The town of Amatol, NJ was built in nine months, beginning in March 1918. It was the workers' town for the Atlantic Loading Company - a WWI ammunition plant located two miles west. Amatol was named for one of the explosives used in the plant's munitions production. It had a population of 10,000 people at its height. By 1923, work had ended & most of the residents were gone.
In planning the town, thought was given to its general attractiveness, as well as to the rapid construction of housing. It was designed to be a 'town' rather than a group of buildings. The designers of Amatol followed the principles of town planning used by the major architects of the time. Amatol could accommodate a maximum population of 25,000. Buildings were wood-frame with cement stucco on lath. Interior walls were plaster.
A central commercial district featured shops & a large theatre. A YMCA included a swimming pool, gymnasium w/ stage, bowling alley, billiard rooms, and refreshment & lounge rooms.
Today, the town of Amatol has been reclaimed by forest & is managed by the Hammonton Creek Wildlife Management Area. The aerial view photo in the Pictures Gallery shows the outlines of Amatol's street layout still visible in the ground surface.
Narrative adapted from Shell Loading at Amatol, N.J.: Construction and Operation of a Shell Loading Plant and the Town of Amatol, N.J., 1919.
Photos courtesy of:
Shell Loading at Amatol, N.J.: Construction and Operation of a Shell Loading Plant and the Town of Amatol, N.J., 1919.