Curtis Wright Aircraft Facility

The CW facility consists of over 2 dozen buildings on 140 acres of property. One building alone covers 30 acres. If this doesn’t convey the size of this property, then this will: the CW property occupies 1/3 of the entire town of Woodridge. In this facility, airplane engines were designed, tested, and built, leading to other design and assembly processes, such as engines for nuclear submarines. This facility was one of many owned by the CW Corporation, all of which were essential to the US during WW II (most of the aircraft used in WW II used CW engines).

CW was named after its founders, Glenn Curtis and the Wright Brothers. Wilbur & Orville Wright, two bicycle shop workers from Ohio, made the world’s first airplane flight in 1903. Over the next few years they improved their design to the point where flights of up to 24 miles could readily be achieved. This was a huge improvement over the hundred yard flight they made at Kitty hawk, NC in 1903. In 1909 they attended the first ever aviation meet in Europe and to their surprise they competed and lost to an aviator named Glenn Curtis. Curtis had worked with Alexander Graham Bell as part of Bell’s Aerial Experiment Association. Financed by Bell, the Association sought build a usable aircraft. Bell conceived what would eventually be called the aerilon, although the Wrights would get into a patent dispute over this design element that would last for years. Curtis went on to found his own company, the Curtis Aeroplane and Motor company, which came to become the largest aircraft manufacturer during WW I, at one point producing 100 aircraft in a single week, and over 10,000 during the course of the war.

By 1919, Wright Aeronautical was no longer run by the Wrights. Wilbur had died in 1912 of Typhoid fever, and Orville had lost interest in the company, but was still designing with a focus on engines, not on the aircraft as a whole. Wright Aeronautical merged with Lawrence Aero Engine Corporation and in 1927 Charles Lindbergh flew one of their planes, “The Spirit of St Louis” across the Atlantic. Within 2 years, Curtis Aeroplane and Motor Company and Wright Aeronautical merged to form Curtis Wright.

During the 30’s the corporation forged many new design elements in aircraft engines, including the air cooled engine and the radial engine. CW was eventually tapped to design the engines for the B-17 flying fortress. Eventually they began designing the aircraft themselves and soon were given the largest peacetime aircraft order ever placed: They built the Curtis P36 Hawk Fighter and it successor the P40 Warhawk which was used extensively in WWII. As jet fighters became the norm, CW withdrew from building aircraft and focused solely on engines.

CW engines could soon be found on commercial planes such as the Douglas DEC models and the Lockheed Super Constellation. By the 1950’s propeller driven civilian airplanes were giving way to the jet engine much like they had in military aircraft. CW was forced to transform itself to avoid obsolescence. They began manufacturing plastics, nuclear rod control equipment, and in the 60’s developed sophisticated electronics for the space industry. They also continued working on hydraulics, actuators, and later, safety and relief values used in submarines. by the 70’s CW helped further develop the Wankel rotary engine which wound up powering the Mazda RX-7. In the 80’s the company continued to expand the lineup of components, providing machinery for nuclear power plants as well as nuclear powered Navy ships. As of now there are 3 main divisions at CW: motion control such as actuators are sold primarily to the aerospace and airline industries. Metal treatment and flow control are the other divisions. They supply parts and machinery to chemical companies, nuclear facilities and the US Navy.

CW’s ties to NJ begin with an automobile company called Simplex, in New Brunswick. This company merged with Wright in 1915. Together Wright-Martin manufactured many airplane engines in New Brunswick and most European Allies used them in their fighters. During WWI Wright-Martin employed 15,000 people, but by the end of the war, government contracts ended and the work force dropped to a mere 300. The company moved the remaining operations to Paterson. The partnership dissolved and Martin went on to be a successful airplane manufacturer. Meanwhile Curtis’s Corporation was taking orders from England for flying boats, as were the US Navy and Army. A manufacturing plant opened in Buffalo and in Toronto. Curtis & Wright merged in 1929 and by the end of the 30’s had facilities across the country, including one in Patterson, and a propeller division in Clifton, NJ which eventually moved to Caldwell. The Paterson plant would eventually expand to Woodridge at the start of WW II.

In researching this article I spoke with several local residents as well as Mayor Paul Sarlo who filled in the blanks on the history of CW as related to the town of Woodridge, as well as the future of the property. The facility in Woodridge employed at its peak over 27,000 people and functioned 24 hours a day in what could best be described as a mini city. On CW property was a hospital, a day care center, as well as police and fire units.

Despite the numerous buildings above ground, a lot of work went on underground. Many employees were female (the image of Rosie the Riveter could’ve easily been taken from a picture of the work line at CW during WWII) With the increase in employment, came the requisite surge in housing and many new developments sprung up. Across the street a 7 block section of 40 x 100 lots was built, known as Sunshine City. It is impossible to overstate how important CW was to the US during WW II. Major steps were taken to insure the security of the facility. Buildings were designed with 3 foot thick concrete walls. This served two purposes. It protected the facility from any sort of aerial attack, and would contain any sort of explosion that might occur.

The fear of foreign attack was so strong that they installed anti-aircraft guns on the property. They also built fake buildings on the roof of the larger buildings, as well as fake roads, even grass in order to camouflage the buildings from the air. The guns are long gone, but the mounts remain. After WWII ended, CW still produced engines here, and later components used in nuclear submarines. By the end of the Korean War many of the government contracts expired and by the early 1970’s the Woodridge facility slowed down production before finally shutting down in the late 1970’s. Since then they have leased some of the buildings to various companies, which remains the situation today. Prior to the closing of the plant, the federal government paid the taxes on the property, but once the contract dried up, CW had to pay it themselves, and thus began nearly 30 years of fighting over the amount of taxes owed. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize what the shutting down of this facility would do to the local economy in terms of job loss, and the resulting impact on housing, local businesses, but most of all to the tax base. According to the mayor there was an increase in crime and a drop in property values. The loss of tax revenue and the failure to replace it with something else substantive was a major blow.

The fight over taxes went on for 30+ years but recently came to a resolution. Curtis Wright sold the complex to Wood-Ridge Industrial Property Owner L.L.C. for $51 Million, in December 2001. The complex comprises approximately 2.3 million square feet of rental space on 138 acres of land. CW continues to be responsible for the environmental redemption efforts. I spoke recently with mayor (and Senator) Paul Sarlo and he said that they plan to turn the large parking lot areas to the east of the buildings into townhouses. This makes some sense as the only thing there is pavement, but I wonder if contamination is still an issue. Mr Sarlo stated that upper area had some contamination but it was the lower southern end that’s where most of it was. That area will be developed commercially.

Groundbreaking is 2004, phase 1 will take 5 years and will see the development of some lower priced units. Phase 2 involves the building of denser construction as well as the development of open space and a transit stop. With 140 acres of usable property, 70 acres will provide space for 700 townhomes. If they are sold for an average of 500K, that could generate taxes based on nearly 350 million dollars. That’s a lot of ratables flowing into the town coffers. Not bad for a property that generated little tax revenue for the past 30 years. The hope is that it will drive local property values up, as well as breathe new life into the businesses on Passaic Ave.

Mr Sarlo confirmed that there were underground facilities, one tunnel of which is over 1/2 mile long…. A person who recently went exploring did locate the tunnels and told me where to find them. One thing I have not made a real discussion of here is the environmental cleanup that occurred in the 80’s. I have sketchy information at best, so if anyone has solid information about this part of the CW story, I’d love to hear it and add it to the site.

Everything you just read was written in 2005. At that time, I explored the site (with permission) but have not gone back. As we all know, the economy has gone south, particularly the housing sector. I plan to post an update on the CW situation in the coming months.


135 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Franny on June 3, 2023 at 12:43 PM

    I heard that they have nikola tesla patent teleportaion equipment under ground you know anything about that? Plasma confinement chamber etc. Email me at if you know about this stuff. Thanks


    • Posted by Urbex999 on June 5, 2023 at 8:24 AM

      Good morning Franny,

      I’ve covered most of this plant that is accessible, underground and above ground. I can confirm that this place dealt with some experimental stuff at some points of the plants lifespan. These theories to me don’t sound too farfetched but at the same time I feel they only tested secretive engines and supposedly was a part of a Coal Liquefaction experiment or something like that. If you’d like to know more i’d be happy to share what i’ve come across.


      • Posted by Franny on June 6, 2023 at 9:27 AM

        Yes that would be great !! And thank you so much for answering back I appreciate it. You can email me if you like too so we. An go in depth about thoeries and the info you have.


  2. Posted by roger on May 26, 2023 at 10:21 PM

    i use to work in the computer room in the 80s and wondered all around the basements


    • Posted by franny on June 1, 2023 at 7:11 PM

      what was it like to work in that area of the curtis wright buildings in the 80s what was your job? what was the basements like?


