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.

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67 responses to this post.

  1. 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.

    Reply

    • 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.

      Reply

  2. 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.

    Reply

  3. 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!!!!

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  4. 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. .. .

    Reply

    • 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.
      .

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  5. 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.

    Reply

  6. 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.

    Reply

    • 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.

      Reply

  7. 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.

    Reply

  8. 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.

    Reply

  9. 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

    Reply

  10. 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.

    Reply

    • 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???
      Jean-Vi

      Reply

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

        Jean,

        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

        Reply

  11. 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.
    Dylanob1@yahoo.com

    Reply

  12. 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!!

    Allison

    Reply

  13. 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

    Reply

  14. 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 rcandrews@innernet.net

    Reply

  15. 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

    Reply

  16. 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?

    Reply

    • 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.

      Reply

  17. 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.

    Reply

  18. 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).

    Reply

    • 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.

      Reply

      • 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.

        Reply

  19. 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!

    Reply

    • 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.

      Reply

      • 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.

        Reply

    • 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.

      Reply

  20. a pilot’s story, with a difference http://bennymay.wordpress.com/

    Reply

  21. 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.

    Reply

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

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

      Reply

      • 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,
        Teresa

        Reply

        • 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.)

          Reply

          • 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?

            Reply

    • 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

      Reply

  22. 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 nicgio@bergen.org me and my friends would love a good exploration down there so if anyone knows anything please email me.

    Thanks
    Nick

    Reply

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

    Before reading my e-mail is: Dylanob1@yahoo.com

    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!

    Reply

  24. 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! Currentsbooking@gmail.com

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    • 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.

      Reply

    • 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 xgamer25@yahoo.com

      thanks Jon

      Reply

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

    GOOD SITE! I LIVED IN WALLINGTON FOR 40 YEARS. I HEARD ALOT ABOUT THIS PLACE.I ALSO HAVE SOME OLD CANNED WATER FROM CURTIS-WRIGHTS SHELTER. MY FRIEND & I GOT THIS MANY YEARS AGO WHEN WE WERE EXPLORING. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN A PICTURE OF THIS CAN, WHICH IS STILL FULL, E-MAIL ME. SONNY

    Reply

  26. 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.

    Reply

  27. 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!!

    Reply

  28. 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!

    Michele

    Reply

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

    Reply

  30. 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?

    Reply

  31. 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.

    Reply

  32. 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.

    Reply

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

    I was posting interesting dead cities/abandoned places to the forums at http://www.raptorman.us/ . 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!

    Reply

    • 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.

      Reply

  34. 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.

    Reply

  35. 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

    Reply

    • 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!

      Reply

  36. 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 #48.in 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.

    Reply

  37. 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.

    Reply

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