Hangar 61

Year Listed: 2005

County: Denver

Threat When Listed: Development pressure

Status: Saved

Hangar 61 was constructed in 1956 within the former Stapleton International Airport complex; this unique 9,400 square foot cement structure is an example of how sophisticated engineering can make an innovative architectural design a reality.  This hyperbolic parabaloid was designed by Fisher, Fisher, and Davis, and engineered by Milo Ketchum, a Denver engineer of national renown.  Thirty-three feet at its apex, the thin shell concrete arch is diamond-shaped and spans 160 feet, without center supports.  This hangar is unlike any of the others that remain from the old Stapleton Airport.

When nominated to the Colorado’s Most Endangered Places List in 2005, the Hangar was threatened by the City of Denver who was under contract to sell the property for development. The developers threatened to demolish the “eyesore,” once they acquired the property.

In 2006, Hangar 61 was listed on the State Register of Historic Properties and a partnership was formed between Colorado Preservation, Inc. and 620 Corp. LLC of Denver.  This partnership took the option to purchase the property and developers Larry Nelson and Ruth Falkenberg renovated the building in 2009, with help from Colorado Preservation, Inc. and the State Historical Fund.  In 2010, the Stapleton Fellowship Church bought the property and invested funds to make the structure suitable for a house of worship by adding a 300-seat auditorium, state of the art stage, children’s ministry space, and gathering areas for public use. Far from hiding the Hangar’s original use the ministry embraces the structure, using the transportation building’s history as a metaphor for the church’s mission.