Days of Yore
as recounted by

Bill Day


It Was Amatol Then
Motoring down the White Horse Pike past the New Jersey State Police Barracks on the left side of the pike near Hammonton, not many remember or probably ever knew that the headquarters building was once the administrative building of a huge munitions depot and ordinance plant during World War I.

Several thousand employees lived in a town there. The plant and town were known as Amatol.

When the Armistice was signed, the plant was closed and the workers moved, and eventually the entire tract was dismantled.  A while later, the government laid plans to utilize the acreage for zeppelin experiments. However, the program never materialized and the land reverted back to pineland until 1926.

Charles W. Schwab, an industrialist, selected Amatol to be the site of a wooden oval auto racing track. He meant it to be competition for the Indianapolis Speedway. Mr. Schwab spent over a million dollars to construct the huge track and a grandstand all of wood. He spared nothing to insure that Amatol would be a car racing center in the nation.

In the spring of 1926, the first event was scheduled. The 500-mile race was held before several thousand spectators. For two years races were run regularly, but then Mr. Schwab's interest in racing waned. After that for a time, auto companies used the track for testing purposes, but this too, was only a short duration.

The wooden oval deteriorated and the entire project was torn down and the lumber sold.

If Mr. Schwab had not lost his interest in the Amatol Race Track there near Hammonton, South Jersey might now be a nationally known speed racing center instead of a New Jersey Police Barracks. Homepage
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