    • After the J-57 contract ended, what were you / they doing at that site???? I was one of the last A&Ps to leave after the J-57 contract ended. Finished up a few other brnad turbines and that was that.

      One of the photos here shows a newly refurbished J-65 which probably cost around $80,000 to overhaul “still on the blocks”. How the government dodn’t get it delivered back to them is a mystery to me. I wonder if it’s still there.

      If so I’d like to have it donated to the old Teterboro School of Aeronautics. It has a new name and owner now.

      At that school there was the Curtiss Wright Air Car. I wonder if that’s still there.


      • Posted by Joe tramonte on June 2, 2023 at 9:42 PM

        Mike, I left in 83 and went to work at Peoples Express in EWR.
        What did you end up doing?


        • Hey Joe! I was at PE also until they sold the airline to Continental. Started as supervisor, then area manager, then Senior shift manager of maintenance.

          I went thru the interview process at Continental and we were kind of in limbo there being between Butler Aviation (3rd party maintenance) and being hired at Continental.

          One night some bonehead Continental guys tried to get me to pencil whip a door problem. I argued a bit, telling them we spent a few years getting all of the DMIs cleared and pretty much cherrying out the fleet and I wasn’t going to start playing fuck fuck by pencil whipping items when we have time, men and parts to do the repair.

          So, STUPIDLY I QUIT. And have regretted it ever since.


          • Posted by joseph tramonte on June 3, 2023 at 6:20 PM

            Mike,  I left PE in March 1985 and went to work for NWA in MSP, now Delta, but I left before Delta took over due to a Strike.  Some of the names I forget, until I hear them again, but two I remember.  Bill Baraberia and Joe Reggiro. (Maybe they ended up in Maintenace Control) Did you know them? Joseph Tramonte Have a Great day


            • Yes I remember Bill Barbieri and Joe Ruggerio well. Have you heard anything about Willy Marchena? I’ve been trying to track him down for years/


    • Posted by Urbex999 on June 5, 2023 at 8:29 AM

      Good morning Roger,

      Where about was the computer room at the time? Also, were they still testing and producing engines during your time here. I’ve found some of the underground sections ranging from steam tunnels, to massive storage rooms. I do know that there are many more that have been demolished over the years, but i’ve heard this place is a multi-level maze.


  3. Posted by Urbex999 on February 21, 2022 at 10:32 AM


    For anyone who has worked in the building that runs along Passaic Ave, do you have any memories of basements or corridors connecting the building to the main building? Or was there an entrance from the parking lot that you took to get to the building.

    Also, close to building number 62, facing away from the test cells were demolished structures/buildings, where a truck park sits now. Any hints as to what it might’ve been, there was also what looked like a driveway in the shape of a long “U”

    Anything helps!


    • Posted by Jon on January 30, 2023 at 8:39 PM

      It’s been a year, are all the entrances gone by now?


      • Probably all of the easily found ones. There’s such an underground maze though….. some tunnels went out under the parking lot, others towards the back, others to the west. Only God knows at this point.


        • Posted by Urbex999 on February 3, 2023 at 10:15 AM

          Yep, all of the easily accessible ones have been torn down. The old parking lot “mantrap” entrance into the tunnel has been knocked down along with the other building right next to it. They did however build another staircase down into the tunnel about 5 feet off of the main building and across the street from the old demolished building, but they did put a better door on the entrance which makes that old entrance not viable. Other entrances through the steam tunnel are still accessible, though it makes the trip a bit tricky if you don’t know your way through the steam tunnels.

          A quick update for the condition of the plant:

          The new field where the old massive test cells used to sit which is next to the Nj Transit building, has been completed. Other smaller projects like the remaining test cells, look to be in the gutting stage unfortunately. Building No. 62 still stands tall above all buildings, and I assume is still rendering contaminations which is why not much has been done to that particular building. Me personally I hope they can turn the building into a historical site, from what i’ve read this building would’ve been considered the “heart” of the whole site.


  4. Posted by Urbex999 on February 2, 2022 at 9:26 AM

    Curtiss-Wright Update:

    The original tunnel mantrap entrance/parking lot entrance is being prepared for demolition. Other entrances are available through the steam tunnel and new staircase in front of the old building.

    The power station 500 feet away from the mantrap has since been demolished to build an extra room for truck parking.

    The test cells are still standing with some equipment/tools. Building 62 is also standing yet under decontamination in one section of the building.

    Any questions please leave a comment


    • Posted by Joe Tramonte on February 3, 2022 at 11:41 AM

      Hi, I worked there as a young jet engine mechanic from 1980 to 1983. After that, the J-57 Air Force contracted ended and we all moved on to mostly Airline mechanics jobs, namely the startup People Express was hiring, it was good timing.

      We parked in the east lot and walked through a tunnel to get to the overhaul floor. I’m not sure what they called this tunnel at the time, but there were Steam pipes that ran the length of the tunnel.

      Most all of the test cells were vacant, a couple were active for testing the J-57 and the GG-4 turbine ground units. It was an urban adventure for us at lunch time, to explore all the vacant areas left over from WW-2.

      We do wonder about all the chemicals that were dumped in the area and was this considered a superfund site?


      • Posted by Urbex999 on February 5, 2022 at 10:25 PM

        Hey Joe, thanks for commenting! During your time at the plant, where did you dispose of the waste? was it out in the open sites or specific dumping sites like a building. Ive come across a couple small building with some sort of water filled open silo, it reminds me of a dumping site.

        The old parking lot entrance is due for demolition soon sadly. Inside of the tunnel, do you remember any crossings into different tunnels, today some parts are blocked off with cinderblocks which leads me to believe there is more.

        The test cells are always amazing to look at, I can only imagine what they looked like during use. Sadly they have seen better days and nature has taken most of it over.


  5. Posted by Urbex999 on November 2, 2021 at 8:27 AM


    Has anyone worked inside of the testing cells for the engines? More specifically 50, 64, 64W, or any that have been knocked down that I am unaware of.

    Also, across the main set of tracks that run through Curtiss-Wright, not the ones that go into the plant, but the one that passenger trains go through now has a set of buildings. From satellite images, it was knocked down, rebuilt, then knocked down again multiple times. Were those buildings tied with the main Curtiss wright building?,


  6. Posted by Urbex999 on October 25, 2021 at 2:34 PM

    Detailed tunnel entree:

    Note – the current entrance is closed and I am trying to find a new way in.

    Address: 1 Passic Ave, Wood-Ridge Nj, 07075

    Directions from the industrial park main entrance with big Curtiss Wright sign:

    Keep going on Passaic ave until your first right/left into the Avalon apartment complex. From there you will need to park the car if necessary. Use Dunkin Donuts as a reference point straight down the sidewalk until you can make a right into a smaller narrow parking area. Right along there is the separation between Curtiss-Wright and Avalon. This is also where you’ll find the tunnel entrance. For easy access find the dog park along the side and you’ll clearly see a building right behind it. Walk-behind the small parking garage to get into the cut through to the door. That door has since been locked but I used to pull the bottom of the door. The last entrance I used was a hole in a wall assumed to be made by the demo crew working there.

    Currently, as of this comments post time, there is no entrance available, however, that will change and I will keep you all updated with any of my new finds.


  7. Posted by Urbex999 on October 21, 2021 at 1:34 PM

    Test Cells (above ground):

    Buildings 64 and 64W are the last 2 standing engine test cells at the Curtiss-Wright Engine Plant in Wood-Ridge.

    64W served as an engine test cell until mid 80s when John Deere occupied the area.

    Other demolished buildings such as No. 50-52 had twice the size space for testing cells. Also during demolition, a basement with tunnel passageways was uncovered.
    Another soon-to-be demolished building (62) is the tallest building throughout the plant, some call it “the foundry” but I have still yet to figure out what exactly was produced here. There are two sections to 62, one is very run down with multiple floors and a flooded basement. While the other section is up and running, the last time I was down there It looked like it was an abandoned job site with papers everywhere and even a spilled coffee on a rug. Who knows why they might’ve had to evacuate the area.

    Comment any quesitons!


    • Posted by Mike Lewis on October 21, 2021 at 1:48 PM

      When I was working there the talles building was part of the coal liquification project. Next door was a large building with a big overhead crane that lifted reactor vessels to be fitted with valves and such by the welders. I’m not sure if these are the buildings you refer to as I haven’t been there in a few years and don’t know what still stands. Standing on the street facing the front of the main building these would be behind and to the left of that main complex.


