Raritan Arsenal (1918-1964) - A United States Arsenal first established in 1918 during World War I as Camp Raritan in Middlesex County, New Jersey. Abandoned as an arsenal in 1964 and redeveloped for civilian use.
Raritan Arsenal History
Established on 17 Jan 1918 during World War I near the present day town of Edison, New Jersey. Established on a large site along the north bank of the Raritan River to provide a storage and shipping terminal for military supplies equipment and munitions headed overseas.
Raritan was established as a permanent ordnance depot shortly after World War I. Functions included vehicle storage and ammunition receiving, storage, shipping, transfer, and re-packing. Ordnance included 37mm and 40mm projectiles, fuzes, pyrotechnics, grenades, training rounds, and TNT.
From 1919 until 1941, the Ordnance Specialist Schools were located here. Several accidental explosions occurred during the period from 1919 through World War II in magazine buildings and outdoor storage areas.
During World War II, the storage facilities, shipping facilities and ammunition igloos were greatly expanded. A products division and field service ammunition school were also added to the Arsenal mission.
Many of the arsenal's activities were phased out in the 1950's. Some waste materials including ordnance and chemical agents were routinely disposed of by burial or pit burning creating potential contaminated areas that would later require cleanup. The arsenal was declared surplus in 1962 and closed in 1964 and turned over to the General Services Administration (GSA) for disposal.
At the time the arsenal closed in 1964 it consisted of 3,234 acres, approximately 440 buildings and 62 miles of roads and railways. Several large areas of the site have been developed but the U.S. Corps of Engineers is overseeing continuing cleanup of parts of the arsenal lands.
The site is now home to Middlesex County College, Thomas A. Edison County Park, Environmental Protection Agency offices, and Raritan Center, New Jersey's largest industrial park. The northern half of the site has been developed extensively and many of the original arsenal buildings remain and have been repurposed. The southern half of the old arsenal is primarily wetlands, with limited development since it closed. The cleanup process continues.