Established in 1940 by the Department of the Army, the 21,427 acre site was one of sixty plants at the onset of Word War II for the purpose of loading, assembling, and packing a variety of conventional ammunition, including medium and major-caliber projectiles, bombs, fuzes, boosters, primers, and percussion elements. It was owned by the government but a subsidiary of the Firestone Rubber Co. was the operating contractor. It was originally constructed as two installations - the Ravenna Ordinance Plant, for production, and the Portage Ordinance Depot, for storage - which were combined under one administration in 1943 and the name was changed to the Ravenna Arsenal. The small town in Ohio was chosen because of it's remote, non-coastal location, large tracts of land, suitable industrial work force, ample water supply, and excellent rail connections.
|During the construction period, farmhouses were used as field offices and temporary housing, barns served as warehouse facilities or were converted into garages for servicing machinery. An estimated 16,000 people worked 24/7 in order to open the plant on August 18, 1941. The buildings were grouped by function into separate 'Load Lines' and storage areas which were barricaded and separated from one another to avoid the possibility of a catastrophic incident due to fire/explosions. After WWII, The plant went into 'shutdown mode' but was renovated and reactivated during the Korean and Vietnam Wars to produce antitank mines and other new weaponry. In 1971 the arsenal went into another 'standby' mode and has been virtually vacant ever since but still continues some demilitarization projects. As of 1985 the facility comprised of 1371 buildings, 1275 of which date from World War II, we're not sure how many of these still exist. Today, the neighboring National Guard Post uses some of the property for training grounds.|
Change House - Load Line 4 (1983) and construction of Melt / Pour Building (1941)
Fuze Line 1 (1942)
Construction of Melt / Pour Building (1941) and Above Ground Magazine Building (1983)
Igloo type bunker
These photographs were taken from the 'Historic American Engineering Record' found at the Library of Congress
We would like to mention that we have never been on the property (a large barbed-wire fence surrounds the entire site) and have no intention to get inside due to obvious security and safety reasons. Given the current political state of the world we're sure it's very well secured and heavily monitored (rumors note hidden cameras in the surrounding trees, but we're not sure) We include information on the Arsenal as a matter of curiosity due to the interesting history and forgotten nature of the site.