      • Posted by Urbex999 on October 21, 2021 at 7:21 PM

        if you can be a little more specific where the crane building might be that’ll sweet. But if i’m wrong please correct me. is it on the other side of the little sets of tracks that go next to the building. it looked like a train goes right up next to the side of the building so it can be loaded up. it might be where the new Nj transit building sits now.there are still a set of test cells right next to the tall building. that i can’t gain entree to that had some sort of extra steel beams on the top that looked like reinforcement. it was also bigger than all of the other test cells


        • Posted by Mike Lewis on October 21, 2021 at 8:04 PM

          Yes it was on the other side of the tracks. There were HUGE reactor vessels it a pit inside that building. Guys / welders would actually work inside them at times with temp sticks and welding gear. Where the test cells were – the one that has a pic of a turbine engine left behind. ( a fully refurbished j65 it looks like. It’s not a j57)… up that alley thru the big doors to the immediate left was the engine packing area and machine shop.

          It’s odd that the engine was left there. It was about $80,000 to refurbishj them back then! And it’s most likely a government / USAF engine so it’s really odd it was just sitting there rotting away.

          If there were some pics of what’s left I might more easily describe what’s what. But yes across those tracks from the main building was the coal liquification experimental facility and the big building with the big crane inside that was next to the tracks.. nuclear reactor vessels were worked on and shipped out. I have no idea what contract that was or what they were for.


          • Posted by Urbex999 on October 22, 2021 at 8:29 AM

            I have your email so I can shoot some better images of things you can maybe talk about or remember!

            That’s awesome I only heard of someone finding a safe with some sort of nuclear symbol found like 10-15 years ago. But I always wondered what was next to 52 because from satellite images it never looked like it had a roof to it almost only a metal structure. Although I was viewing this from old satellite images in which I can be wrong but that’s great to know!


  8. Posted by Urbex999 on October 6, 2021 at 4:32 PM

    Best tunnel description you’ll find:

    Please note : Entrance is prone to heavy pedestrian traffic + a dog park right next to it.

    For tunnel entrance exact location, comment your email and you will get pictures, location, and a complete map of tunnel to find it easily. Entrance is pretty tucked away.

    The entrance is a small 1 floor security gate that led to the original worker parking lot. From here you are faced with 2 sets of staircases that lead to the same location, about 2 sets of stairs down and you will see the beginning of the tunnel.

    First 30 feet in is reinforced for the road above. You will then reach a room to your right and a small doorway with stairs leading to a steam tunnel(approx. 1 mile long). The room to your right has a 2 rooms on both sides. One side was an old cargo elevator, while the other side was a PSE&G room.

    Continuing on you will come across a staircase that leads to the above ground shipping companies.

    Around halfway through you will come across a partial intersection which you can make a right or continue going straight. If you do make the right you will walk down and make a left to a dead end, although there are doors leading to more open rooms that I will discuss later on in the comment.

    If you stay straight you will come across a decent sized room for some sort of service rooms that have unmarked tanks and old machines. About 25 meters down you will come across a massive mail storage room (approx. 10,000sqft). Moving on past that room you will be faced with another partial intersection. At said intersection, you can make a right or a left.

    Making a left is a dead end with a few doors leading to who knows, but making a right will put you at a metal garage door with a few rooms. On the left you will see another cargo elevator and a storage room with the most random things…

    Most open doors were on the left side of the tunnel which left all the doors on the right side sealed closed. I eventually gained entree through one of the doors and was faced with a massive open space. About 5x bigger than the mail storage room but it was all connected. My high power flashlight that can condense down to a small square of light letting me see farther still failed to see the end of the empty space. Keep in mind this is underground with a massive warehouse sitting above.

    If that doesn’t show how reinforced these building were than I don’t know what will. The whole complex is monitored by 24/7 security guards with cars to do their rounds around the complex. I have yet to see a security guard in the tunnel nor do I think they are even aware of them existing. As long as you follow my instructions provided with the email you will have ZERO problems gaining entree.

    Please stay safe, without directions on how to get in you will be very lost and prone to getting caught by the security guard.


    • Posted by Mike Lewis on October 12, 2021 at 1:34 PM

      Re: tunnel entrance exact location..I used to work there but it looks different. Please send pics etc and I’ll go back.


      • Posted by Urbex999 on October 13, 2021 at 2:19 PM

        Afternoon mike,

        I sent you an email about your comment!


        • Posted by Mirsky, Ellis R on October 13, 2021 at 2:42 PM

          Thanks. I’ll look for it.


          • Posted by Urbex999 on October 14, 2021 at 9:15 AM

            Hello Ellis,

            I wanted to know where about you worked at the Curtiss-Wright plant. Though it may be diffrent now I can definetly try to find it! Also, the hallway to your managers office, was it underground and connected to a massive open space?


            • Initially (1969) I worked in Bldg. 53. That building ran alongside Passaic Ave. from the main entrance east to the parking lot. Later our group (stress analysis) moved south across the alley to the second floor (mezzanine) of the main building. Our desks were at the east end near Arnie Kossar’s (VP Engineering) enclosed office.

              At the west end of that space were the executive offices (sir-conditioned, carpeted in green and separated by wood doors.

              Below us were some utility offices (photo processing, library) and the main machine tool shop floor. That floor was made from 4×4 timber’s standing on end to absorb spilled oil and grease from the milling machines.


              • Posted by Urbex999 on October 15, 2021 at 8:45 AM

                Was the hallway to Arnie’s office painted green, then when you get to the office it’s a single wood door with wood walls. And an air conditioner at the top of the wall facing in front. If so I might’ve found his office but I highly doubt it. Do you remember how many floors to the basement? Or maybe fallout shelters? Someone said on here they got a water container from a fallout shelter at the plant.


                • Yes as to the hallway-like space lined with engineering work spaces, Arnie Kosser’s office (he had on display the original Wright Brothers Patent and a Wankel rotar engine; nice guy). Green was the color; yes air-conditioned.

                  Those turds blew their AC exhaust into our work space. It wasn’t sufficient that we had no AC, they exhausted their thermal energy into our workspace making our work environment even hotter. Keep in mind. There were no windows. The place was a closed box.

                  It was one story over ground level. Probably 2 flights of steps leading to a door to the ally (north) and the perimeter hallway surrounding the shop floor (south).


                  • Posted by Urbex999 on October 15, 2021 at 10:04 AM

                    Thats cool! If you would like i can send you pictures of the tunnels and send you a video of what I think is Arnies office was!

                • Posted by Ellis Mirsky on October 15, 2021 at 10:20 AM

                  Note: Arnie Kossar’s office was about midway along the hallway. It was built out, not part of the original structure. And it was air-conditioned.

                  At the far west end of that hallway was a wood door leading to the corporate offices.

                  As an analysis engineer, my desk was in the non-air-conditioned east end.of the hallway.


    • Posted by Lostinjersey on October 22, 2021 at 1:08 PM

      I would love to know the tunnel entrance. is still there.accesible? When was the last time you went in?


      • Posted by Urbex999 on October 25, 2021 at 9:02 AM

        Last time I had acess was around 2 weeks ago but has since been locked. I am currently working on other entrances via. the steam tunnel connected or other end of tunnel. Will update when I check a couple other places out.


  9. Posted by Joe Tramonte on May 18, 2021 at 10:48 PM

    I worked there from 81 to 83 as a 20 year old with a A & P License overhauling Pratt Whitney J-57 engines for the Air Force. We walked through the tunnel everyday to enter our work area.
    Joe T.


    • Posted by Kriegel on September 14, 2021 at 2:22 PM

      Good afternoon Gil,

      I have a couple questions reguarding your work entrance. The tunnel you entered from has 2 entrances/exits. Also, where around the tunnel you went into work. I would love to go back to your workspace and try to see whats left and see if you may remember the massive rooms! The plant is very secure but im sure I can find it for ya!


      • Posted by Kriegel on September 14, 2021 at 2:23 PM


        Sorry I dont know where I got the name Gil from lol


      • Posted by joseph tramonte on September 15, 2021 at 2:31 AM

        Hi, We parked in the East parking lot and entered the tunnel from a small guard house, that was unmanned. We walked down a flight of steps, equivalent to two stories and entered the tunnel for the walk that would lead us to the end of the tunnel. There we would go up to two sets of stairs to the main floor where we worked.
        The work consisted of GG-4 free turbine overhaul for the electric companies such as PSE&G and on the other side of the floor was the Air Force contract overhauling the Pratt & Whitney J-57.
        The employees were mostly young in our lower 20’s with a freshly minted Airframe and Powerplant license just beginning our careers.

        On break time we would explore the unmanned Test Cells abandoned from WW11. As I remember there were remnants of instruments, tooling, log books etc…
        We were Urban explores before the name became cool!


