US Army Corps of Engineers
Huntington District

Site History

PBOW Historical Photo The original site was acquired by the Department of Defense (DoD) in 1938 for the manufacture of ordnance, and consisted of 9,009.32 acres of land plus 1.35 acres for a pump station. In the early 1940s the U. S. Army contracted with the Trojan Powder Company to manufacture 2.4.6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), dinitrotoluene (DNT), and pentolite at Plum Brook Ordnance Works (PBOW). Production began on December 16, 1941 and continued through late 1945. During production more than one billion pounds of ordnance was manufactured. The Army conducted decontamination and decommissioning of many of the buildings and structures associated with the manufacturing of ordnance. It is estimated that 65% of the necessary decontamination of PBOW was completed by December 1945. At midnight on December 17, 1945, physical custody of the PBOW was transferred from the Trojan Powder Company to the U. S. Army Ordnance Department. Renamed Plum Brook Depot, it was used for ammunition storage. The Ordnance Department became the accountable agency and the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers assumed responsibility for maintenance and custodial duties at the PBOW from January 1 through June 30, 1946. The property was further decontaminated and then transferred to the War Assets Administration in August 1946. From 1946 to 1949 the property was protected and maintained by Matthew-Levio and Sons. In 1949 it was transferred to the General Services Administration which maintained oversight of the facility. Ravenna Arsenal conducted further decontamination efforts from 1954 to 1958. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) accepted approximately 8,400 acres of the facility in 1963 after Ravenna Arsenal certified that the PBOW had been completely decontaminated and was suitable for unrestricted future use. After acceptance of the PBOW, NASA identified further areas that required decontamination. In 1964, NASA continued site decontamination and the removal of structures. In 1978, NASA declared approximately 2,150 acres of land as excess. The Perkins Township Board of Education uses 46 of the excess acres as a bus transportation center while much of the remaining excess property was reclaimed for farmland. In 1994 the PBOW was determined to be eligible for the Defense Environmental Restoration Program for Formerly Used Defense Sites.