Quonset Huts in Briny Breezes

Briny Breezes Quonset Huts Serve Many Uses

Quonset Huts received their name from their origin.

In 1941, a production facility near Quonset, Rhode Island was set up to solve the Navy’s logistic problems.  They needed a fast solution to shelter people and materials.

The design of the Quonset Hut was based upon improving the Nissen Hut, which was  a light prefab structure developed by the British during WWI.

Briny Breezes Quonset & Fountain                                        (Copyright 2007 Lynn Thomas)

Briny Breezes Quonset & Fountain (Copyright 2007 Lynn Thomas)

The Quonset hut skeleton is constructed with a row of semi-circular steel* wood ribs which are then covered with corrugated sheet metal. Their size can range anywhere from 20 ft x 48 ft up to 40 ft x 100 ft.

When WWII ended, the military sold the Quonset hut inventory to civilians for about a thousand dollars per hut. Some were used by the citizens for housing.  Others, like the ones Briny Breezes purchased in 1950, were used as auditoriums, community centers, art studios, hobby centers and laundry mats.

My memories of the Briny Breezes Quonset hut includes dances and socials and craft fairs.  I remember seeing entertainment on the stage and I also remember seeing movies like the Houdini movie starring Tony Curtis there.


1958 briny dance

The Quonset hut was a great gathering hall for all.

Briny Breezes Quonset Hut

Harold Kelley

“I have enjoyed your postings about Briny Breezes. We have lived in Briny for nearly 30 years. Your article on the Quonset huts was well done and the pics were great. However, the ribs that support the structure are not steel. There was no available metal during the war and they used wood ribs. The ones in Briny are wood. Some deterioration has set in after 65 years of service and work has been done on some of the ribs.”

sailf fish

Lynn Thomas

Harold, Thank you for your comments and the correction about the slats.”

More stories by Lynn Thomas at


Quonset Huts in Briny Breezes — 2 Comments

  1. I was wondering if you have any history details about the old Jo-Al’s property, I currently own that property, but all I know is that it originally was a house then turned into a bed and breakfast. if you have any photos or any other details, I would love if you would share them with me. Thanks,

  2. Pingback: ArticleDashboard.org » Historic Quonset Huts Still Serve a Purpose

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