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  11. Posted by Kriegel on December 22, 2020 at 9:59 AM

    If anyone needs some new/updated pictures of the plant, soon shoot me an email. Im posting these new picutres on a good amount of blogs eventually but quite honestly I cant figure out how. (Its like 20 pics btw some cool stuff)


  12. In 1982, right out of the Academy of Aeronautics, LaGuardia Airport, Queens, NYC, as an Airframe & Powerplant Mechanic, Associate In Occupational Studies I worked at that plant at the Power Systems Division, CurtissWright, Woodbridge, N.J. I saw a Ford Mustang & a Boat with Rotary Engines in them. Also, they were testing a Rotary Engine to use in Army tanks.


  13. I worked in Building 53 at the Woodridge plant from 1969 through 1973. Love the information here. Thank you, Ellis Mirsky


    • Posted by Lostinjersey on May 30, 2020 at 7:15 AM

      can you shed any light on the tunnels or any underground facilities?


      • Memories of Curtiss-Wright

        I can talk about Building 53 at the Woodridge, NJ defense plant, but that’s about all. I worked there from January 1969 to sometime in 1973.

        Building 53 sat at the northeast corner of the Woodridge facility along Passaic Avenue. The only thing at the plant that was farther east was a parking lot – acres and acres of parking lot. Lodi was just North, and tonier Hasbrouck Heights to the East.

        The roof of 53 sat almost level with the sidewalk and parking lot outside. It wasn’t underground so much as sunken. There were windows through which one could look up to ground level.

        53 was about 150′ wide and maybe 700′ long along Passaic Avenue. It had few separating walls and was filled with metal and rubber work desks, leftover from WWII, sitting on a concrete floor stretching as far as the eye could see. Literally football fields long. Utility wires hung down from the ceilings to the floors where they serviced junction boxes. We would plug in our large electrical Fridin comptometer calculators there.

        Each morning we’d arrive to a fresh layer of dust covering our desks from the ventilation system. Monday’s were particularly dirty.

        The mens room was lined with open-stall toilets serviced by 1-ply Z-fold toilet paper squares; no two-ply soft Charmin here.

        Draftsmen armed with pencils, rules and erasers, stood at dozens upon dozens of large drafting tables slanted at 20 degrees, working on Mylar sheets, drawing plans just as they’d been doing for decades.

        I remember also working on a second level, perhaps in the building just south of 53. No windows. Somewhat more commodious but not much.

        That building was even larger and was part of the shop where large engine pistons were being turned out for radial engines still in service on 50-year old aircraft in third-world countries. Our workspace was about 100′ wide. It ran for hundreds of feet in the east-west direction.

        The adjoining shop covered acres of space. There the floor was made of separated 4×4 wood blocks standing on end to absorb oil dripping from machine tools that produced the same whining noise that they had been singing since WWII. I don’t think the blocks were ever changed out.

        Back upstairs, Arnold (“Arnie”) Kosar, then VP of Engineering, had his office – a windowless enclosure in a windowless workspace in a windowless building. Arnie was an affable guy. It was always an honor to be summoned to his office to explain what you were working on. He had a good idea of what we were talking about but, having graduated from engineering school 30 years earlier, I am sure he didn’t follow the details, nor did he need to.

        Arnie kept a photo of himself riding a hover craft developed by Curtiss-Wright during the 1950’s. He also had what I think was the original patent issued to the Wright brothers for their flying machine. And, of course, a working model of a Wankel rotary engine was there to play with.

        Down at the far end of the central hall, behind a set of green doors, were the windowless corporate executive offices. We never went there, except I went there once.

        At work I had pushed for better computing power and the only way to get it was through remote computing on a 60-bit (wordsize) Control Data Corporation mainframe computer. I had convinced management to approve the installation of a remote computer station and a very large noisy printer that required a separate room and improved electrical service.

        We needed contracts signed and that required consultation with the company’s in-house attorney. And where did he sit? Behind the green doors at the end of the hall.

        So I got my chance. As soon as I opened the doors, I knew that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. I’d been transported to Oz, or so it seemed. The blast of cool dry air told you that more important people than us worked there. They had air-conditioning! We worked without it.

        And the floors changed from concrete to carpet – green carpet. Everything was one shade of green or another.

        The lawyer I met with sat in a very small office behind a too-large desk. There he was with my contract in hand. The document was marked in the margin with tight pencil notes which he proceeded to ask me about.

        One by one he’d resolve this of that issue. Each time he had satisfied himself, he would turn his pencil around and erase his comment, brushing the eraser rubbings off the paper onto his desk.

        I left the office and proceeded back to my hovel of a workspace in the direction of the green doors, back to Kansas. But along the way what did I see? A bathroom! Well. I couldn’t pass that up. Let’s see how the corporate executives go when they have to go. Well, to my amazement I learned that those guys were anatomically different from the rest of us. They had to be. Why else would they have two-ply soft rolled toilet paper?

        That was the moment I realized that engineering was not for me. If I wanted soft two-ply toilet paper in my life, I had to become a lawyer. The rest is history.


  14. Highly helpful….look onward to visiting again.


  15. The following time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I imply, I know it was my option to read, however I truly thought youd have something fascinating to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could possibly fix for those who werent too busy searching for attention.


  16. Posted by Edward J. Brock on July 18, 2017 at 5:01 PM

    My father-inlaw worked at the Woodridge complex in 1947 as an engineer. Later becoming Director of Quality Control in his division. He has a wall in his garage
    filled with framed photos of engines, planes & other craft that Curtis Wright had a
    hand in. I am sure he would be willing to share some history of his time (30 years?)
    there. Mind you though, he’ll be 90 later this year.


    • Posted by Edward J. Brock on July 18, 2017 at 5:06 PM

      Posted by son-in-law (sort of), E. J. Brock is the man that worked at the Woodridge


    • Posted by Judith on August 20, 2017 at 12:04 PM

      I wonder if your father in law would remember my father Melvin C Hetterling, born in 1903 and worked at Wrights from 1940 until retirement in 1972. He lived in Paterson and rode buses back and forth to work all those years.
      He had walked from Scranton Pa to New Jersey hoping to get hired at Picatinny Arsenal but finally hired by Wrights the following year.


      • Posted by Glenn on December 21, 2017 at 6:57 PM

        I can ask, though there were thousands of people working. Ed was an engineer and occasionally worked with ordinance. If your father was a engineer, they may know each other. Ed just turned 90.


        • Posted by judith on June 26, 2018 at 12:37 AM

          no, my dad was not an engineer, I only know he worked in the plant. He died in 1986, age almost 83.


  17. Posted by BuffaloChuck on February 16, 2017 at 7:14 PM

    I appreciate much of the information gathered for this post. But some of the history is awkwardly presented or plainly incorrect, which makes me question the credibility of the rest of the article.

    For instance, aircraft design was not something Curtiss “eventually” got into during the 1930s. Yet, at one point you write that, after contributing some innovations to the design and manufacture of aircraft engines in the 1930s, Curtiss-Wright “eventually…began designing the aircraft themselves and soon were given the largest peacetime aircraft order ever placed.”

    This is quite wrong. The Curtiss Airplane Division of the company, which before the 1929 merger had essentially been known as the Curtiss Aeroplane Company, was founded in 1909, and designed and built aircraft continuously from its inception right through 1948, when the airframe division was dissolved.

    However, you are correct that in 1937, with the design of the P-36 “Hawk,” Curtiss-Wright received the largest peacetime aircraft order ever placed by the Army Air Corps up to that time.

    Finally, “Curtiss” is spelled with two instances of the letter “s”—as in “Glenn Curtiss.” You would do best to honor the pioneering legacy of Glenn and his companies by at least spelling his name correctly.


    • Posted by Martha Vogeler on February 18, 2017 at 2:10 PM

      And Wood-Ridge is, as our local post office stamped on our out-going mail in the 1930s, when I was growing up there, a hyphenated word.


  18. Posted by Susan Mihalik on February 16, 2017 at 5:09 PM

    My Mother- in-law , Violet Mihalik worked at Wright’s in Woodbridge N.J. as an inspector . She is still alive and talks about her 3 years there during the the second World War. She will be 100 in May 2017.


  19. Posted by gary7 on July 11, 2016 at 2:46 PM

    Hi, some guy is going on C2C am and other talk shows claining there was a TESLA teleportation/time machine locaated at the CW facility in WOOD-RIDGE, is this true for he said him and his dad went from NJ to NM in a matter of secs.a time machine toooo!!!!


