Civic Camouflage: A WWII Neighborhood that Never Existed


The destruction of a lesser-known Seattle pseudo-suburb is underway. This series of a dozen square blocks was lofted forty feet in the air but, despite looking picture-perfect (a series of pristine streets, homes, yards and trees) it was never intended for human habitation.

A little anomaly dates back to World War II, this whole fake neighborhood built atop a Boeing factory south of downtown Seattle, meant to hide the presence of airplane production facilities below … the cumulative size of eight football fields.

“Houses, streets and plants were assembled like stage props out of plywood, clapboard, chicken wire and burlap, covering the plant’s roof during World War II. If any Japanese bombers made it this far east, the hope was that their pilots would mistake this for a quiet residential neighborhood.”


Despite the proximity of faux overhead homes, workers from the plane plant took an entirely opposite route to get out, heading down instead of up. Secret underground tunnels to reach nearby and likewise-camouflaged cafeterias, classrooms and restrooms – images of people on top were merely staged for a post-construction photo and film shoot.

But these would-have-been houses will not go to waste – the reclamation of remaining materials is in progress. The Duluth Timber Company is salvaging scraps as well as heavy timber beams from the site before it is leveled.


As for the plant itself: it became increasingly outdated (and structurally dangerous) as decades past, despite being the original home of many famous Boeing aircraft including the original B-52 bomber and 737 jetliner. (Via InhabitatWavy & more at Wikipedia)

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