Other NJ News

Hillsborough: Landmark Water Tower Along Route 206 Torn Down and Dismantled

c95f1313797084c001a9_hillspixtowersideways.JPG
The water tower on the ground Wednesday morning. Credits: Rod Hirsch
295f12162fcec3d1de72_hillspixtowerspaceship__1_.JPG
Looking like a satellite that came crashing to Earth, the late afternoon sun on Wednesday casts an eerie glow on the top of the water tower which is being cut up for scrap. Credits: Rod Hirsch
019829c9e880c071de3a_hillspixtowerstanding.JPG
The water tower just three hours before it tumbled to the ground Credits: Rod Hirsch
18e812ae407e9165b6c7_sompixtowercut.JPG
Work crews use heavy equipment to rip apart the steel legs and support beams. Credits: Rod Hirsch
c6f5fd9472f69208d329_hillspixtowerdebris__1_.JPG
The water tower was quickly reduced to a pile of scrap steel Credits: Rod Hirsch
7ddeba8bb76d78419604_hillspixtowergoingup__1_.JPG
Workers begin a visual inspection of the steel structure on Monday, 24 hours before the tower was leveled. Credits: Rod Hirsch
4f4b4e882b0e82a06ec8_hillspixtowerplane.JPG
A private airplane from nearby Central Jersey Airport flies over the tower on Monday. Credits: Rod Hirsch
f100548f62ab2064ff91_hillspixvetindparknewbuildingCBRE.jpg
A 700,000 square-foot logistics center will be built at Veterans Industrial Park in Hillsborough by a Los Angeles commercial real estate developer.
220e47c8d92d3c442da0_hillspixroyalcabinet1.jpg
The water tower looms over the devastation left behind by the February, 2016 fire that destroyed 500,000 square feet of warehouse space at Veterans Industrial Park. Credits: Rod Hirsch/Tapinto file photo
bc5beac8d33e5c0d13ff_hillspixfirevote1.JPG
Fire spreads through the warehouse complex at Veterans Industrial Park in February, 2016. Credits: Rod Hirsch/Tapinto file photo
b672102757631e45e22b_hillspixfireflag__1_.JPG
The water tower is shrouded by the thick black smoke that spread for more than 50 miles during the February, 2016 warehouse fire at Veterans Industrial Park. Credits: Rod Hirsch/Tapinto file photo
c95f1313797084c001a9_hillspixtowersideways.JPG

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – Looming over the former GSA complex along Route 206 since World War II, the water storage tower had grown obsolete years ago.

It had always been a roost for pigeons, hawks and other birds of prey, affording an expansive view of the township, nearby Manville and beyond. In more recent years, it had sprouted an odd assortment of satellite dishes and repeaters used by emergency services and commercial interests.

The landmark had long been a reference point for out-of-town truckers and millions of motorists who drove north and south on the state highway. 

Sign Up for E-News

The faded blue steel structure had stood as a sentry and witness to history, until 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night when the massive structure tumbled to the ground in the midst of a pelting rain, accompanied by a racket that sounded as if a freight train had derailed.

Work crews had been preparing the site for more than a week, clearing out trees and fences where the tower would fall.  Sparks began to fly at dusk Tuesday as workers used cutting torches to weaken the support beams.

By mid-afternoon Wednesday, the tower’s support beams were a twisted mass of rusting steel; the huge water tank sat on its side, with gaping holes caused by the huge cutting shears of the heavy-duty equipment brought in to clean up the jumbled pile of struts and beams.

The demolition of the rusted tower at Veterans Industrial Park is part of a reclamation project at the sprawling warehouse complex following a massive fire in February, 2016 that leveled two warehouses at the property owned by the US Veterans Administration.

It took 19 hours before the massive blaze was declared under control, with hundreds of firefighters from more than 90 companies as far away as Pennsylvania helping to contain the blaze, which sent billowing black clouds of smoke out over the Atlantic Ocean.

Investigators from the federal government, New Jersey, Somerset County and Hillsborough spent months sifting through the rubble and conducting interviews in an attempt to determine the cause of the fire, which caused an estimated $50 million in losses. They were unable to pinpoint the cause, although the official investigation ruled out any criminal intent.