  20. During WW II CW also had plants in Clifton NJ on Lakeview Ave, near the Garden Palace bowling alley and another in Paterson, NJ at Madison Plaza. . Anti Air guns were in many places close to the plants in N Jersey , including residential areas and parks Their propeller plant was in W Caldwell NJ.near the airport there. If you lived out that way you could occasionally see some strange planes such as a 5 engine B-17, (test prop on nose mounted engine) and even auto-gyros. .. .


    • My mother worked in the one in Paterson during WW II – sometimes they’d bring in planes , some shot up and park them in the front entrance across the street from Lazzara’s bakeryt and the Madison Plaza diner. I remember a torpedo bomber/- Avenger with many holes in it there.


  21. Posted by Joe on February 12, 2016 at 8:51 PM

    Work there and most stories are exaggerated and inflated. only 1 story w partial basement. Bathrooms served the workers on main floor and at level of tunnel employees traveled to get to parking lot for efficiency so workers could use baths before or after shifts. Other tunnels are just utility conduits that serve the factory or out buildings. Property is privately owned and security cameras will record your explorations leading to arrests. Recommend to stay out as you could get hurt or arrested.


  22. Posted by Linda deSciora Wagner on July 12, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    My Grandmother worked there during the war years. She and her cousin worked there. They moved to Ridgewood so she wouldn’t be too far from the Paterson plant. I was wondering if there is a registry where I can check her and her cousins employment there or a registry where I can put her name in. She was a single mother of 3 back then. This company was VERY good to them.


    • Posted by Michele Brown on December 13, 2015 at 11:19 AM

      My grandmother also worked for CW there during WWII, “matching colors”,I’m told, in Paterson. It doesn’t look like you got the information you were seeking though. I’ve been looking for some type of record of employment myself.


  23. Posted by robert brown on November 4, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    Someone mentioned seeing engines in the old plant. At some point Curtiss Wright moved all their remaining engine inventory to their facility in South Carolina where they continued selling parts to military customers. After the last military user of their reciprocating engines retired them, an employee there told me that it was decided to scrap all the inventory as the legal staff didn’t want the liability of selling parts on the civilian market where they would wind up being sued.


    • Posted by Glenn Oldham on September 30, 2018 at 9:37 PM

      Though I didn’t see any engines, there are thick cement walls in a couple of buildings with the remnants of a rail system on the ceiling. The back walls are coated with a black “soot” kind of material that was most likely from engines being tested. I was in a few of these buildings while waiting for a printing job at Dannex.


      • That’s exactly what they did there: test engines, among other things. I visited that engine testing facility in the back of the complex, about 1/4 mile or so sough of Passaic Ave. at the eastern edge of the buildings.


  24. Posted by Benn Calissi on September 3, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    Born in 1949, I lived on Jay Street which was one block from the east gate on Highland Avenue. When the workers ended their shift they’d come up that hill every day. In winter when it snowed they couldn’t get traction so they had gravel boxes strategically placed heading p the hill. As kids we’d throw gravel under the tires of the cars struggling to climb the hill. The workers would throw out change in appreciation. It was the best sleigh riding hill in town. I lived a block from the top and two houses from the corner.

    As early as 10 years old we’d hangout in the woods, build a cabin made of fallen trees and tin roof. It was our clubhouse. As we got older we would follow the eastern most drainage gully to a huge concrete box and climb in. Then we (girls as well) would follow the tunnel all the way down into the plant. It was active so we would be careful not to draw attention and simply peek through the security grate.

    One day coming home from school, at the top of Highland Ave and Twelth Street I was greeted by a large airfoil type vehicle that looked like a ’59 ford. It had a front and rear turbo fan, skirt and rudders. It was not very controllable for the test driver. I thought it was the coolest thing I saw.

    My Uncle worked there for years but never spoke about it. He was an engineer.

    That plant was a large part of my youth. To this day I am proud to know its contributions to the country.


  25. Posted by buffalochuck on May 10, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    Good post with some interesting information about some of Curtiss-Wright’s New Jersey operations. However, please spell the name of the company correctly! It’s “Curtiss” — with two s-es — as in “Glenn Curtiss.”

    – Chuck


  26. Posted by charles e pfeiffer on April 28, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    was a flight engeer o n c46 a model aircraft number 028 looking for my old airplane , can you help. U .S.A.F . thankyou.


    • Posted by Jean-Vi Lenthe on April 28, 2011 at 2:58 PM

      Charles, I’m working on a book about Curtiss-Wright, so I know that the C46 was manufactured in St. Louis mostly, though a few were also made in Buffalo. The Wood-Ridge facility only made engines. But it seems to me that you might want to contact the Commemorative Air Force (Midland, TX) if you’re looking for a specific model. They may be able to refer you to whoever keeps lists of these old aircraft.

      Just out of curiosity, where did you fly as a flight engineer? And was it during the war???


      • Posted by buffalochuck on May 10, 2012 at 7:51 PM


        Just a polite correction: In fact, the vast majority of C-46 Commandos were made in Buffalo, not St. Louis. About 2,711 were made in Buffalo Plant #2 (on Genesee Street, now demolished), 438 were made in Louisville, KY, 29 were made in St. Louis (30 if you count the prototype CW-20), and 2 in New Orleans (contracted to Higgins Industries).

        – Chuck


      • Posted by Dennis Covello on January 31, 2019 at 2:03 PM

        Did you ever finish the CW book?


  27. Posted by Dylan on February 20, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    This site was made to enlighten people on what exactly these abandoned, or not so abandoned structures are in New Jersey. Most people have written long posts going into more research than what the site already provides. But if your like me you came here because you want to not only learn more about it but to also to check it out.
    Well if that is your case feel free to continue to read. In the past three years of going to CW i’ve come across many different structures. From the pipe room or canal out in the forest located near the facilities rear by Highland ave. or the testing chambers or the massive building some refer to as the foundry.
    But most importantly my friend was walking along the main road that runs through CW (No name of street) when he came along a large metal hatch. Him and his two friends lifted the metal hatch and to their amazement a ladder leading into complete darkness. They had immediately called me and within a few hours I showed up and climbed down the hole. WE walked for what seemed like hours, until we stumbled upon a rather large tunnel. It wasn’t dark, cramped, or vile smelling like the one we were just in. But instead it was massive over half a mile long, well lit, and not a single person in sight.
    If you want to know more about this tunnel and find out how to get into it reply to this post or e-mail me. You can no longer access the tunnels the way we did, for the security/workers have found out we’ve been going in there, posing a safety hazard for someone who would try and go down there they sealed it up, Putting locks on every entrance. Except one way, that isn’t part of an active building.


  28. Posted by BeachWalker on February 17, 2011 at 11:22 PM

    I have seen two names here… one is WoodBRIDGE..which is in East Central NJ…and WoodRIDGE.. which is the correct place that housed Curtis Wright? Thanks!!



  29. Posted by mineo on March 20, 2010 at 4:39 PM

    hey just wanted to let all you facebook nerds like myself know that i started a group. anybody that can contribute any pictures to it would be great! just type in curtis wright and the group will come up. thanks


  30. Posted by Robert C. Andrews on March 10, 2010 at 8:52 PM

    As to my previous post about the 1908 photographs. You can contact me at


  31. Posted by Robert C. Andrews on March 10, 2010 at 8:48 PM

    This article in very informative.
    We have just found a photo album with photographs of Curtiss aircraft dated 1908. Who would we contact to see if the are originals.
    Thank you


  32. Posted by mineo on March 7, 2010 at 11:44 PM

    dose anybody know where u can find pictures of the facility when it had anti aircraft guns in place?


    • Posted by Dylan on February 20, 2011 at 3:45 PM

      It isn’t likely that pictures were ever taken of the actually AA guns, for security purposes. If someone were to take a picture they could be seen as a spy. Germany, Italy, Japan, even Russia in cold war times, believed that Curtiss Wright was actually a small town, with a church and graveyard in it. It was because of this it was never bombed, because spy planes would hover over they would see crosses, and little houses. No need to send in bombers if they ever could, to attack a town.
      So sorry I doubt that there are pictures of the AA guns, or the troopers patrolling the roof.


  33. Posted by Dyaln on February 28, 2010 at 8:59 PM

    My friends and I ahve been going to Curtiss Wright for about two years now, and we think we may ahve found one of teh tunnels. I would be happy to show anyone the tunnel but I do not ahve legal consent to go no teh Curtiss Wright property. Also if anyone ahs any idea of how to get into the tunnels please send me a message to me e-mail or comment back on this blog.


