Fort Hancock Building 119

Fort Hancock Building 119

MIDDLETOWN, N.J. – The demolition of buildings 119 and 120 located within the Fort Hancock and Sandy Hook Proving Ground National Historic Landmark will begin on June 15. These historic buildings were flooded and extensively damaged during Hurricane Sandy. Buildings 119 and 120 were two of nearly one hundred temporary buildings constructed as part of the U.S. Army’s 700 series of temporary wooden buildings developed in response to the massive mobilization of World War II at Sandy Hook.

Prior to Sandy, Gateway National Recreation Area housed seasonal workers and volunteers in the buildings.  

The hurricane demonstrated that it was not sustainable to continue to use these buildings for housing, with their first floors being 3-4 feet below the 100-year-flood elevation and in a moderate wave action zone.

Building 102, a historic brick barracks associated with the Proving Ground and located in a higher, more flood-resistant location, was rehabilitated to replace the lost housing capacity.   

With extensive involvement from other governmental agencies and nonprofits interested in historic preservation, the National Park Service (NPS) considered alternatives to demolition including, relocation to higher ground, raising the buildings above the flood level, and leasing to a third party. However, all of these proved to be economically unfeasible.  Since there was no viable future use for 119 or 120 due to their susceptibility to flooding and post-storm condition, the NPS has determined that demolition was the most suitable option. The buildings have been thoroughly documented, using both still photography and 3D modeling. An interpretive wayside will be installed near the location of the buildings with a link to the 3D imaging.

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...