Picatinny Arsenal

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Picatinny Arsenal (1880-Present) - First established in 1880 as Dover Powder Depot by the U.S. Army in Morris County, New Jersey. It was quickly renamed Picatinny Powder Depot and then in 1893 the United States Powder Depot. Renamed Picatinny Arsenal in 1907. Named for a local mountain peak. Active military installation.

Picatinny Arsenal 1890 Field Officer Quarters
Picatinny Arsenal General's Quarters
Picatinny Arsenal Old Administration Building

Picatinny Arsenal History

Cannon Gates

Established on 6 Sep 1880 as Dover Powder Depot on a 1,196 acre site between two mountain ridges in Morris County, New Jersey. The initial function was the production of gunpowder.

The arsenal was rocked by massive explosions at the nearby Naval Ammunition Depot at Lake Denmark in 1926. The explosions destroyed 187 of the 200 buildings on the post. The explosions lasted for 2 to 3 days causing $47,000,000 in damage with military and civilian casualties.

By World War II the arsenal was the only plant capable of producing large caliber ammunition and it rapidly geared up for that conflict. By the end of the war the arsenal had 18,000 civilian employees and a number of skilled scientific and technical personnel.

Following the war the arsenal specialized in conventional and nuclear large caliber munitions.

In 1977 the Army formed the U.S. Army Armament Research and Development Command at the arsenal. The command was disestablished in 1983 and the arsenal became the Armament Research and Development Center. In 1986 the arsenal became Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center.



Picatinny Arsenal Partial Commanders List (edit list)
Assumed Relieved Rank Name Cullum Notes
1879-07 1883-04-21 ”Maj. Parker, Francis H. 1952
1883-04-21 1887-07-01 ”Maj. Farley, Joseph P. 1953
1892-01-14 1897-03-23 –Col. Whittemore, James M. 1854
1897-03-22 1899-04-04 –Col. Buffington, Adelbert R. 1894
1899-04 1902-08-01 –Col. Babbitt, Lawrence S. 1947
1915-11-09 1917-05-27 –Col. Joyes, John Warren 3568
Dates are formatted in yyyy-mm-dd to sort correctly.
The Cullum Number is the graduation order from the United States Military Academy by year and class rank and links to a page for the officer on the website version of the Cullum Register. Listings without a Cullum Number indicate that the person was not a graduate of the United States Military Academy.

Current Status

Active military installation.


USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry:

  • Name: Picatinny Arsenal Type: Class: Military ID: 2511975
  • Location: Morris County, New Jersey, US, FIPS Code: 34027
  • Latitude: 40.9592817, Longitude: -74.5416435, Elevation: 702 Map: Dover
  • As Of: 17 Nov 2008
Source: U.S. Board on Geographic Names

Location: Morris County, New Jersey.

Maps & Images

Lat: 40.9592817 Long: -74.5416435

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