Q. Are there any remaining WWII-era Quonset huts in the area?
A. Named for the Rhode Island locale where they were first made, Quonset huts look like a half cylinder laid on its side. More than 150,000 of the prefab corrugated-metal structures were manufactured during the war; afterward, both war surplus and new models were sold to the public, and in the 1950s they seemed to be around every corner.
At Michigan State, hundreds of Quonsets once provided student housing. At the U-M, three Quonsets were erected next to the old Waterman Gym at North U and East U. Used for student activities offices, they stood in a row and lasted into the 1960s. A Quonset at 3770 Packard was used as a sales office for “house trailers,” early mobile homes.
We haven’t found any Quonsets left in Ann Arbor, but some are not far away. Nankin Battery is housed in a Quonset on Ford Road in Westland. A small Quonset (with adjacent house) is currently offered for sale on Whitmore Lake Road in Green Oak Township.