Picatinny Arsenal

Cultural Resources Program

Tree Near 117   Picatinny gates

Preserving Picatinny Arsenal's cultural and military heritage for future generations

'Military installations are a specialized subset of cultural landscapes where the principal force that shapes them is the military mission. These missions shape and reshape military land use areas over time. As military installations change in response to crises, they frequently appear as chaotic mixes of land-use areas and unrelated architectural styles, yet historical patterns often are visible to illustrate the installation's former missions'

Army Guidelines for Identifying and Evaluating Historic Military Landscapes:
An Integrated Landscape Approach by Suzanne Loechl, Samuel Batzli, Susan Enscore (1996)

Since its founding, Picatinny Arsenal has seen numerous tenants, missions, and needs making for an intricate and overlapping historic tapestry that is a testament to the military’s advancement of weapons and munitions. As missions ended and/or changed, the buildings and structures that were built to support those mission specific needs remained with no certain future use. The management of these historic properties is complex due to many operational constraints associated with restricted access areas, explosive safety arcs, high noise zones, unexploded ordnance areas, and various other environmental factors. Many of the planned missions coming to Picatinny Arsenal over the next several years are unable to reuse these obsolete buildings and structures due to contaminants and/or design. Tomorrow’s weapons systems are simply more advanced and complex, with unique needs for laboratory and research (as cited in the ACHP’s Summer 2009 Case Digest).

Cultural website - description

This website is an interactive outreach tool to recent and past Cultural Resource projects at U.S. Army Garrison, Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey (USAG Picatinny). Picatinny Arsenal is situated in the northwestern section of Morris County in the New Jersey Highlands near Dover. Picatinny Arsenal was established in 1880 as the Dover Powder Depot. Prior to its creation by the Federal government, this region had two (2) types of land use: prehistoric subsistence activities conducted by Native Americans demonstrated by the presence of prehistoric camp and rockshelter sites, and pre-Arsenal industrial and agricultural activities associated with iron mining and production endeavors during the Colonial Period by European-American settlers.

The New Jersey Highlands have been a focus of historical development and settlement since the early-18th Century, when the region's potential as an iron producer began to be exploited. The Green Pond Brook valley of Picatinny was the site of several iron forges, which operated from about 1750 until just after the Civil War. Land alterations associated with these forges includes the creation of both Lake Denmark and Picatinny Lake, as well as early historic tree-clearing and plowing related to both the erection of farmsteads and the making of charcoal for local forges and furnaces. The fires for these forges were extinguished prior to the conclusion of the Civil War when the related iron extraction industry was in decline. Initial construction activities at Picatinny Arsenal occurred in the 1880s when the Army began purchasing tracts of land in the vicinity of Picatinny Lake. Additional construction has proceeded through to the present as the installation has adapted its facilities to meet the demands of the military mission.

Picatinny Arsenal Timeline:

  • 1880-1902 - Army Powder Depot - storage phase
  • 1891- transferred 391 acres to the U.S. Navy for the establishment of the Lake Denmark Naval Ammunition Depot (PENDING AND UNDER CONSTRUCTION- weblink to historic research concerning Lake Denmark Naval Ammunition Depot’s history and the 1926 explosion- referenced below)
  • 1907 - Army's first smokeless powder plant established at Picatinny
  • 1907 through WW II - manufacturing phase, beginning of research and development work
  • 1926 - explosion at adjacent Lake Denmark Naval Ammunition Depot destroys much of Picatinny
  • 1927-late 1930s – rebuilding of Picatinny, with Works Progress Administration (WPA) contribution
  • WW II –expansion of administration, research, and production, with 18,000 employees
  • 1946 - rocket engine testing begins at the Naval Aeronautical Rocket Laboratory (former Lake Denmark Naval Ammunition Depot)
  • 1946 through 1970s - Cold War Era weapons and ammunition development
  • 1977 – Armament Research and Development Command established at Picatinny. The lead organization on Picatinny is now the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC).
  • Link to Picatinny Arsenal Historic Overview Homepage- https://www.pica.army.mil/Picatinny/about/history.aspx

Overall, the U.S. Army as a Federal Agency has management responsibilities concerning the protection and preservation of Cultural Resources on land it controls or uses. Federal laws and regulations authorizing the Army to undertake this responsibility include: National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA), as amended through 2000 (16 U.S.C. 470-470w-6) and 36 CFR 800 which includes the Section 106 and 110 processes, and the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979. Army Regulation 200-1 (December 2007), “Environmental Protection and Enhancement” and Dept. of Defense Instruction 4715.16 (September 2008), “Cultural Resource Management” dictate Army policy toward compliance with Cultural Resource laws and regulations.

dirt    house    house
park rocks
Further information On army sector
Further Information: -- Army Environmental Command, Cultural Resource Management- http://aec.army.mil/usaec/cultural/index.html
-- Historic Preservation: A Responsibility of Every Federal Agency- https://www.historicpreservation.gov/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=2212c3dd-1453-414f-bd8c-3494da7b4c2e&groupId=14502
-- Commander’s Guide to Stewardship of Cultural Resources
-- Army Cultural Resource Management, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation- http://www.achp.gov/army.html#crm
Section 106 Flowchart
-- Archaeology & the Importance of Sifting for Answers about Our Forgotten Past, 1996 Historic Preservation Planning Bulletin, NJ Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)
-- Secretary of Interior's Standards
-- Secretary of Interior's Standards- Buildings- http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/tps/tax/rhb/guide.htm
-- Secretary of Interior's Standards- Archaeology- http://www.nps.gov/history/local-law/arch_stnds_2.htm
-- NJ Historic Preservation Office- http://www.nj.gov/dep/hpo/

