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Dec. 15, 1976: Aerial photo of hanger on Terminal Island where the Spruce Goose was stored. Photo taken from the Goodyear blimp.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Larry Sharkey / Los Angeles Times

March 3, 1980: A view of the wood structure inside the Spruce Goose from center to the hull tail section. The photo was taken during the first public viewing of the aircraft in more than 20 years. The Spruce Goose was moved to Long Beach and placed on display in a large dome next to the Queen Mary.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

March 3, 1980: George Bromley, engineer in charge of maintaining the aircraft, stands on wing of the Spruce Goose located in its hanger in Long Beach. This photo was published in the March 4, 1980, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

Oct. 10, 1980: The Spruce Goose begins emergence from hanger in Long Beach that housed the aircraft for more than 30 years. This photo was published in the Oct. 11, 1980 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Larry Davis / Los Angeles Times

Oct. 29, 1980: The Spruce Goose is pulled from a hanger in Long Beach Harbor where the aircraft had been stored since 1954. This photo was published in the Oct. 30, 1980, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Steve Fontanini / Los Angeles Times

Oct. 29, 1980: The Spruce Goose is pulled by tugs from a hanger in Long Beach Harbor, where the aircraft had been stored since 1954. This photo was published in the Oct. 30, 1980, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

Oct. 30, 1980: The Spruce Goose takes to the air for the first time since its flight in 1947 — with the help of a large floating crane. This photo was published in the Oct. 31, 1980, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Thomas Kelsey / Los Angeles Times

Nov. 4, 1980: The Spruce Goose sits in dry dock after 1,500-foot move from its former hanger, in background, where the aircraft was stored for 33 years. This photo was published in the Nov. 6, 1980, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Thomas Kelsey / Los Angeles Times

Jan. 29, 1981: The Spruce Goose under a protective cover at its Long Beach pier site during a rainstorm. This photo was published in the Jan. 30, 1981, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Tom Kelsey / Los Angeles Times

March 19, 1981: The Hughes flying boat is under wraps while it's being readied for move to new dome next to the Queen Mary. This photo was published in the March 22, 1981, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rick Corrales / Los Angeles Times

November 1981: The Queen Mary is seen through the dome that will house the Spruce Goose. The tower in the middle was used for construction and was removed on completion. This photo was published in the Nov. 12, 1981, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Daniel A. Anderson / Los Angeles Times

Feb. 11, 1982: The Spruce Goose rides on a barge on its way to the dome next to the Queen Mary.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Larry Bessel / Los Angeles Times

Feb. 11, 1982: The eight-story tall tail of the Spruce Goose is backed through a slot in dome. This photo was published in the Feb. 14, 1982, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rick Corrales / Los Angeles Times

Feb. 11, 1982: The barge ride is over as the Hughes Hercules "Spruce Goose" aircraft is moved into its new home — a dome next to the Queen Mary in Long Beach. This photo was published in the Feb. 12, 1982, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rick Corrales / Los Angeles Times

Feb. 14, 1982: Sailors get a free view of the Spruce Goose before the aircraft was enclosed in a dome next to the Queen Mary. This photo was published in the Feb. 15, 1982, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

Sep. 28, 1982: Light beams down from ceiling on Howard Hughes' Hercules "Spruce Goose" aircraft inside the 130-foot-high dome underconstruction next to the Queen Mary in Long Beach. This photo was published in the Oct. 10, 1982, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rick Corrales / Los Angeles Times

May 14, 1983: Howard Hughes' Hercules "Spruce Goose" aircraft opens to the public in the dome in Long Beach with 3,000 people in line. This photo was published in the May 15, 1983, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

Aerial photo of Queen Mary and the dome housing the Spruce Goose in Long Beach. This photo was published in the Feb. 28, 1985, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Teresa Willis / Los Angeles Times

Aug. 12, 1992: The Spruce Goose after propellers were removed during the disassembly process for the move to Oregon.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rick Corrales / Los Angeles Times

Aug. 20, 1992: Workers check an engine housing as the Spruce Goose is broken down into 38 pieces for the move to the Evergreen Aviation Musuem in Oregon. This photo was published in the Aug. 21, 1992, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Bob Carey / Los Angeles Times

