Historic Site and Building Pages

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[top] Pre NACA/NASA Sites and Archaeological Resources

Historic Sites

In addition to documentary research, archaeological surveys and investigations have been performed at LaRC which have identified several historically significant plantation sites. Southern Virginia was a primary area of conflict during the Revolutionary War and the War Between the States. Nearby Big Bethel was the scene of conflict as Union troops advanced on Southern forces. The area remained rural and agrarian into the nineteenth century. During this time, three plantations covered the current LaRC property: Chesterville (700 acres), Cloverdale (600 acres), and Moorefield (225 acres). The adjacent Langley Air Force Base property contained the remaining plantations below.


Plantations are not the only interesting archaeological features. Other sites include a subsistence farm associated with the Ross family, the historic Kings Road and even 3.5 million year old whale bones. Additionally, the Syms Free School which was the first free public school in America was originally located on what is now NASA LaRC property.


NASA LaRC Plantations

 Plantations Timeline, Deeds & Surveys, and WillsChesterville PlantationCloverdale PlantationMoorefield Plantation Site

LAFB Plantations

Shellbanks PlantationHollier/Poole PlantationLamington PlantationSherwood Plantation

Other NASA LaRC Sites

CemeteriesRoss SiteSyms Free School SiteKings RoadWhale Bones

[top] West Area Used by Langley Field

Civilian Conservation Corps


[top] NACA/NASA Architectural Resources

The architectural resources at LaRC date solely to the twentieth century and were built as part of the operation of NACA and NASA. Historic contexts that are pertinent to this time span are World Wars I and II through the Cold War and Man in Space program. Many of the buildings and structures at LaRC have unique and specialized design features related to the development of aerodynamic technology and space exploration.

Architectural resources at LaRC have been documented in three separate surveys. In 1985, the National Park Service (NPS) performed a survey as part of the Man in Space theme study which identified resources that significantly contributed to the Apollo Program. The survey resulted in five LaRC properties being listed in the National Register as National Historic Landmarks (NHLs). Since that time, two of LaRC's NHL properties have been demolished. In 2007, NASA performed an agency-wide survey of facilities and assets that supported the Space Shuttle Program (SSP). Several facilities at NASA LaRC were evaluated as part of this survey and the Landing Loads Facility was determined to be potentially eligible for the National Register (NR) within the context of the SSP.

In 2010, NASA LaRC completed a comprehensive reconnaissance level architectural survey of all buildings and structures located throughout the Center. In addition to determining the NR eligibility of 271 resources, the survey identified the NASA LaRC Historic District. Results of the survey were incorporated into the Programmatic Agreement (PA) among NASA LaRC, the SHPO and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation for management of facilities, infrastructure and sites at NASA LaRC. The PA and LaRC's Cultural Resource Management Plan (CRMP) describe the process for complying with historic preservation requirements. The CRMP and PA are maintained by LaRC's Cultural Resources Manager.


[top] Wind Tunnels

Index of Names by Building Number

Index of Tunnels by Name

4 x 4-Foot Supersonic Pressure Tunnel6 X 19-Inch Transonic Tunnel7-Inch Mach 7 Pilot Tunnel7 X 10-Foot High Speed Tunnel7 X 10-Foot Low Speed Tunnel8-Foot High Speed Tunnel8-Foot High Temperature Tunnel8-Foot Transonic Pressure Tunnel9 X 6-Foot Thermal Structures Tunnel9-Inch Supersonic Tunnel11-Inch Ceramic-Heated Tunnel12-Foot Low Speed Tunnel14 X 22-Foot Subsonic Tunnel16-Foot Transonic Tunnel16-Foot Transonic Dynamics Tunnel20-Foot Spin TunnelBasic Aerodynamics Research TunnelBoundary Layer TunnelDirect Connect Supersonic TunnelFlutter TunnelFree Spinning TunnelFull Scale TunnelGust TunnelIce Tunnel and Transonic Blowdown TunnelLow Turbulence Pressure TunnelMach 6 CF4 TunnelMach 6 and Mach 10 TunnelsNACA Tunnel OneNational Transonic FacilityPropeller Research TunnelStability TunnelTransonic Cryogenic Tunnel1247 Hypersonic Facilities ComplexUnitary and Continuous-Flow Hypersonic TunnelsVariable Density Tunnel


General Publications on Langley Wind Tunnels

Review of Aeronautical Wind Tunnel Facilities. Ronald Smelt (chairman). 1988. NASA CR-183057.