  34. Posted by Dyaln on February 28, 2010 at 8:42 PM

    I’ve been going down to Curtiss Wright for about two years now jsut looking around and exploring the place. About two ro three months ago my friends and I stubled upon a hatch. When we opened the hatch there was a small aldder going down about fifteen feet into a small tunnel that is complelty black. (I suggest bringing a flashlight or your not going to get anywhere.) After walking for a while in the small tunnel we arrived in a very alrge tunnel. It is very well lit and goes on for about half a mile. Throughtout the tunnel are different rooms, msot of which are now blocked off by concrete blocks or the handles ahve been removed from the doors. I believe that this tunnel is the half mile long tunnel refered to in the blog above. I woudl be happy to show people around down there, jsut messsage me on my e-mail or comment on this blog. (I don’t ahve legal passage in Curtiss Wright).


    • Posted by M Savino on August 1, 2011 at 5:47 PM

      Dylan…would love to know how to even see “the hatch” and/or tunnel you and your friends found. I wouldn’t mind even trying to get permission from site owners to explore a little, if possible, since it’s on private property.


      • Posted by Nick on August 26, 2011 at 12:47 PM

        I have gone with Dylan many times into the tunnels. As far as going down “the hatch”, last time we were there there was a lock on it. There still is one more way into the tunnel, but it requires going through what is called “The foundry”, the tallest abandoned building in Curtis Wright. If you want to give me your number im sure i can get you in contact with him. And as far as, “permission”, that will never happen. If you want to go down there you have to be willing to take the risk of getting caught.


    • Posted by Eric on February 20, 2019 at 12:42 PM

      Is this hatch outside? Can you see it from google earth?


      • Posted by dylanob1 on February 20, 2019 at 4:32 PM

        Yes it can be seen from google earth, but the hatches have been locked in recent years. The only means by which to access the tunnels are through an old building next to the NJTransit building and tracks. The basement of the building has a direct access point to the tunnels


      • Posted by William Angus on February 27, 2019 at 9:34 PM

        did someone say hatch brotha?


  35. Posted by J diesel on February 22, 2010 at 8:00 PM

    Hey I want to go explore Curtis wright, however I see the author obtained consent from the owners to explore… I was hoping to get the info how he got consent and who he contacted!


    • Posted by William on February 25, 2010 at 7:53 PM

      i am possibly doing a book on my explorations. spoke to paul Sarlo, mayor of woodbridge, and then the owners of the property. was fairly easy, but I had a valid reason to be there, asking questions and taking pictures.


      • Posted by dylan on November 28, 2010 at 11:45 PM

        I’d be happy to show you around some time if you don’t mind going on private property. and william hope to see the pictures on a site like this soon considering you can take them if i could i would cause i know of alot of places people didn’t even realize were in CW.


    • Posted by dylan on November 28, 2010 at 11:44 PM

      I’d be happy to show you around some time if you don’t mind going on private property.


  36. a pilot’s story, with a difference


  37. Posted by Jean-Vi Lenthe on September 1, 2009 at 6:46 PM

    I’m writing a book about a program that Curtiss-Wright created and directed in WWII called the Curtiss-Wright Engineering Cadette Program, which trained over 900 women in aeronautical engineering (using seven different universities) to replace engineers in their plants who’d all been drafted. Of the three Curtiss-Wright Divisions, only the engine division opted out of the program. But, oddly enough, after the war, as C-W was closing down its various plants, the Cadette Program files (which were kept in Buffalo in the office of the program’s director) were shifted first to Columbus, OH, and then, supposedly, to Wood-Ridge.

    I stumbled into this material because my mother was one of those 900 plus Cadettes, and I only discovered how serious their training and performance on the job really was this year. She’s dead, but several of her best friends from the program are still around and lively as hell.

    I spoke with Curtiss-Wright’s corporate historian and he states that no Cadette Program documents remain in their current archive, probably because they were not part of their “document retention policy”. But my mind tells me that in the vast underground labyrinth of Wood-Ridge, which was supposedly cleaned out of all corporate records, a room or several were missed (maybe one of those that got “sealed”), and that the records of that program are in there somewhere, waiting to be found…

    Can any of you intrepid underground night-time explorers confirm whether there are in fact rooms down there that still house some C-W corporate records? C-W’s historian says that after the waterpipe broke and ruined so many items, the moldy remains were then officially shredded.

    I live in Taos, New Mexico, and I am coming to Washington, D.C. in later September to look around some more in the National Archives and the National Air and Space Museum. I might be persuaded to come up to New Jersey if anyone knows how to locate some of the boxes of records still in the building.


    • Posted by lostinjersey on October 18, 2009 at 6:20 PM

      email me at lost at lostinjersey dot com and we’ll talk


      • Posted by Teresa on July 15, 2010 at 11:23 AM

        Hi Jean,

        My grandmother was a student at UT and part of this program. I’ve found some information on UT’s website; however, I was wondering if you had further information about the program?

        Thank you,


        • Posted by Jean-Vi Lenthe on July 16, 2010 at 1:23 AM

          Hi Teresa,

          I’ve spoken with a great many Cadettes, and a few of them are from the UT class. Nevaire Gambrell was one of them. I have the list of UT Cadettes, so I’m wondering if you can tell me what your grandmother’s name is? And is she still alive? I am on the third draft of my book, and still open to hearing any personal stories by Cadettes or their descendants. If she’s alive, I’d be glad to call her and interview her. The story of the Cadettes is not easy to dig up. The company pretty much buried it when the Airplane Division closed down in 1951. And they disavow knowledge of it now at Corporate Headquarters.

          What else do you want to know? Are you a student? Maybe studying engineering???

          Best, Jean-Vi (I’m at 575-751-7230 in Taos, NM, if you want to talk about it.)


          • Posted by Teresa on July 16, 2010 at 11:44 AM

            Hi Jean-Vi –

            Thanks for writing back. Do you have an email address that I can use to contact you?


    • Hi Jean; I suspect you got a lot of people inquiring about their grandmothers during WWII. I’m a grandmother now too and I wonder if you ever heard of Erzelia L. Farman who managed the cafeteria for Curtiss-Wright during WWII. Or perhaps you could tell me who to contact to see if they have pictures or information about Erzelia (not spelled with an H) from their history at Buffalo. I grew up in Pennyslvania and had a very limited contact with my grandmother but I believe she was given the cafeteria after the war. Perhaps she knew your mother. Thanks for any information you can share. SFB


  38. Posted by Nick on August 15, 2009 at 8:37 PM

    Hey all me and my friends went down to the complex today in search of there underground tunnels. We found absolutely nothing. The only thing we happened to find was that water substation, and next to it was a concrete ledge which led into a little room which was 3 to 4 feet. Is that the entrance to the underground system? If so could you email me along with all your know info about this underground systems my email is me and my friends would love a good exploration down there so if anyone knows anything please email me.



  39. Posted by Dylan on July 23, 2009 at 8:33 PM

    Before reading my e-mail is:

    Hi i may be young but i’ve had quite a few adventures in CW. Me and my friends ahve been gonig to CW for the last two years we ahve roamed the whole area in which there are no factories, we ahve multiple bases going from the fence near woodland park to the lower parking lot by the buildings. The hole reason we started going to Curtiss Wright was to find the famous Tunnels. My uncle always told me about his adventures there and I wanted to check it for myself. While i ahve been able to peer into the tunnels they are not exactly accseible. One is above the cannal it has a giant slate that me and my friends have attempted to move or dig out, we failed. Than there is the cannal itself in which you can look in the holes in the wall and see a giant room and if you scream in the echo goes on for a minute. Our newest discovery is in the middle of CW in one of the fields near one of the car parking lots for the car dealerships. It looks like an ordinary manhole, but far from it. Me and my friends pryed it open and to our astonishment we found it lead down about twenty feet into a giant room. We would ahve crawled down the ladder jsut inside but it looks far from safe so we need to get some sort of harness to lower ourselves down. There are plenty more things I can talk about but to many to say in a message. If anyone no’s how to get into the tunnels more safely please talk with me if you live in WooD-Ridge jsut make a new comment like my own or send me an e-mail message. It would mean alot if anyone could help us, before we grow up or before the new owner knocks it down!


  40. Posted by Alex on June 29, 2009 at 3:38 AM

    I visited the Curtiss-Wright complex tonight. I live a few blocks away from it in Wood-Ridge, and like most of you, I was curious as to what was still going on in there. A couple of years ago when I was younger, we used to play in the woods and near the factories. Real safe, right? Haha. We finally discovered the basic tunnel system that most of you all found also. It’s next to the NJ Transit building. You can access it from the basement of that building or from a hatch in the ground near the train tracks. These aren’t the legit tunnels of CW though. These ones only lead you to a large room that looks like they used to store Post Office products there. If anyone knows of a way to locate the tunnels that are frequently talked about, please let me know! Rumour has it that these tunnels go some 20-30 stories underground! I’d love to explore these, and if you’re interested in meeting up, I live in Wood-Ridge and know the Curtiss Wright complex like the back of my hand. Get to it quick though! Most of it is leveled, and I would give it another year or so before all of the factories are gone too.

