The above is a black and white schematic of my first route. The Ravenna Arsenal was located between Ravenna and Newton Falls, Ohio. The mobilization efforts for World War I had presented extremely difficult logistical problems for American industry. After the war, the government vowed never to find itself in a similar situation, and in 1920 the National Defense Act was passed. One aspect of that act was that the War Department could coordinate all arms production so that the military branches would not have to compete.
By the late 1930s, it was becoming increasingly clear that the United States was going to become involved in European affairs at some level even if it were just with its manufacturing capabilities. Recognizing this, the Ordnance Department had been working on a plan since the mid-30s.
Still, by 1940 the nation felt ill-prepared for the new war. The government responded by establishing facilities to supply ordnance for the armed services and the 43 allied nations. Eventually, 77 of these facilities would be built to produce tanks, guns, explosives, and chemicals. All were built between August 1940 and November 1942.
In northeast Ohio, 250 Portage County farm families were “bought out” by the government in July and August of 1940, told to sell everything they couldn’t take, and given 30 days to leave.
Within a couple of months, 16,000 workers would be working around the clock in an area the size of Youngstown building a city from the ground up.
The Ravenna Arsenal was constructed primarily to load medium- and major caliber artillery ammunition, bombs, mines, fuses, boosters, primers, and percussion elements, and to store finished ammunition and ammunition components. It was one of the largest, if not the largest, of the facilities built for World War II. The first artillery shells began coming off the production line in August 1941, barely 10 months after the fields of wheat, corn, and hay were abandoned.
I will be working from schematics and sketches from the original plans as well as Google Map overlays of how the area is today. It is my intent to develop it as it was when it was in use during the 1940s and 1950s.