Information Summaries: NASA's Wind Tunnels. May 1992. PMS-002A.

[top] Other Research Facilities

Aircraft Noise Reduction FacilityControl Line FacilityComposite Model Development ShopEast Area HangarsEast ShopEnvironmental and Space Sciences FacilityFlight Control Research FacilityFlight Instrumentation FacilityFlight Test Article Development FacilityHelicopter Test TowerHigh Speed Aerodynamics FacilityHot Gas Radiation Research FacilityHypersonic Propulsion FacilityImpact BasinImpact Dynamics Research FacilityInformation and Electromagnetic ResearchJet Exit FacilityLanding Loads FacilityMemorialsNACA Memorial Aeronautical LaboratoryPhysical Research LabResearch LaboratoryRendezvous Docking SimulatorRocket Propellant Processing BuildingRocket Static Test FacilityServices BuildingStability and Control FacilityStructural Dynamics Research FacilityStructures and Materials Research FacilitySystems Engineering and Solar FieldTechnology HouseThermal Structures LabTow TanksFlight Electronics and Electromagnetics LaboratoriesVortex Research FacilityWest Area Model Shop‎


[top] Support Buildings

Auto Tracking VHF AntennaCafeteriaCeramic Spray ShopChemical Milling LaboratoryChemical Storage WarehouseChild Development CenterControlled Environment Rocket MagazineConstruction Management BuildingCrane/Elevator Maintenance SupportCryogenic Pressure Box (COLTS) No. 1Cryogenic Pressure Box (COLTS) No. 2Earth StationElectrical Equipment Storage ShedEngineering Support LaboratoriesFire StationFoundryFlight Management Research FacilityFrequency Converter BuildingGate HousesGymnasiumHazardous Testing FacilityHi-Compressor Vacuum Support FacilityHydrazine MagazineImaging and Photographic Technology BuildingIncineratorInformation Media CenterInspections and Safety OfficeInstrumentation Research LaboratoryLumber ShedMicrowave and VHF Communications TowerMorale Activities BuildingMoffet Road SubstationOffice Facility/InspectionOil Storage BuildingPhoto Lab (Visual Imaging Studio)Plant and Vehicle Support FacilityPyrotechnics StoragePyrotechnics Test FacilitySecurity Management BuildingSewage Pumping StationSpace Environmental Effects Laboratory Space Science Support OfficeSteam Exchange Pump HouseSteam PlantStructural Dynamics Research FacilityTest Cell and Radiation LaboratoryTest CellsTraining ClassroomsTunnel Power Control Building Utility BuildingVacuum Sphere Support BuildingsWarehouse/OfficeWater TowersWythe Creek GuardhouseWarehouse Buildings

[top] Trailers

1130T1145T1

[top] Off-Site Facilities

Plum Tree Island


[top] Aerial Photos of LaRC

Click HERE to view historical aerial photos of LaRC.

The Photo Lab in the Media Solutions Branch maintains original film negatives of all L-numbered film images as well as master files of all L-numbered digital photographic images. If you are a NASA employee, contact the Electronic Photography Lab (EPL) at 864-3524 or E-mail: LaRC-DL-PhotoLab@mail.nasa.gov to obtain a high resolution copy. If you are not a NASA employee, contact Brad Ball.

[top] Films

Over 1,300 films are available for viewing on the YouTube Cultural Resources Channel. Topics include test sequences, interviews, lectures, and public affairs productions.