August 1992: Propellers removed from the Spruce Goose cover the floor before they were crated up and moved to Oregon.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rick Corrales / Los Angeles Times

Oct. 2, 1992: Members of the news media watch as the Spruce Goose is pulled out of its dome in Long Beach for move to Oregon.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rick Corrales / Los Angeles Times

Oct. 4, 1992: After a couple days of delays, the fuselage of the Spruce Goose is pulled onto a barge outside of the dome in Long Beach. The aircraft was moved by barge to its new home in Oregon.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rick Corrales / Los Angeles Times

Oct. 4, 1992: The main fuselage of the Spruce Goose rests on a barge after removal from the dome next to the Queen Mary. This photo was published in the Oct. 5, 1992, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rick Corrales / Los Angeles Times

Feb. 27, 1993: Several thousand people watch the Spruce Goose travel its final mile in McMinnville, Ore. The mammoth craft traveled 1,055 miles by ship, barge and truck from Long Beach in a trip that took 138 days.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press / Associated Press

Aug. 11, 2011: The Hughes Hercules "Spruce Goose" on display at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Ore.

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The Spruce Goose is moved, then moved again

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The Spruce Goose is moved, then moved again

Following the Nov. 2, 1947, flight of the Spruce Goose, — reported in a previous From the Archive photo gallery — a climate-controlled hanger was built around the aircraft. A staff of 300 workers, reduced to 50 in 1962, kept the aircraft in flying condition. After Howard Hughes’ death in 1976, the remaining workers were let go.

Summa Corp. took over the billionaire’s assets, but could not find a new home for the aircraft. A May 23, 1980, Los Angeles Times article reported that “the world’s largest airplane, Howard Hughes’ ‘Spruce Goose’ plywood flying boat, will be cut up and distributed to nine museums…”

Many “the Goose is cooked” headlines followed. After a three-month national effort, the aircraft was saved. The Spruce Goose was donated to the Aero Club of Southern California which in turned leased the aircraft to the Wrather Corp.

The Spruce Goose was put on display in next to the Queen Mary. The aircraft’s move across Long Beach Harbor was reported in a Los Angeles Times Feb. 12, 1982, story by staff writers Anne LaRiviere and Jerry Belcher:

The ancient Spruce Goose–first last and largest bird of its kind–went to its final roosting place Thursday in Long Beach.

Like Long Beach’s other great dinosaur of transportation history, the Queen Mary, it will become a tourist attraction.

Designed by billionaire Howard Hughes during World War II as a troop carrier that would cruise at 200 mph, the world’s largest airplane made its final journey with three men aboard at a speed of approximately .346 mph.

The gigantic flying boat, with a wingspan of 320 feet, a fuselage 219 feet long and a rudder eight stories high, was lifted from dockside at Terminal Island by an enormous floating crane late Wednesday night and deposited on the deck of a 240-foot barge early Thursday….then towed by tugboats 4 1/2 miles to its new and final roost, a huge, specially constructed aluminum dome adjacent to eh Queen Mary’s permanent moorage…

The flying boat was constructed mainly of laminated birch wood. However, a small amount of spruce was used in the plane’s construction, and therefore, someone dubbed it “The Spruce Goose” because is sounded right.

Hughes hated the name.

But this move only lasted 10 years. The Spruce Goose owners — the Aero Club of Southern California — sold the money-losing tourist attraction to the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Ore.

In a journey by ship, barge and truck, the disassembled Spruce Goose was moved from Long Beach to Oregon. The 138-day trip covered 1, 055 miles. On Feb. 27, 1993, about 10,000 people welcomed the aircraft to McMinnville Airport in Oregon.

The Hughes H-4 Hercules ‘Spruce Goose’ currently is on display at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.

The earliest Los Angeles Times reference to ‘Spruce Goose’ I could find was in a July 25, 1947, story on World War II funding of Hughes aircraft. By 1980, all Los Angeles Times stories just used the nickname.

For more, check out these two previous From the Archive photo galleries:  1946 move of the Spruce Goose and  The flight of the Spruce Goose.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

Follow Scott Harrison on Twitter and Google+

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