Bethlehem Loading Company, a World War I ammunitions plant located in Estell Manor, NJ, was constructed from April 3 - July 1, 1918. The site encompasses over 12,900 swampy acres. By November of that year, 56,000 155mm shells had been produced at the plant and delivered abroad to the war effort. The plant was guarded by 1,100 soldiers,
To provide housing for plant workers, a company town named Belcoville (short for Bethlehem Loading Company) was completed by August 1918 with a capacity of 400 families & 3,000 single employees. The village included a town hall, school, bank, bowling alley & retail stores.
The war ended on November 11, 1918, but the loading plant continued production into 1919. Today, the site is part of an Atlantic County Park and many concrete ruins & rail beds provide hints of its former activities.
See the 'Belcoville - Estell Manor' entry for more information on the company town of Belcoville.
Narrative adapted from Atlantic County, NJ official website.
Photos courtesy of:
Administration Buildings sign - Ventures to Anomaly
Ruins photos #1-3 - Ventures to Anomaly
Ruins photos #4-13 - John Rumaker, Jr.