Incredible researcher and smart cookie Mark Hardin has made another remarkable discovery. He found an advertisement (dated October 1922) in the Richmond Times Dispatch, offering the Village of Penniman for sale.
By this time, most of the contents of the WW1 munitions plant had been sold off (per the terms of a contract between DuPont and the U. S. Government [dated December 1917]). All proceeds went to the U. S. Government.
There’s still so much I don’t know about Penniman, but in this advertisement, I found something mentioned that took my breath away. It said, “Full particulars regarding the offerings…and other details of this auction will be found in the catalogs which may be obtained from Philadelphia District Ordnance Salvage Board, Frankford Arsenal.”
Be still my heart.
If anyone has any idea where I might find these catalogs, please let me know.
To learn more about this amazing “Ghost City,” click here.
To read about how Norfolk got tangled up with Penniman, click here.
Where are these catalogs now? (Richmond Times Dispatch, 10.28.1922)
At its peak, there were 15,000 people in Penniman. This is just one small piece of a massive panorama showing the village of Penniman. That's the York River in the background. (Photo is courtesy Hagley Museum and Library.)
The building of Penniman began in Spring 1916. Judging from the old photos, the laborers who built Penniman were overwhelmingly African-Americans. The laborers who toiled in the air-less bunkers, loading powdery, yellow TNT into 155-mm shells were mostly women. (Photo is courtesy Hagley Museum and Library.)
The first "salvage" ad that I've found appeared March 10, 1921 in the Virginia Gazette.
The best salvage ad is this one (Richmond Times Dispatch, October 23, 1921). Lots of detail, including the costs of these various structures. (Thanks to Mike Powell for finding this ad!)
An article in the Newport News Times Herald said, "Penniman was not erased; it was dispersed" (September 5, 1983). Shown here is a DuPont design, "The Denver." There were many Denvers at Penniman, and several of them were moved to Williamsburg. Unfortunately, most of them have been torn down.
This Denver, which now rests on Capital Landing Road, originally came from Penniman.
Just last month, I had the good fortune to find this late 1910s catalog of Dupont designs. On the cover, it shows a Denver in a bucolic setting, with a DuPont plant in the background.
If you have any idea where I might find these catalogs, please let me know.
To learn more about Penniman, click here.
To read about how I became involved with Penniman, click here.
Was your great-grandfather stationed at Penniman? Click here to find out.
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