Building Index – Building 379
130 Rampart Way
Denver, CO 80230
[GPS N39°43’13.9800″ x W104°53’54.3000]
Since 1921, the Army’s Armament School had been located at Chanute Field, Rantoul, Illinois. The result of a desire for better weather and more space resulted in the Armament School being moved to the Denver Branch of the Air Corps Technical School, which soon afterwards was renamed Lowry Field. The Armament School opened for business on Lowry Field on 26 February 1938, “providing men trained to take care of aircraft armament, whether this be multi-mounted machine guns of flying fortresses or the devastating aerial cannons sticking out of the noses of lightning-like fighter planes” (Denver Post, 2 June 1942).
The Armament School at Lowry was originally taught in the existing Phipps Sanatorium buildings, part of the property ceded to the U. S. Government in 1937. In August of 1941, with WWII looming in the background and with demands for additional trained personnel being so great, the Air Corps initiated two-shift, eighteen-hour day training schedules. By January of 1942 Lowry was tasked by the War Department to train 55,000 men annually in the Armament and Photography School Programs.
New buildings were tasked for construction with the obvious need for additional classroom space to house these two critical training endeavors. Two buildings designed to fulfill these needs were under construction and almost completed when Pearl Harbor was attacked on 7 December 1941. Upon completion in February of 1942 they were designated as buildings 379 (Armament) and 380 (Photography). These buildings were put to immediate and full use for eighteen hours a day. The new Armament Building, 379, cost the government $258,737 to complete.
A hanger-like addition to the Armament School was also completed in 1942, providing the larger spaces needed for Bombardier Training. This building cost the government an additional $6,819 and was referred to as the “Annex,” with a building assignment of 376.
In October 1942 the Armament training schedule was accelerated to seven-days per week, twenty-four hours a day, divided into three shifts per day. This schedule evolved over the years since and has been assigned to many career fields with shifts indicated as “A-Shift” from 06:00 hrs to 12:00 hrs, “B-Shift” from 12:00 hrs to 18:00 hrs, and “C- Shift” from 18:00 hrs to 24:00 hrs. A “D-Shift” could be implemented from 24:00 hrs to 06:00 hrs. Each shift conducted in-class training over a 6-hour period, with staff and students observing an hour off for meals followed with two additional hours set aside for student remedial or military training as necessary to complete an eight-hour day.
Buildings 379 (and 380) were planned to be permanent structures. Before and during WWII many temporary buildings were erected around these buildings which have since been demolished following the closure of Lowry AFB in 1994, while 379 and 380 have been retained and repurposed into Commerce, Trade, and Business offices, including several health-care and medical facilities.
For an in-depth description of each of these two buildings, 379 and 380, as well as additional information pertaining to the training offered by the Armament School over the years, please read the “National Register of Historic Places Registration Form” completed by Elaine Gallagher Adams and Nancy Widmann in 2002.