Alvira, Pennsylvania, is a ghost town with a haunting history of a once-bustling community. This forgotten village was once home to a blacksmith shop, several stores, and three churches. However, after World War II, the United States government took over the town to make way for a munitions storage facility and TNT factory. The residents were forced to leave, and the village of Alvira disappeared.
Today, Alvira is a ghost town located within State Game Lands 252, with many of its old munition bunkers and concrete bunkers still standing. The haunting history of Alvira, PA, is a story of a town that was taken over by the government, leaving its residents without a home.
Despite its abandonment, the town still holds remnants of its past that allow visitors to glimpse into its once-thriving community. The concrete bunkers and munition bunkers that were once used for storing weapons now stand as a reminder of the town’s past.
In this article, we will delve into the history of Alvira, PA, exploring its past, attractions, and infrastructure. By the end of this article, you will better understand the history of this ghost town and why it is an essential location for anyone interested in history or abandoned places.
- Alvira was founded in 1825 and had a population of 100 by 1900. It contained a blacksmith shop, school, post office, several shops, and three churches.
- AFTER WORLD WAR II, the US government took over the town to accommodate a munitions storage facility and TNT factory, evicting residents from 163 farms and 47 other properties in the surrounding areas.
- The remaining land became State Game Lands 252, and now contains old munition bunkers, three cemeteries, two old church foundations, and several house foundations.
- The TNT factory still operates behind the walls of a nearby prison and houses minimum security prisoners. The storage bunkers were designed to explode upward instead of outward in case of accidental explosions.
Location and Climate
Alvira, a ghost town located about 4 miles to the northwest of Allenwood, PA in Union County, offers a unique experience for those interested in exploring nature and the outdoors.
The town experiences hot summers and snow in the winter, making spring and early fall the best times to visit.
Visitors can enjoy the pleasant weather to engage in outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and fishing in the nearby waterways.
The state game lands that now occupy the town allow visitors to observe wildlife and explore the remnants of the town’s past.
The land is home to various flora and fauna, including white-tailed deer, black bears, wild turkeys, and bald eagles.
Additionally, the old munition bunkers and cemeteries that remain in the town offer a glimpse into Alvira’s history and add to the eerie atmosphere of the abandoned town.
History and Eviction
The area formerly known as Wisetown experienced a significant population increase by 1900, with the establishment of various amenities such as a blacksmith shop, several shops, a school, post office, and three churches.
However, the town’s history worsened during World War II when the US government took over approximately 8,500 acres of land to accommodate a munitions storage facility and TNT factory.
This led to the displacement of 163 farms and 47 other properties in Gregg Township in Union County and Brady, Clinton, and Washington Townships in Lycoming County, resulting in the eviction of the residents by eminent domain.
The village of Alvira in Gregg Township disappeared due to the government takeover, and the remaining 3,018 acres were given to Pennsylvania and became State Game Lands 252.
The town of Alvira now sits within the state game lands, and while two cemeteries and several old foundations remain intact, the once-thriving community has become a ghost town, bearing testimony to the unfortunate displacement of residents due to the government’s actions.
Attractions and Infrastructure
One notable aspect of the former munitions storage facility and TNT factory in Union County is the presence of 149 concrete bunkers that still remain on the land. These bunkers, built as igloos with thick walls, were designed to explode upward instead of outward in the event of an accidental explosion.
Today, they are a haunting reminder of the town’s past and a popular destination for urban explorers.
Another unique feature of Alvira is the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ minimum security prison, which now occupies the former TNT factory. The factory sits behind the prison walls, and visitors can catch a glimpse of it while exploring the bunkers.
The army Corps of Engineers also built a sewage treatment plant with two water treatment plants and paved roads to accommodate the industrial unit.
Despite its dark past, Alvira’s attractions and infrastructure make it an intriguing destination for those interested in history and urban exploration.
Frequently Asked Questions
What was the purpose of the munitions storage facility and TNT factory that took over Alvira?
The US government took over Alvira in 1942 to establish a munitions storage facility and TNT production plant. The purpose was to accommodate the industrial unit and test weapons. The land was later used for State Game Lands 252.
What happened to the residents who were evicted from their homes in Alvira?
The residents of Alvira were evicted by eminent domain from 163 farms and 47 other properties in Union and Lycoming counties. This community displacement left the town devoid of inhabitants and erased the village of Alvira from existence.
Is it safe to visit Alvira during hunting season?
Visiting precautions should be taken when visiting Alvira during hunting season as it is located in an area where hunting is popular. Following hunting regulations and wearing bright clothing is important to ensure safety.
What is the significance of the sewage treatment plant and water treatment plants built by the Army Corps of Engineers in Alvira?
As the Army Corps of Engineers built sewage treatment and water treatment plants in Alvira, they aimed to facilitate the industrial unit. These plants have significantly impacted the environment and community, reducing pollution and providing clean water.
Are there any plans to develop or re-purpose the land in Alvira in the future?
There are no current plans for future development or re-purposing of the land in Alvira. The area remains under the management of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, with the focus on land use for conservation and hunting.