Source: The Ratkovich Company, Photography by Sarah Krieg.

A Historic District for Today’s World

The Hughes Industrial Historic District is the former home of the Hughes Aircraft Company and the minds that gave the world some of the most important aviation advancements of the twentieth century. In recent years, after decades of abandonment, it has been reborn as the current home of some of the most innovative companies of the twenty-first century, a fitting new chapter in its storied history. As it once was, it has become again a place for both seasoned visionaries and those who are just beginning to know their genius; a place for the problem solvers, the brave, the ones who don’t take no for an answer and for their quiet supporters, without whom nothing would ever get done; a place of unlimited inspiration, of historic significance, and of industrial beauty; a place for ground breaking, record breaking, and coffee breaking, where limits are just benchmarks on the way to new discoveries. The Hughes Industrial Historic District, with its iconic past, energetic present, and promising future, is a place that will awaken and inspire the inventor in all of us. We welcome you to explore these pages to learn more about the district’s history, importance, and recent transformation.

Visit Our Timeline

In 1932


Howard Hughes establishes the Hughes Aircraft Company and leases space from the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in Burbank.



In 1941


Hughes Aircraft moves to a new home at the edge of Culver City, in what is now known as Playa Vista.



In 1947


The giant, wooden, H-4 Hercules plane, otherwise known as the “Spruce Goose,” takes its one and only flight in Long Beach, California.



In 1959


Hughes Aircraft Company is the eleventh largest defense contractor, has contracts for $350 million, and employs over 20,000 people.



In 1984


McDonnell Douglas takes over operations at the Hughes Aircraft campus.



In 2010


The Ratkovich Company purchases the former Hughes Aircraft campus and begins its revitalization as “The Hercules Campus.”



One District, Many Stories

The Hughes Industrial Historic District hosted aviation-related research, development, and manufacturing for over fifty years and played a pivotal role in twentieth century Los Angeles. It is directly related to numerous important themes, events, and people. In addition, the district has a fascinating and unique history of physical development from the beginning of construction in 1940 through the present day.

Source: The Ratkovich Company,


Howard Robard Hughes Jr. (December 24, 1905 – April 5, 1976) was an American entrepreneur, known during his lifetime as one of the most financially successful individuals in the world. He first made a name for himself as a film producer, and then became an influential figure in the aviation industry. Later in life, he became known for his eccentric behavior and reclusive lifestyle, oddities that were caused in part by a worsening obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) and chronic pain from a plane crash.


As a maverick film tycoon, Hughes gained prominence in Hollywood beginning in the late 1920s, when he made big-budget and often controversial films like The Racket (1928), Hell’s Angels (1930), Scarface (1932), and The Outlaw (1943).



Historic Designations

The Hughes Industrial Historic District was listed in the California Register of Historical Resources in 1991. At the same time, it was formally determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places by the California State Historic Preservation Officer. There are currently a total of eleven contributing buildings in the district. One of the contributors, Building 15, is also individually listed in the California Register within the context of engineering.

Source: The Ratkovich Company,

Take a visual tour of the Hercules Campus today!