White Hall at Chanute Air Force Base Under Wrecking Ball

[] Rantoul, Illinois — Local resident and host of Paranormal Geeks Radio Jim Heater has sent us recent photos from the demolition site of White Hall at Chanute Air Force Base.

White Hall, one of the largest buildings at Chanute, was built in the 1940s and served as on base housing, offices, a post office, and mess hall. Demolition on the venerable building began in October 2015 and has proceeded in stages. White Hall has unfortunately joined the growing list of Illinois landmarks torn down over the past 10 years.

Chanute Air Force Base opened in Rantoul in July 1917 and was a vital part of the local economy for nearly 76 years. After its closure in 1993, much of the base was divided up into residential and commercial properties, but most of the core buildings remain abandoned.

White Hall is noted for one tragic and unusual incident. On September 13, 2001, at 10pm, a police K-9 unit responded to a trespassing call at White Hall. Dutch, an experienced canine with 957 drug arrests under his collar, pursued something up to the roof, where he suddenly and unexpectedly leapt 15 feet off the building and fell to his death.

You can see demolition progress in the following photos:

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  1. I was stationed at Chanute from 1986-1990. The building is older than that, and was originally built as a large barracks with marshalling yards. It spent the last decade rotting away, and was full of asbestos. There really wasn’t a way to salvage or repurpose it.


  2. “Chanute is dominated by White Hall, a 500,000-square-foot building, equivalent to eleven football fields, and was the largest American military center before the Pentagon was built in 1941. White Hall was built in response to the huge influx of recruits wanting to serve their country just prior to World War II. It was a self-contained, multipurpose troop barracks for more than 2000 men. Its amenities included a barber shop, post office, communications office, mess hall, bakery, library, and study halls.”


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