[top] Maps

[top] Historical Documents and Land Acquisition

Land Acquisition Documentation

Center Historical Documents

[top] NASA LaRC Historic District

(also, check out our Historic Signs and Markers)

A historic district is defined as “a geographically definable area – urban or rural, large or small – possessing a significant concentration, linkage, or continuity of sites, buildings, structures, and/or objects united by past events or aesthetically by plan or physical development.” A district may also comprise individual elements that are separated geographically, but linked by association or history. A historic district derives its importance from being a unified entity, even though it is often composed of a variety of resources.

As noted in the Architectural Resources section above, the results of the 2010 center-wide survey identified a historic district at NASA LaRC that included buildings and structures located in both the East and West areas. The historic district boundary comprises the entire West Area and three small areas in the East Area.

As part of its stewardship responsibilities under the National Historic Preservation Act, NASA LaRC nominated the NASA LaRC Historic District to the National Register. The district was listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register in December 2011 and on the National Register in June 2012. Click HERE to view key elements of the nomination, to include the historic district's Statement of Significance, Period of Significance, and description of Integrity. The historic district nomination package is also available for review.


[top] From Biplanes to Apollo: The NASA Langley Historic District

As stipulated in LaRC's Programmatic Agreement, one of the mitigation measures for LaRC's New Town Project required preparing a history of the historic district. Written by Joseph R. Chambers, a retired NASA researcher, the 70-page booklet provides a history of LaRC from 1917 to 1972 and includes its contributions to the technological development of manned flight from fabric-covered biplanes to the dramatic moon missions of Apollo. Copies of the booklet have been distributed to local library and school systems, museums, visitor's centers to include the Virginia Air and Space Center, Historical Societies, the Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the National Park Service, other NASA Centers, and the NASA History Office. Click on the link to the left to view the booklet.

[top] CRMP - Cultural Resource Management Plan

NASA LaRC developed a Cultural Resource Management Plan (CRMP) to assist LaRC personnel in managing the Center's historic sites and buildings. The CRMP ensures that LaRC complies with the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and additional federal preservation laws and guidelines, including Executive Order 13287, "Preserve America". The CRMP identifies processes for integrating cultural resources management (CRM) with the mission and programs of LaRC. The integration should be executed in a manner that recognizes the significance of historic properties, the importance of the LaRC's mission, and the agency's responsibility as manager and custodian of historic properties under federal jurisdiction.

The scope of the CRMP cross-cuts many projects, operations and maintenance activities that occur at NASA LaRC. Although oversight of CRM at the Center is primarily the responsibility of LaRC's Cultural Resources Manager, LaRC personnel involved in project planning and implementation must be aware of the requirements of the CRMP and have the responsibility to work with the Cultural Resources Manager to see that the requirements are carried out. Organizations, staff and contractors at LaRC that may encounter CRM issues include those involved in land use and planning decisions, buildings and structures maintenance, construction and engineering activities, utilities and communications systems, environmental resources management, and safety and security.

Specific undertakings that may affect cultural resources at LaRC include the following:

  • Construction of new facilities
  • Renovation, repair or demolition of facilities
  • Utility systems repair, installation, or upgrade
  • Landscaping
  • Wetlands mitigation
  • Hazardous materials cleanup/remediation
  • Traffic and parking related construction
  • Property leasing and exchange


In performing CRM activities, the terms "cultural resources" and "historic properties" are used frequently. The terms are defined below:

Cultural resources - any prehistoric or historic building, structure, object, site or district considered important to a culture, subculture, or community for scientific, traditional, religious or other purposes. They include architectural, archaeological, and traditional resources. Architectural resources are standing buildings, dams, canals, bridges, and other structures of historic or aesthetic significance. Archaeological resources are locations where prehistoric or historic activity measurably altered the earth or produced deposits of physical remains (e.g., arrowheads, bottles). Traditional resources are associated with cultural practices and beliefs of a living community that are rooted in its history and are important in maintaining the continuing cultural identity of the community.

Historic properties - those cultural resources that are listed in, or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP or National Register). Information about the National Register is available at: http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/listing.htm

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