaced, but was there for many years. I think it housed the forestry department.

  • Reply
    June 26, 2022 at 6:57 am

    They’re in every WWII movie. Sounds like maybe a Wampanoag word. Must now google.

  • Reply
    June 26, 2022 at 6:59 am

    I was close! “Quonset is an Algonquian word meaning “small, long place”.” Thanks, Wikipedia!

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