    Email me if interested in exploring!


    • Posted by sparky on September 17, 2009 at 8:27 PM

      I live in woodridge. Been looking for these damn tunnels for years. Ive found many tunnel openings and manholes, they all lead to a dead ends. Thats why they are there, they are not to much of a safty issue, the town nor the owners can afford to block all these little shafts and rooms. The legendary CW tunnels are either destroyed or blocked by reenforced walls. Sorry you will never see them unless you own the propery. Even the workers at NJ Trsnsit and other buildings will never have access to the tunnels. This info came to me not long ago by a person whom owns a exevation company that had bids on a contract for the work you see done. I hope this helps you guys , I looked along time to be sadly dissapointed, besides theres tons of nasty chemicals still coming to the surface of the land. Sorry to dissapoint but theres what I trust and know to be the truth.


    • Posted by jon on November 27, 2009 at 6:34 PM

      hi,I was just wondering where can I find the small hatch that leads into the basic tunnels because Im not sure which building is the Nj Transit Building. Please get back to me at

      thanks Jon


  41. Posted by Sonny on March 18, 2009 at 7:33 PM



  42. Posted by Joe on March 18, 2009 at 11:24 AM

    I lived in Heights my whole life. I’ve been going to Curtis Wright for a while. If u go to the blacktop today You’ll see a baracade somewhere that me and my friends made so cops don’t get through. Like Alex said you don’t need to go into the factories next time you go there go in the sound room on the roof its awesome there. Don’t forget to go on da roof.


  43. Posted by Phil on March 17, 2009 at 9:56 AM

    I came upon your website doing research on the abandoned Wrights Areonautical Corp. underground building in Wood-Ridge NJ. Amazing information.

    I would like your advice from a fellow “explorer”. Well ok you probably have MORE experience then me. I have been interested in LOST artifacts of NJ since my first run in at Essex County Hospital at 18. from there its been the old waterloo village to the nike missile bases in my town of Berkeley Heights. now 25,

    this is a short email but if you have any information i would love to hear it. I have some nice gadgets to take pictures, video camera, great falshlights, radios and what not to make any adventrue great. I guess im asking if you have interested areas to go to can i tag along?
    i love the long walks, dark tunnels, well you know. i hope to hear from you soon. thank you sir!!


  44. Posted by Michelle on March 17, 2009 at 9:52 AM

    I was just talking to my brother about what he saw in Curtiss Wright in the ’90’s. I emailed you a couple years ago to tell you some of the things he told me when we were kids, and I remember that you liked what I told you. I brought up your website and showed him some stuff, and you have to talk with him about it. The stuff he is telling me is blowing my mind. He said he is willing to give you his # and he can tell you all about it and even draw maps of what he saw in the tunnels.

    Thanks! Love your website!



  45. […] See more here:  Curtis Wright Aircraft Facility […]


  46. Posted by Michelle on March 5, 2009 at 2:33 PM

    I was reading your article on the old Curtis-Wright facility in Wood-Ridge and was wondering if you had any more updates. I grew up in Wood-Ridge right down the street from there and have always been interested in the history surrounding the place. I lived right across the street from one of their old parking lots. I can verify the underground passageways from my brother. He and his friends used to go down there exploring when they were kids. They found a lot of the same things you found like the reel-to-reels, various documents in boxes and blueprints in some of the underground buildings. Mostly what they found though was mold damage and water.

    Some of the passageways were flooded up his chest, and the only thing that prevented him from traveling farther down one of these particular tunnels was that the water was getting deeper and he had no way of knowing how far he had to go or if the tunnel would collapse. The picture of the building with the fly infestation is also underwater in parts and impassible. Plus he saw evidence of places that were sealed shut. I don’t see him much anymore, but I can try to get in touch with him to see if he could tell you some of the things he found. He has gone farther than anyone else I know who has gone there.I am also attaching some pictures of maps that show the aerial views of the complex starting from the Woodridge Ave part at the corner of the street near Catherine E. Doyle Elementary. There is a lot of land and a lot of buildings.

    Map Quest and Expedia are calling this area “Wood-Ridge Industrial Park,” but Terra Server doesn’t even name it, even in their topical map.2nd email I came across your website while looking for aerial maps of Curtis-Wright in Wood-Ridge, NJ since I grew up there next to one of the most important places in history. I love this website, and I can’t stop reading it! I never stay at a site this long just to read it and look at the pictures. I already spent a few hours on it just reading and really enjoying it. I was reading “The Ghost Farm” and the picture of the “weird looking plant” looks like a cotton plant, which is weird because I always thought that cotton was mostly grown in the south back in the day. Do you know what was grown on that farm?


  47. Posted by John on March 5, 2009 at 2:32 PM

    Hi, I loved your Curtis Wright stuff. I lived in Wood-Ridge for my whole life, then I joined the Navy in 99′. I recently got out and have moved to Arkansas where my folks reside now. I am currently looking to come back to NJ cause this state totally sucks Aka (No jobs here, 3 hrs to go shopping for stuff like Sears, Best Buy, Home Depot). I’ve been to Curtis Wright when I was younger, friends of mine found old WW2 airplane parts such as prop’s for engines and engines in crates still. It seems that most of the engines that resided there where either taken out of there our taken apart by someone. There is tons of hidden stuff there, passageways that go throughout the basement of the building. My uncle how was an Ironworker did work there, he told me in the basement there was rooms where they tested new jet engine proto-types and prop ones too. From experiences there, the basement is huge, and dark as hell.

    I suggest if you want to go back and see the basement bring good work boots or hiking boots and a lot of high powered flash lights. We used to go down there and wander around for hrs. Saw all kinds of engine blueprints in rooms and operating equip to test aircraft engines. The picture of that engine you have placed on your website is an EA-6b Prowler jet engine, A navy jet plane used to electronic radar jamming. They navy still uses that plane, it’s old! I know ways of getting into Curtis Wright through Hasbrouck Heights. The one building you think is a bomb shelter isn’t one. It’s a water pump substation.

    Years back me and my fiends open one of the valves and shut the big doors letting the room fill with water. We came back weeks later, and reopened the doors. We got totally drenched lucky for us it was summer time or else we would be freezing our butt’s off. They place where the substation is getting majorly over grown by trees and plant life. Wood-Ridge the town that Curtis Wright is situated in plans on developing Condos there and some other stuff. My big question is what are they gonna do with all the toxic waste in the soil there? That soil is laced with all kinds of toxic chemicals Curtis Wright’s company dumped there. Contact me if you wanna know any more stuff, I know of tunnels running through my hometown of Wood Ridge and extending elsewhere.


  48. Posted by Dale on March 5, 2009 at 2:31 PM

    I have a Curtis Wright ind. camper model # 5 Serial # 6167. the person I received this camper from says it’s from the 1950’s. another person thinks maybe late 1930’s. anyway this camper looks like two cockpits end to end. it also has some type of contoured airplane door. it was made in Los Angeles, ca it has a single axle. so he not only built airplanes and engines he tried his hand at other things. just thought you would find this interesting.


  49. Posted by Bill on March 5, 2009 at 2:30 PM

    I was posting interesting dead cities/abandoned places to the forums at . Which lead me on a quest to tell my tale of Curtis-Wright, after several google mis-steps in a search for aerial photos and history about the property I happened on your site and am truly glad that I’m not the only person who knows some details of this place. So without further delay:

    I got my first W-2-able job on the Curtis-Wright property in June of ’87 at Stacy Fabrics, which would be located on the far east side of the complex, facing the wooded trail and expansive parking lot. I was a summer-time janitor, did some inventory, and some dock work, but mostly I emptied trash, cleaned toilets, and swept up the roaming strands of fabric coming from machines I was not allowed to even go near ,they were hidden behind 2 -3 story tall passages, draped with several layers of heavy plastic. (an attempt to keep the loose particles from choking us to death, I guess). Well in 3 months work, I got repeated throat infections, so it could not have been too healthy a place anyway.

    While cleaning the below ground bathrooms I discovered 4 foot tall tunnels, leading into darkness. This I marveled at, and would try to see down the tunnels, even shining a light through the thick metal grating that covered them, but could never see an “end”. During a lunch break, I mentioned my curiosity about the tunnels and how cool it would be to go exploring them to my friend’s Grandmother (who got me the job), and the two bosses. They all looked at me like I was crazy and “large Marge” proceeded to inform me that the tunnels were a storage dump for barrels of toxic wastes, left over from when the site was used in WWII. Well that turned me off that idea, good thing she mentioned it, because I was already to take a lunch break into the unknown.

