After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, the United States was determined to ramp up production of necessary war materials, at all costs.
To this end, in the spring of 1942 the federal government seized the small village of Alvira, Pennsylvania, and after kicking out the populace, razed almost every building in the village to build the Susquehanna Ordnance Depot. One of the most interesting features of the depot were the 149 concrete, “igloo-style” bunkers used for stable storage of explosive materials. Soon it was realized that the need for TNT had been overestimated, and the depot actually sat idle through the last years of World War II. Ownership of the land was broken up over the years with sections given to military testing and correctional facilities, but the land where the concrete bunkers were built was returned to the State of Pennsylvania and designated as game land.
Drive into the public game lands and the concrete bunkers sit just beside the main road. Many of the bunkers are hidden by brush or almost entirely covered by foliage during the warmer months. The majority of the easily accessible bunkers are welded or locked shut, but some were left open. Most of the open bunkers have been vandalized and most contain at least one or two fascinating piles of junk.
For the diligent explorer there are also a few remains of the old village of Alvira in the game lands- easily found are the remaining cemeteries, but explore a little and one comes across stone foundations from some of the larger buildings of Alvira that were mercilessly torn down.
Visitors to the game lands are warned to beware as the bunkers are located on active hunting grounds and are patrolled by rangers who will cite any potential bunker busters.
Know Before You Go
From US 15, take PA 44 West for 4.3 miles and turn right on Mill Road. Go 1.4 miles and turn right on Alvira Road. This leads into the game lands where there are numerous places to park and hike into the game lands.