These are buildings erected during the existence of Lowry Field/Lowry AFB from its beginnings in 1937 through its end-of-life in 1994. Lowry was a bustling “town” in and of itself within the eastern confines of Denver, forming a “boundary” beteen Denver and its eastern-neighbor, Aurora, CO. Aurora evolved from the small 1891 community known as Fletcher, a four square mile real estate investment, into a thriving bedroom community serving both military and civilian families associated with Lowry AFB. Aurora is today so much more than a bedroom community as it has attained the status of having become the 21st most populous Metropolitian Statistical Area in the United States. Click HERE to view the Lowry Foundation’s online version of these same photos.
Last Updated: 10/30/2016 06:18
Available housing for Lowry’s Army Air Force soldiers ranged from large tents in 1937 when the area was known as “Lowry Field” to modern-day advanced architectural designs to include 1,000-man dormatories during the latter years as Lowry Field transitioned into Lowry AFB as part of the United States Air Force’s Air Training Command. Buildings were erected in the form of aircraft hangers, a steam plant, office buildings, and classrooms. A dining hall, book store, commissary, dispensary, dental clinic, officer and enlisted clubs, theater, PX/BX, on-base housing…were all built to form a complete community in support of the Air Force’s training mission at Denver, Colorado.Lowry’s flying activities ceased on 30 June 1966. In 1991 the government’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) commission recommended closing Lowry AFB. Lowry AFB had been home to over one million airmen during its existence, including not only America’s finest men and women, but students from over 29 foreign countries were provided training at Lowry AFB through the military’s MAP program. On 30 September 1994 the United States of America’s flag was lowered for the last time in front of building 349, the Base Headquarters building, and Lowry AFB ceased to exist as a government installation, ending 57 years of training excellence.Politicians and influencial business leaders from both Denver and Aurora, CO got together and evolved a plan to maximize the potential value of the now abandoned property. A vibrant mixed-use community evolved embracing the area’s unique military history. Over 20 original Lowry AFB buildings have been saved and repurposed. Other buildings, those of less robust construction, were demolished with new construction taking their place. The whole area has taken on a new look…such that if a veteran who served on Lowry in 1982 were to visit the area in 2016…they would no longer recognize the Lowry where they had spent a significant portion of their service career time!
These are buildings erected during the existence of Lowry Field/Lowry AFB from its beginnings in 1937 through its end-of-life in 1994. Lowry was a bustling “town” in and of itself within the eastern confines of Denver, forming a “boundary” beteen Denver and its eastern-neighbor, Aurora, CO. Aurora evolved from the small 1891 community known as Fletcher, a four square mile real estate investment, into a thriving bedroom community serving both military and civilian families associated with Lowry AFB. Aurora is today so much more than a bedroom community as it has attained the status of having become the 21st most populous Metropolitian Statistical Area in the United States. Click HERE to view the Lowery Foundation’s online version of these same photos.
Last Updated: 10/29/2016 15:32
#1. Hangar #1, Building 402, completed in August,1939 and is shown as the hanger on the left in this 1962 photo. Hanger #2, building 401, shown as the building on the right side, was completed in April of 1941. The hanger numbers were switched by the military in 1966, the year all flying ceased at the base. Building 401 became known as Hanger #1, and building 402 became known as Hanger #2. Both hangars have 12 massive 6 ton doors 250 feet wide that can roll open. When flying ended in 1966, the hanger on the left became the Base Supply Warehouse and later storage for the Defense and Finance Accounting Center. After the base closed, it was remade into a giant self storage facility inside and office, commercial and dining areas on the outside. [Click HERE for full-screen display in separate browser window]
#2. Hangars 1 and 2, aerial photo, 1940s.
#3. The Lofts are the modern use of the historic Brick Barracks/Lowry Air Force Base Headquarters. Built in 1940 and designed as quarters for 850 men, the “Brick Barracks” housed 3,600 men in 1943 as the war effort expanded. The blond brick barracks has a grand Spanish Baroque entry portico; the circular driveway was the east end of the Parade Grounds. This building, No. 349, served as Base Headquarters from 1961 until the base closed in 1994. After closing it was renovated into 261 roomy new loft units, many with very high ceilings. Grand Lowry Lofts is the largest building at Lowry.
#4. Main entry to building 349, once a barracks, then the Headquarters for Lowry AFB. After BRAC became the “Grand Lowry Lofts.”
#5. Building 349, formerly Lowry AFB Headquarters, today has become the “Grand Lowry Lofts.”
#6. Building 27, the “Eisenhower Chapel.” Dedicated just fourteen days before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Building No. 27 was the first church built at Lowry. The simple Colonial Revivalesque clapboard structure is a rare surviving example of many such standard military-design chapels built across the nation. President Dwight Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie, attended church here in 1953-55 when Lowry became the summer White House. When three duplicate wooden chapels were demolished at Lowry in the 1970’s, the Eisenhower connection saved this chapel. Now used for a variety of uses from weddings to public meetings, it is a centerpiece for the community and managed by the Lowry Foundation. It is both a national and Denver historic landmark.
#7. Building 361. The Steam Plant opened in 1940 and was built to heat the entire interior of the base buildings. Building 361 provided steam heat through a series of underground tunnels and pipes to 35 buildings. The four large boilers were fueled with coal that was delivered on railroad tracks along 6th Avenue on the east side of the base.
#8. Building 357. Lowry Base’s Fire Department.
#9. The original base theater and training buildings opened between 1939 to 1942. It was also the base library and recreation center during the early years. Known widely as a large movie theater seating up to 850 people, it is currently used as the gymnasium and offices space for The Denver Montclair International Academy.
#10. Lowry AFB’s Officer’s Quarters.
#11. Twin to building 379, the Photography building sports the same sleek, three-story twin columns of limestone rising out of a granite base to shape the impressive entry portico. Building No. 380 housed the headquarters, labs, classrooms, darkrooms, and workshops as well as an instructional theater where students learned ground and aerial photography, camera repair, and cinematography.
#12. Building 251, Lowry AFB’s Commander’s Quarters.
#13. Due to high security training in how to handle and maintain nuclear weapons, building 1307 opened in 1972 with few windows, a dark and gloomy interior and very thick walls. Though only mock ups of weapons were used, the building still had feeling of intense security and isolation. When the CDPHE took it over, they created an entirely different atmosphere with many new windows, a center skylight and a 30 foot slab of Colorado sandstone at the entry.
#14. In 1953 building 640 was the Base’s Dining Facility (“chow hall” or “mess hall”). It eventually became the Base Commissary, home to many military families for grocery shopping.
#15. Buildings 201-210, built in 1940, were originally used by commissioned junior-ranking officers and their families. After the base closed, they were remodeled into ten single family homes. They create a unique neighborhood at 5th to 6th and Quebec as part of their own pocket of history.
#16. Building 204, NCO Quarters.
#17. United States Air Force Academy, Lowry AFB, CO, 1957.
#18. The United States Air Force Academy, Lowry AFB, CO, Headquarters, Building 905, Circa 1957.