Coming to a town near you

Coming to a town near you

There are 12 comments on the High Plains Journal story from Dec 6, 2006, titled Coming to a town near you. In it, High Plains Journal reports that:

I do spend a lot of time encouraging individuals to stand up and speak out for what they believe in.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at High Plains Journal.

Gary Goodman

Hudson, OH

#1 Jan 31, 2007
"Eminent domain" -- an interesting term describing just exactly what this "Land of the free" can do to its citizens and their land. And if you think for a minute that it can't happen in Kim, Colorado, talk to someone that once lived in Alvira, Pennsylvania...if you can find anyone left. Oh yes, the small town of Alvira was predominantly a farm community whose inhabitants were forced off their land by the Government of these United States --land that in many cases had been in their families for several generations. What for?-- To house ammunition bunkers to support another war -- World War II. They told the people of Alvira that their land was essential (like the only place in the United States?), to build government ammunition storage bunkers and the peaceful people of Alvira were given approximately one month to vacate their premises and locate other domicile. That was in 1942 and this is the true story of what happened to that very real Pennsylvania farming community of Alvira.

Yes, in 1942 the Government decided that Alvira was the "perfect place" to build munitions storage bunkers. And because this was during a time of war, they gave the people 30 days to move. Yes, that was it, 30 days. So without any choice in the matter, Alvira was evacuated. But that's not all. ALL of the houses that had once stood there were leveled by the Government and the only thing that remains of the original town are two old cemeteries, and what is left of two old church foundations. In fact, just about the only way one would even know that the town had actually been there, is by the name of the road that leads into the area we visited... Alvira Road.

So ask the Government about Alvira, Pennsylvania -- and don't let the same thing happen...to Kim, Colorado.
Gary Goodman

Hudson, OH

#2 Jan 31, 2007
And here's about the only thing that you will find (other than Alvira "ghost town" info), on the internet suggesting that the town of Alvira, Pennsylvania even existed:

"Early Rumblings, 1942-72: Alvira, the Susquehanna Ordnance Depot, and the Lycoming Landfill
Organizations United for the Environment (OUE), a grassroots organization now in its third decade, had its earliest roots in the spring of 1942 when, through a particularly crude form of eminent domain, the United States government seized 8,500 acres of land in the Central Susquehanna Valley. This area, located in adjoining Lycoming and Union Counties, included the entire community of Alvira, and the government seized it to build a massive plant for producing and storing TNT. Alvira was a small farming community of about 100 people and included a post office, two stores, a blacksmith shop, a schoolhouse, and two churches. When the government's plans became public in early 1942, 350 local citizens met in Alvira's Stone Church to organize a protest, and several hundred area citizens petitioned the government not to "break up" their homes or "desecrate" their churches; some of these also filed law suits. Nonetheless, the petition, law suits, and the angry cries were ignored, and in March, 1942, citizens owning properties within the 8,500 acres were summoned to the Stone Church and told these properties would be seized, and paid for at market rates. Government "real estate offices" were set up in nearby Williamsport to take care of the transactions. Eventually, 210 properties, including 163 farms, were taken by the government, and the people living in the seized area were told to vacate their properties as soon as possible. By April, construction had started on the Depot, and by June the last of Alvira's citizens had been evicted.
One of the most compelling aspects of this event, and the part that still heavily influences local opinion about many matters, is that at the meeting at the Stone Church, federal officials promised the evicted families the option to repurchase their land after the war. However, this opportunity actually never materialized after the war was over, and because most of the farms had been in families for generations, the evictions and the false promises produced an anger particularly difficult to swallow. Indeed, one family was living on land passed to it by ancestors who were granted it for serving in the Revolutionary War. Without doubt, for people in the area these events produced a stunning combination of government fiat and duplicity that introduced them to another, darker side of the government they had not known. They would find more dark sides as time marched forward.(to be continued)...
Gary Goodman

Hudson, OH

#3 Jan 31, 2007
The TNT plant was a massive operation. It included over 200 buildings, including its own sewage treatment and power plants, 150 concrete bunkers for storing the TNT, and ultimately employed over 10,000 people. However, by the time the plant was fully operational in 1944 the need for TNT had so declined that before long its production ceased. Until the end of the war, the site was used for storing munitions on their way from the European campaign to the one still going on in Asia. Parts of the original site still contain concrete bunkers and other noticeable remnants of the Depot, and some OUE members believe that these remains include toxic pollutants beneath the surface. In 1950, rather than keeping its promise to sell the land back to Alvira's farmers and shopkeepers, the government ceded 4,200 acres to the the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). In 1952 the BOP began housing about 150 low security inmates from nearby Lewisburg federal penitentiary, and in 1957 the Allenwood Prison Camp was built to house a larger population of low security prisoners. Some 3,000 acres were given to the state of Pennsylvania to be used as game lands, and enough acreage was sold to the township of White Deer to build a golf course. In the early 1990s, the BOP decided to use most of its 4,000 acres to build the nation's largest federal prison facility, a prison..."
Gary Goodman

