U. S. Picric Acid Plant Ruins, Circa 1917, Brunswick

Jim Morrison graffiti, U. S. Picric Acid Plant, Brunswick

Known as “The Factory that Never Was”, this place looks more like something one would encounter under a freeway in New York or Los Angeles than in Coastal Georgia.

As America entered World War I in 1917, construction began on a factory at the site with the purpose of manufacturing picric acid, then vital to the manufacture of explosives.

It was to employ 5000 during the construction process and 6000 during operation and promised an economic boom for the community.

But the signing of the Versailles Treaty on 11 November 1918 put an end to the war and an end to the U. S. Picric Acid Plant in Brunswick.

Construction was halted immediately and the site was abandoned, just a month shy of completion.

It’s been suggested that the remains seen here were multi-level, built for the separation of chemicals used in the process.

Over the years large sections were demolished and this is all that remains, to my knowledge.

A partial chimney, visible from I-95, was also part of the operation. (Not pictured).

I understand that another section remains nearby in the woods, overgrown to the point of obliteration, but I’m not looking for them so I cannot confirm either way.

5 thoughts on “U. S. Picric Acid Plant Ruins, Circa 1917, Brunswick

  1. lparisss

    Hi. I lived directly across the street from the picnic factory when I was 8-9 years old. This was in 1968-69. These were my fondest childhood memories. My group of friends would all congregate there (barefoot) early each morning. Those were the days when you went outside to play and did not come home until dark.
    We would hop up on the wall and then jump from column to column (a very small ledge so no room for error!)
    It breaks my heart to see all the graffiti. I am just glad to have found these photos. Thank you immensely for the pics.
    Gratefully yours

  2. Ben

    Thanks for the very interesting post Brian. This appears to be a rather early reinforced concrete structure. My office is in and old cotton warehouse in Atlanta built is 1912 which is supposedly the first major reinforced concrete structure in the city. It was built as a 3 story building and where portions of floor slab have been removed to admit light it can be seen that the reinforcing bars are square rather than round as in modern structures. I wonder if there are any places in this building where the bars are exposed?

    1. lparisss

      I don’t recall any bars. That was 52 years ago when I played there. The best childhood memories were playing there. I lived across the street.


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