    Fast forward to 1992. I get off work (different job) with a pocket full of cash, and wait for a bus back home on Paterson Ave in Rutherford. A Camaro with two hotties in it rolls up, and my friend in the back says “Hey Bill you wanna go find..,(Some cretin whose name I don’t recall)”. Well I didn’t really, but the two cute girls in the front were an attractive beginning to a Friday night so I jumped in. We pulled up to the South Eastern corner of the fence for the property. I had no idea where I was actually, having never been in that neck of the woods or neighborhood, and proceeded to scale the fence. This was during my drop acid in the woods years, so this new discovery totally amazed me, and instantly made verbal comments that I’d be returning the next day to dose out and explore.

    Then real discoveries occurred, the “entrance” that you describe and photograph truly amazed me. The photo doesn’t do it justice, that thing is huge, if its the same concrete entrance. Nearby to that was an enormous manhole/storm drain cover thing. Its probably a well cover, or possibly an access hatch to more tunnels. Big enough to fire a missile out of? Possibly that too!We were on a mission so I could not stop to observe more, plus I had plans to come back the next day, with solitude and “extra perception”. About 10 yards further into the woods we found a campfire, and proceeded to urinate on it… “smokey says only U can prevent forest fires”. Then we heard the sounds of people, so we headed toward those sounds. We came to the fence on the East most border of the property and witnessed two police cars detaining about 10 teenagers. Like idiots we stood there, and watched, totally exposed. To be honest I had no idea where I was, and the thought of trespassing” never ever occurred to me (anywhere), this was just woods to me.

    The officer spotted us and told us to climb out from under the fence, we followed the instructions, then they ordered all the kids and myself into the back seat of the cars, we were sitting on each others laps. They took us to the Carlstadt police station and arrested myself and one other “adult”, the kids got some kind of other juvenile action taken against them, most having had a run in with the law at some point prior. My friend Mike got 2 years of juvenile probation and drug testing without even a trial, well his previous crimes earned him that I guess.

    I was in a bit of shock, “arrest huh? wha? who me?” That’s finally when I found out what the property was, because it was on my summons for court. I called the Curtis-Wright lawyer and explained my fiasco but he wasn’t going to help. The Judge didn’t believe the story I just told you (sans the acid dropping weekend part), and was really a mean bastard. Eventually I guess the look of utter desperation, and my story telling ability managed to sway him to only give me a $75 trespassing fine, which he said is actually a felony in the state of New Jersey. Nuts! Perhaps because it was still federal property?

    Well needless to say, I never returned the Curtis-Wright Property, although I live less than 1/4 mile from it in Wallington. I’ve been thinking of applying for at job a Rose Art for awhile. I might just have to do that, and go on lunch time tours with your other explorer pal. To this day I wonder who took up residence where Stacy Fabrics was. Well that’s my story. If you happen on aerial photos of the place, please pass them along, I’ll do the same!


    • Posted by Shane on October 5, 2015 at 9:18 PM

      Garden State Honda now occupies the area that you speak of. I have been in this area very recently and im amazing how deep those bathrooms are. They are at least 2 stories down a straight flight of steps.


  50. Posted by Keith on March 5, 2009 at 2:25 PM

    Hi my name is Keith. Me and my 2 friends went into that Curtis Wright center you talked about. it was kool and we saw some things you explained. we saw the labs which had the windows that looked down to look at the engines. We could not find the jet engine that was still there cuz we also had to make sure the security guard did not come. We saw the blue waters in two rooms. It looked really deep and was one big sheet of ice. We tried braking the ice but it was to thick. we also noticed a later going down into the water. Then on the roof I’m not sure if you explained it is another room. To get up it you have to climb up a wall and hold onto the beams to help you up. When you are up there are beams maybe 12 or 15 feet long. There are maybe 15 or 20 of them across the hole room. Also they spread apart just enough to squeeze through. The weird thing about them is if a person is about 3 feet in front of you it sounds like they are a mile away. You can hardly hear the person and it sounds as if there voice is electronically or if they are on a micro phone. When you go all the way through it is a drop all the way to the first floor right near where you get in. Also in the corner of the area the is a enormous amount of cat shit .I never seen so much in my life which is more proof of infestation of cats. I have no clue why that room is up there and why you sound weird and cant hear anyone in between the pillars. There was more to check out but it was getting dark. I f you were in that area on the roof or know why the room was there email me back. The grand union there that is abandoned, I don’t know if it was when u went, the doors are open to go in. It is really scary and we dint not check out the hole place. So email me back on this email address or the one I gave you but try to on the one I gave you. thanxs for your time . P.S if you can explain were the jet engine was and directions to other cool things in there or around that area that would be helpful.


  51. Posted by Kevin on March 5, 2009 at 2:24 PM

    Well we parked on the other side of the factory in a neighborhood and walked in through a hole in the fence right by that old rusted sign that you took a picture of. The first pic on your Curtis-Wright page. It took us awhile to find a place to park. We followed the mapquest directions (my brother got the address from some website I can get it if you want it) and it brought us to the main entrance to the facility. I just kept driving trying to stay as close to the grounds as possible and finally I saw a hole in the fence that led into a whole bunch of woods. I bet you could probably park in the huge empty parking lot that no one uses because we were walking around the place and were seen by a whole bunch of people and no one said anything so. The manhole was not like the ones in the street but it was one that sticks up out of the ground about 3 feet. Its right behind a bunch of abandoned trains or pieces of yellow trains sitting on the train tracks. If you do go all the lights in the tunnel worked so just hit some switches and it’ll light up. If you cant find the manhole here

    Go to where you were standing to take that pic. Walk back towards the huge parking lot you came in from and the building is on your right, right before the NJ transit building. Go in there and there are stairs leading to the basement of the place which has an entrance to the tunnels we found. There ya go. Hopefully you can find more tunnels. Let me know thanks


    • Posted by Nick on November 6, 2009 at 1:10 AM

      where exactly is the 3 foot manhole? is it across from the NJ transit bui;ding wher all of the old vehciles are parked/piled up. If u could tell me the exact location it would be awesome!


  52. Posted by Matthew on March 5, 2009 at 2:21 PM

    The name originated from Orville and Wilbur Wright, and Glen Curtis. I had worked in that building in 2000 and 2001.Bldg #48,or at least entrance the south side. I was employed as a machinist with a company that leases there, I definitely had a curiosity of the building’s history, it’s manufacturing techniques, and the still present speculation of subterranean levels within the main structure. For all my more or less legitimate wandering’s, I am unfamiliar with some of the sites you’d photographed. One section I frequented was equipped with very substantial overhead flight bars, perhaps 40′ from the floor, and with track’s for a light rail system. Many accesses were barred within the building, but I can attest to bathroom facilities 2stories below ground level. I can only assume these were present to accommodate other facilities 2 stories below also, R/D, labs, fallout shelter’s etc……Anyway, I’m sure part of the fascination comes from the mystery that surround’s the facility. I’ve worked in similar places and the curiosity was pretty
    much the same though I think because of it’s association in history with WWII it will
    forever remain a curiosity…..

    There aren’t likely many surviving past employees that had worked there during the forties……I remember much of the flooring was constructed of 4×4 lumber sunk end on end, and treated with creosote, very, very durable. The building I was employed in I would have to believe to be the origin of the internal combustion engines used in the WWII planes. I’m not an aviationist but I suspect the Turbines and out-building’s you’d photographed came along in the 1950’s when jet engines began to reign supreme.


    • Posted by Joe Tramonte on February 6, 2022 at 1:16 PM

      Hi, We did not have anything to do with waste, we were jet engine overhaul mechanics. The upper management team would know how waste was disposed.

      The tunnel entrance for us, had more than one passage way blocked off with cinder blocks, we never knew what was on the other side.

      It was dark, not very well lite, with steam leaking from the pipes and valves knocking every so often. I would think those pipes were wrapped with asbestos insulation. The insulation was ripped, hanging and generally in poor condition.

      I don’t think today’s younger generation would ever think of working in a place like that!


  53. Posted by Angelo on March 5, 2009 at 2:16 PM

    Good job guys on your story. EXCELLENT! I am Angelo from Clifton, NJ. I was a lead guard at this site for a security agency for American Tissue in 97. I was down there looking around just like you guys. I was surprised you did not see a postal or mail room. That was more near the warehouse of American Tissue. I heard the same info on the planes being made for the war but never heard the houses and trees on the roof-top. That was cool. Well if you need a tour I can try to assist you. Okay thanks so much for this site.


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