Here is part 3 of the ongoing History Lesson series.

Fake Rooftop Towns 1

Believe it or not, these women are standing on top of a B-17 bomber factory in Seattle, Washington in 1941. These fake towns were designed by Hollywood set designers, made with stage props, and “inhabited” by actors.

Fake Rooftop Towns 2

After Pearl Harbor, Japanese submarines were spotted off the coast of San Francisco and Santa Barbara. The west coast was the next presumed target for the Japanese so the US decided to hide its major wartime factories. These towns were complete with fake houses, cars, roads, and even residents.

Fake Rooftop Towns 3

All this was done while almost 7,000 B-17 Flying Fortresses were being made for the bombing campaign against German industry and military targets.

Fake Rooftop Towns 4

The Douglas Aircraft Company in Santa Monica was camouflaged by a fake town designed by Edward Huntsmen-Trout, a landscape architect.

Fake Rooftop Towns 5

An aerial view showing that it looked pretty much the same as the surroundings.


Fake Rooftop Towns 6

These towns were put together quickly with plywood, burlap, and other cheap materials.

Fake Rooftop Towns 7

These neighborhoods only had to look good from a plane.

Fake Rooftop Towns 8

Actors were hired to do things around their fake houses like mow the law, tend to their gardens, have picnics, hang their clothes to dry, take a walk, and much more.

Fake Rooftop Towns 9

Gardeners tend to their fake trees.

Fake Rooftop Towns 10

Ladies lounge around on the Seattle Boeing rooftop, designed by John Stewart Detlie, a Hollywood set designer.

Fake Rooftop Towns 11

These amazing rooftops were taken down after the war and forgotten. All that remains are these pictures and this government newsreel.

Last Update: April 25, 2016

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