Sunday, January 2, 2011

Walking at the Game Lands today

Hard to believe it's January 2nd - the weather was beautiful today!

Located outside of Allenwood, the game lands is a pretty area!  Sunday's are a great time to walk here, since there is no hunting allowed on Sunday's in PA.  There are several lakes and ponds here, lots of bird houses and bird habitats..  in addition to a shooting range, trails for hiking, and several geocaches. (our geocaching blog is here)


One of the ponds was drained today...

The bunkers are the "item of interest" here.  During World War II, this was a TNT depo.

  There were originally 149 bunkers here, I'm not sure how many still exist, but I'd guess quite a few. Unfortunately, many of them are full of junk.  :-(


I didn't know that this is considered a "ghost town" - that this area used to be the town of Alvira.
http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/pa/alvira.html
Wikipedia had the following information -

"During the Second World War, the federal government built the Susquehanna Ordnance Depot to make TNT on 8,500 acres, partially in the White Deer Hole Creek watershed. In the spring of 1942, residents were evicted by eminent domain from 163 farms and 47 other properties in Gregg Township in Union County and Brady, Clinton, and Washington Townships in Lycoming County.
 
The village of Alvira in Gregg Township disappeared.[Alvira was founded in 1825 as "Wisetown" and had 100 inhabitants by 1900. Although the inhabitants were told they could return after the war, almost all the buildings seized were razed. Only some cemeteries and the nearby "Stone Church" remain.
 
 Construction of the plant involved some 10,000 people, and it took 3,500 to 4,500 employees to run the plant with its more than 200 buildings and 149 storage bunkers for TNT and high explosives, as well as storage racks of bombs. However, the need for TNT was lower than originally estimated and the project was nearly abandoned. By 1945, the only workers left at the depot were guards.

The depot closed after the war and the land was used by the United States Army for testing.  In 1950, the Federal Bureau of Prisons was given 4,000 acres  of the plant site, and began housing prisoners from the Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary there in 1952.
 
 In 1957 the "Allenwood Prison Camp" was built, which became the "Federal Correctional Institute, Allenwood". This was greatly expanded in the early 1990s to become "the largest federal prison facility" in the United States. North of the White Deer Hole Creek watershed, some of the land was sold to make the "White Deer Golf Course" in Clinton Township, and in 1973, 125 acres  of prison land in Brady Township were leased to Lycoming County for its landfill (which serves five counties)."


2 comments:

  1. This is fascinating (though quite sad, at the same time). Thank you for sharing. I grew up in Union County and look forward to reading more of your blog. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Wow! How interesting. What a trip to see that stuff.

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