Most of us kids from the 1950's and 1960's are more than familiar with the "Cold War".
We remember fallout shelters and air raid drills as a part of our school days. In my case, the air raid drills had stopped by the time I left elementary school.
I guess they figured by the time we reached middle school we would already know that an atomic bomb blast would obliterate the built at "lowest bid" schools to smithereens.
However, there was a lot more to the Cold War here in South Jersey then we realized.
Once upon a time there was a Nike Missile Command and Control facility at a local Army installation called Camp Pedricktown.
Here's a brief history of the Camp from the U.S. government's Base Realignment and Closure program:
"Installation History and Mission Camp Pedricktown, located in northwestern Oldmans Township, Salem County, New Jersey, is a U.S. Government property selected for partial closure by the BRAC 95 Commission. The site is located about 50 miles southwest of Trenton, New Jersey. Camp Pedricktown consists of approximately 85 acres and 260,000 square feet of facilities. The site is part of the Sievers-Sandberg U.S. Army Reserve Center (USARC). The site and the surrounding lands were locally-owned farms prior to World War I.
In 1918, the Camp Pedricktown site was acquired by the U.S. Army and used to establish the Delaware Ordnance Depot. The depot remained in operation until 1958 as the final assembly and storage point for munitions prior to off-site shipment. The site also served as a back-up storage facility for the Picatinny and Frankford Arsenals and the Aberdeen Proving Grounds.
From 1960 until 1965, Camp Pedricktown served as the headquarters for the 42nd and 43rd Artillery that commanded the Nike missile sites in the 27 December 01 iii Revision 9 Philadelphia area. Between 1965 and 1969, a total of 42 of the installation’s facilities were turned over to the Salem County Technical Institute. The Salem County Technical Institute used the facilities until the school was displaced by the arrival of the 21st Corps, 79th Army Reserve Command (ARCOM) in the late 1960s.
In 1974, the 21st Corps was replaced by the 78th Division of the Army Reserve. An eastern portion of the original installation is currently owned by Salem County Community College and used for recreational purposes. The 1995 BRAC Commission recommended that Camp Pedricktown be closed, except for a Reserve Enclave to serve the Sievers-Sandberg USARC, providing essential facilities, and other areas required for Reserve Component training.
On September 30, 1997 Camp Pedricktown was closed, except for a 39-acre Reserve Enclave. The closure of Camp Pedricktown will save base operation and maintenance funds, and provide reuse opportunities for approximately 46 acres of the 85-acre site. The Camp Pedricktown site was transferred from the Defense Supply Agency to Fort Dix in July 1962.
At this time the BRAC parcel is no longer used for any military related activities. The Reserve enclave is used by medical units to support reserve missions and for training, vehicle storage, and repair. During two weeks of each year, and for two days each month, the Reserve Enclave is heavily populated by military personnel who conduct military exercises in the immediate vicinity."
Since I was in the neighborhood, I decided to drop by the old Camp Pedricktown and see what was what.
It doesn't take long for neglected property to grow over.
Then again, with a little love and care they look almost new. This building is located just up the road a piece from the first photo.
Now standing empty, this building still shows signs of recent use.
As referenced in the BRAC report, this was used as headquarters for a hospital unit and a transportation unit.
Further south on the main road, the commander's office stands empty save for a multitude of wasps.
Some of the "Family Housing" still remains.
When's the last time you saw a pressed sign?
Looking down the row of long vacant homes.
A good view of one of the duplexes.
Interestingly, only one of the duplexes had this brick breezeway.
Looking north down the main road.
Looking south down the main road towards the administration buildings and housing.
Looking west towards the back of the Camp. Some of the old buildings are being reused by tenants. The base has been converted to an industrial park.
Notice the lump in the road. You'll be seeing it again.
The "heart" of the old Camp, the unused and forlorn flagpole.
The faceless marker at the base of the flagpole.
Baseball fields and tennis courts, last used by the local community college, are slowly being reclaimed by weeds.
Because of time limits I had to wrap up my little tour.
I'll be doing some research in the next weeks. I want to see if the old "Missile Command" building is still standing. I also want to see if I can get inside safely to take some photos.
Splitty's going to love that mission.
In the meantime, remember I told you to remember that lump in the road?
Remember kids, always look both ways before you cross the street.
Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.
Air Traffic Mike, ret.
In lieu of a blog post today…
3 hours ago