Cultural Resources and Historic Properties

Historic Research Documents
-- Installation History, 1931
-- Installation Archaeological Assessment, Public Archaeology Lab by Fitch and Glover, 1989
-- Annotated Bibliography of Documentary Reference Materials Relating to the Picatinny Arsenal Area Ironworks and the Historic Iron Industry of Morris County, New Jersey, by Morrell, 1995 -- Ironmaking Bloomery Forges at Picatinny, Rutsch, 1999
-- Images of America, Picatinny Arsenal by Rae, 1999- http://www.arcadiapublishing.com/9780738501963/Picatinny-Arsenal
-- Arsenal’s Historic Districts Bibliography and Links webpage

Management Documents and SHPO Consultation
-- Identification and Analysis of Wetlands, Floodplains Threatened and Endangered Species and Archaeological Geomorphology at Picatinny Arsenal, U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, 1996
-- Integrated Cultural Resource Management Plan 2001 Programmatic Environmental Assessment
-- Residential Community Initiative 2004 Programmatic Agreement for the management of Housing Quarters on Picatinny Arsenal, in which 5 units are Historic Properties eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
-- Integrated Cultural Resource Management Plan 2009-2013
-- USAG Picatinny has determined that the implementation of its Garrison’s Real Property Master Plan (RPMP) is an undertaking as defined in 36 CFR 800.16(y) of the NHPA. The plan includes:

Decision to Implement Army Alternate Procedures to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act
March 26th, 2008: USAG Picatinny began consultation efforts to implement Army Alternate Procedures (AAP). AAP is a streamlined procedure Army installations can elect to follow to satisfy the requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) set forth in 36 CFR Part 800. The AAP allows installations to implement standard operating procedures for historic properties in their Integrated Cultural Resource Management Plans and to implement actions for five years without formal project-by-project review by the SHPO.

   •  Construction and demolition undertakings to support military mission construction projects (currently totaling over 35 projects);

   •  Increase in operations and redevelopment of existing facilities to include the demolition of surplus buildings as part of the Army Facility Reduction Program (FRP) (currently totaling over 250 structures); and

   •  Development associated with the Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) initiative.

The RPMP at Picatinny has been in effect since 2004 and Section 106 requirements for these projects have been addressed on a case-by-case basis. The need for the RPMP Programmatic Agreement (PA) is to ease the installation’s consultation process for the FRP building demolition list as this demolition program affects a variety of structures within National Register Eligible Historic Districts. The majority of these historic districts are industrial facility complexes previously used for the manufacture and storage of explosives; this resulted in high levels of contamination throughout the buildings which have fallen into disrepair.

The signed RPMP FRP PA (May 17, 2010) moves away from traditional documentation practices (as described within the Secretary of Interior’s Standards as Historic American Building Surveys [HABS] and Historic American Engineering Record [HAER] documentation) and allows for the development of comprehensive user-friendly components for the public such as creation of historic district viewsheds (by GIS mapping and photography- complete), historic district signage (installed and complete), a regional/traveling temporary museum exhibit and display (exhibit pending completion with locations pending determination from Interested Parties), cultural landscape analyses (started in September 2012), and an interactive website (completed). Questions or comments please see contact information below.

Further Info:

-- Completed RPMP FRP PA
-- Advisory Council on Historic Preservation USAG Picatinny Case Digest
-- NJ SHPO Response Letter Identifying Consulting Parties
-- Arsenal's Historic Districts Administration and Research Historic District Homepage

USAG Picatinny has finalized their consultation efforts to implement Army Alternate Procedures (AAP). AAP is a streamlined procedure Army installations can elect to follow to satisfy the requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) set forth in 36 CFR Part 800. The AAP allows installations to implement standard operating procedures for historic properties in their Integrated Cultural Resource Management Plans and to implement actions for five years without formal project-by-project review by the SHPO.

-- Streamlines NHPA consultation with the NJ Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) programmatically, instead of on a case-by-case basis with public Stakeholders (i.e. Federally-recognized Tribes and interested regional historical organizations)
-- Implements better Standard Operating Procedures within the installation’s Integrated Cultural Resource Management Plan (link to ICRMP)
-- Improves stewardship and fundamental management of Historic Properties through the Historic Property Component Plan
-- Improves stewardship and fundamental management of Historic Properties through the Historic Property Component Plan
-- Aligns favorably with the military mission requirements and goals of completing projects efficiently
-- Army Environmental Command AAP Webpage- http://aec.army.mil/usaec/cultural/aap.html
-- ACHP link- http://www.achp.gov/army.html#aap
-- Alternate Procedures issued by ACHP- http://www.achp.gov/AAPfinal-4-16-04.pdf
-- ACHP link- Section 106 Regulations Federal Alternate Procedures- http://www.achp.gov/altpro.html
-- Letter to ACSIM, HQ 26 March 2008
-- Kick-off Meeting Presentation
-- Kick-off Meeting Minutes - 11 AUG 2008

-- If you like a copy of the Historic Property Component Plan of Picatinny’s implementation of AAP, please contact Jason Huggan at 973-724-3664 or jason.j.huggan.civ@mail.mil

According to Army HQ and NJ SHPO policy, all archaeological collections must be curated to meet 36 CFR 79. USAG Picatinny’s plan for curating archaeological collections is to renovate space on the installation to meet these Federal Standards.


Contact Info:
      Jason Huggan, M.A., R.P.A.
      Cultural Resource Manager/Garrison Archaeologist
      Bldg. 319, Environmental Affairs Division
      U.S. Army Garrison, Picatinny Arsenal, NJ 07806-5000

Lieut. Col. Odue C. Horney    rocket     explosives building with slide escape    Picatinny road