Work crews have been busting up the concrete slabs of the old warehouses, crushing and recycling the material which is now being used as part of the foundation and new footprint for a planned 700,000 square-foot Class A industrial building to be known as Midpoint Logistics Center.

The new complex is being developed by Industrial Realty Group, located in Los Angeles, a national commercial real estate development and investment firm. The CBRE Group has been retained as the leasing agency for the property. A small CBRE billboard at the entrance of the property advertises the availability of   leases to multiple tenants.

Construction has yet to begin.

The federal government bought the property in the early days of World War II, and soon, a sprawling complex of warehouses and storage facilities spread across the expansive 369-acre property; more than 2,500 people worked at the facility, in addition to military personnel.

Prisoners of War from Italy, and later Germany were housed in the barracks; on Sundays, there were supervised picnics on the grounds, with Italian relatives from Manville and surrounding towns invited to spend the day with the POWs.

In later years, the federal government stored precious metals on the secured site, while continuing to add to its stockpile of mercury stored at what had become known as the Defense Logistics Agency Depot. The federal government stored about 12,500 55-gallon drums of mercury at the site during World War II and continued adding to it over the years.

Hillsborough was finally able to convince the government to remove the mercury in December, 2010; the stockpile was transported by rail to Nevada.

Portions of the original property were purchased by Hillsborough Township and Somerset County in 2009 when it was declared government surplus.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Milltown/Spotswood

Murder/Suicide in Edison Leaves Father and Son Dead

April 24, 2018

EDISON, NJ -  A confirmed homicide/suicide event occurred yesterday in Edison that involved a father and son in the home they shared.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey and Chief Thomas Bryan of the Edison Police Department announced today that police are investigating a shooting in which an Edison man apparently shot and killed his son, and then killed himself, says a release ...

Women Need Better Treatment Behind Bars, Lawmakers Say

April 24, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - Middlesex County Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) held a roundtable discussion Monday with criminal justice reform advocates and formally incarcerated women to discuss legislation Lopez and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle are introducing, modeled after legislation Booker introduced in the Senate, to reform the way women are treated behind ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, May 2, 6:00 PM

New Providence

Our Lady of Peace Country Fair

Thu, May 3, 6:00 PM

New Providence

Our Lady of Peace Country Fair

Fri, May 4, 8:00 AM

Burgdorff Center for Performing Arts, Maplewood

A Midsummers Night's Dream

Lake Placid Horse Shows To Name Ring In Honor of Kiki Umla

April 23, 2018

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — The Lake Placid Horse Show Association has initiated plans to expand riding areas at the North Elba Showgrounds to provide exhibitors with more space for riding during the annual Lake Placid Horse Shows. The 2018 Lake Placid Horse Shows, presented by Sea Shore Stables, LLC and sponsored by Bainbridge Farms, LLC, return June 26 to July 8 at the shows' world-class ...

Travels Jersey Shore Seal Sighting on Spring Lake Beach

April 23, 2018

SPRING LAKE, NJ — Another seal came ashore — this time at the jetty on the south end of Spring Lake's beach.

Photographer Nancy Orlowski was walking the beachfront when she spotted this seal at about 3 p.m. on April 18 and took these real-time animated photos. It’s not known whether it returned to the ocean.

On April 12, a harp seal made its way onto Belmar's Fifth ...

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (Citadel Press, 1970)

 

How does a reviewer do justice to a book called “the great American novel”? I first read Johnny Got His Gun during the Viet Nam war, when young people, nationwide, were protesting fighting in a war that was a senseless waste of life; a war in which the United States had no business participating.

The Truth About My Reading

The Truth About My Reading

I didn't get my Composition and Literature teacher at Montclair State College at all. A crusty old man with a dour disposition, Mr. Smith always seemed angry and rude. He appropriately intimidated freshmen, even me, an English major, who found this common core course beneath my dignity. Frankly, as a graduate of Highland Park High School, and a survivor of Mrs.

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse

By LIZ KEILL

MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...