Hudson, OH

#4 Jan 31, 2007
Early Rumblings, 1942-72: Alvira, the Susquehanna Ordnance Depot, and the Lycoming Landfill

Organizations United for the Environment (OUE), a grassroots organization now in its third decade, had its earliest roots in the spring of 1942 when, through a particularly crude form of eminent domain, the United States government seized 8,500 acres of land in the Central Susquehanna Valley. This area, located in adjoining Lycoming and Union Counties, included the entire community of Alvira, and the government seized it to build a massive plant for producing and storing TNT. Alvira was a small farming community of about 100 people and included a post office, two stores, a blacksmith shop, a schoolhouse, and two churches. When the government's plans became public in early 1942, 350 local citizens met in Alvira's Stone Church to organize a protest, and several hundred area citizens petitioned the government not to "break up" their homes or "desecrate" their churches; some of these also filed law suits. Nonetheless, the petition, law suits, and the angry cries were ignored, and in March, 1942, citizens owning properties within the 8,500 acres were summoned to the Stone Church and told these properties would be seized, and paid for at market rates. Government "real estate offices" were set up in nearby Williamsport to take care of the transactions. Eventually, 210 properties, including 163 farms, were taken by the government, and the people living in the seized area were told to vacate their properties as soon as possible. By April, construction had started on the Depot, and by June the last of Alvira's citizens had been evicted.
One of the most compelling aspects of this event, and the part that still heavily influences local opinion about many matters, is that at the meeting at the Stone Church, federal officials promised the evicted families the option to repurchase their land after the war. However, this opportunity actually never materialized after the war was over, and because most of the farms had been in families for generations, the evictions and the false promises produced an anger particularly difficult to swallow. Indeed, one family was living on land passed to it by ancestors who were granted it for serving in the Revolutionary War. Without doubt, for people in the area these events produced a stunning combination of government fiat and duplicity that introduced them to another, darker side of the government they had not known. They would find more dark sides as time marched forward.
Gary Goodman

Hudson, OH

#5 Jan 31, 2007
Please excuse the inadvertent double post...but in all of this it should bring the point across abundantly clear. And by the way, I lived in Denver, Colorado for about two years and even visited, quite by accident, Kim once.
Rodney Lynch Jr

Charlotte, NC

#6 Jun 27, 2008
I grew up about 1/4 mil from the entrance to Alvira, we have the large dairy farm out there, its nice to see there is someone who knows the history!
Bob Smith

Wilmington, DE

#7 Jul 9, 2008
Gary Goodman wrote:
Please excuse the inadvertent double post...but in all of this it should bring the point across abundantly clear. And by the way, I lived in Denver, Colorado for about two years and even visited, quite by accident, Kim once.
Alvira is haunted. Not even joking. Stuff happened to my friends and I the past few times we were there.
Daniel P Yoder

Port Charlotte, FL

#8 Aug 9, 2008
I grow up in Montoursville, PA. As a kid I hunted there. As an teenager I party there. Now as an adult I am doing research of the area and place. I you have more information, please email me at [email protected]
GJenkins

Watsontown, PA

#9 Aug 25, 2008
For those of you who are interested, The Montgomery Area Historical society is hosting an Alvira Reunion next June (2009) in Alvira. There will be several historical tours (walking and riding), a text/photo book commemorating Alvira, and much more.
thomas rigel

AOL

#10 Jun 17, 2009
GJenkins wrote:
For those of you who are interested, The Montgomery Area Historical society is hosting an Alvira Reunion next June (2009) in Alvira. There will be several historical tours (walking and riding), a text/photo book commemorating Alvira, and much more.
its june 20th at 11;30 am to 6 pm...
redjb8

Muncy, PA

#11 Jun 22, 2009
Daniel P Yoder wrote:
I grow up in Montoursville, PA. As a kid I hunted there. As an teenager I party there. Now as an adult I am doing research of the area and place. I you have more information, please email me at [email protected]
my fathers mother and father were one of the families evicted from alvira.I am interestd in researching the town but dont know where to start.
Michele Yoder

Fallon, NV

#12 Oct 17, 2010
I too am from the Yoder family that lived in Alvira. I am also doing research too.

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