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Lincoln Laboratories, Hanscom Air Force Base

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1950, Carl Koch and Associates, master plan; 1951–1954, Cram and Ferguson. 244 Wood St.

A leading center for research in military air defense and the incubator for much of the technology industry along Route 128, Lincoln Laboratories merit special attention. The commonwealth established Hanscom as a civilian airfield in 1941 and soon leased the property to the U.S. Army. During World War II, MIT, under President Karl Compton, led the development of reliable radar. The U.S. Air Force assumed control of Hanscom in 1951 and began development of research facilities on the property, including Lincoln Laboratories' collaboration with MIT. Although expansion of the complex continued through the mid-1990s, the original core of buildings by Cram and Ferguson housed research on the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment system to detect hostile aircraft and the Distant Early Warning Line across Greenland to Alaska, key elements in Cold War military defense. The dominant early structure, Building 1302 rose as four long, parallel units constructed of concrete, with horizontal bands of metal casement windows. Measuring 418 feet in length, 56 feet 6 inches in width, and four stories in height, these connected structures were divided into eighteen-foot offices, fifteen-foot corridors, and twenty-seven-foot laboratories. Many companies emerged from the collaborative research environment between the government and MIT here, the Digital Equipment Company, founded in 1957, becoming one of the most successful.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Lincoln Laboratories, Hanscom Air Force Base", [Lexington, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 443-444.

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