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During the Second World War, the federal government built the $50 million Susquehanna Ordnance Depot to make TNT on 8,500 acres (3,400 ha), partially in the White Deer Hole Creek watershed.
In the spring of 1942, residents were evicted by eminent domain from 163 farms and 47 other properties in Gregg Township in Union County and Brady, Clinton, and Washington Townships in Lycoming County. The village of Alvira in Gregg Township disappeared. Alvira was founded in 1825 as “Wisetown” and had 100 inhabitants by 1900. Although the inhabitants were told they could return after the war, almost all the buildings seized were razed. Only some cemeteries and the nearby “Stone Church” remain.
Construction of the plant involved some 10,000 people, and it took 3,500 to 4,500 employees to run the plant with its more than 200 buildings and 149 storage bunkers for TNT and high explosives, as well as storage racks of bombs. However, the need for TNT was lower than originally estimated and the project was nearly abandoned. By 1945, the only workers left at the depot were guards.