The Belle Meade Depot

The GSA-Belle Mead Depot was located in Hillsborough and had several purposes thru its history. It was primarily a warehouse and there were numerous railroad lines running into the facility. During WWII, the facility was used as sort of 20th century Guantanamo, housing Italian POW’s. After the Vietnam war, the property was then turned over to the GSA from the Army until it was closed in 1991. In 2009 the Belle Meade Depot property was transfered over to the Somerset County Improvement Authority. Bought for $15M, the 369 acre property will be jointly owned by the county and the town of Hillsborough. it is hoped that after any contimination is removed (which cost another $20M) the property will become ball fields and recreational areas.

I visited there in 2007 with the intent to scale the most notable thing on the property: a giant water tower. I went there with several friends and we scouted the property which was very close to some ball fields. After scouting out a handful of remaining buildings that were in serious disrepair, we headed for the tower. I have to say that this was not a smart move. We didn’t know the structural stability of the tower, or more importantly the ladder. Like stupid spider monkeys we one by one climbed up and were treated to an amazing 360 degree view of the area. At the time there was a geocache up on the top, easily one of the riskiest geocache finds ever. Still, this isn’t the stupidist or riskiest thing I’ve ever done in my explorations. All the pictures are up on flickr

19 responses to this post.

  1. Fascinating piece and cool photos! I worked at the facility from 1985 until going off to active duty during Operation Desert Storm in 1990 (where they relocated to Burlington township in my absence). I spent many at lunch break while working there exploring the grounds and was amazed I know vast it all was.


    • Posted by william conniff on March 3, 2021 at 5:24 PM

      I lived at the Depot from the late 50s through the end of 1974. Few people know more about this facility than I do.


      • Posted by G Mosberg on December 23, 2021 at 8:18 PM

        I worked there in 1972 with Pat and Lucile Muller.
        Loaded trucks of asbestos, rubber, hemp, mica and other commodities.


  2. Posted by hw on May 10, 2019 at 9:05 PM

    Oh, yes… I remember the Geocache at the top of the tower. I remember climbing up that thing. The adrenaline was pumping that day. 🙂 Found the cache though. TNLN SL. hahahahah


  3. Posted by Bill Conniff on March 11, 2019 at 3:57 PM

    This is inaccurate to say the least! I lived in the depot from 1958 through the end of 1974 and one thing I can say is that the army left in 1958 and GSA took over until the depot closed and was moved to southern NJ. One plan was to retrofit the depot in belle mead but inadequate road conditions (think route 206) made this problematic. I have facts and true stories regarding the depot if anyone is interested


  4. Posted by Peter on July 19, 2018 at 4:24 PM

    Peter….lived at Belle Mead General Depot from 1953-1956 ages 7-10.


  5. Posted by Dori Lou on August 20, 2017 at 1:08 PM

    Our family lived at Belle Mead General Depot for 3 years. We lived in kyoto, Japan before arriving at the Depot in 1953. My brother and I have wonderful childhood memories living there. My father was a major at the time.. After living at the depot we transferred to MacDill AFB and then transferred to Germany for 3 years. After living in Germany we were stationed for the last time at Ft. Dix, NJ. Our father retired in 1961. It is so sad to see the old photos of the depot, but I understand they are going to make the area into a huge park for everyone to enjoy. (We lived in the converted barracks next to the Officer’s Club and golf course. Our living room and kitchen overlooked the motor pool and warehouses).


  6. […] bars 🙂 Not so much on the the success front there, but spent some time tooling around the old Belle Mead Depot, which is on it’s way to becoming a big ‘ol ballfield and sporty expanse.  And […]


  7. Used to live in central Jersey area and went to Depot a couple of times for open house in late 1950’s. The Fire Chief, Ed Beecher, lived in Milltown, just east of NewBrunswick/No. Brunswick and he used to bring a fire truck(military type) to the July 4th parade.


  8. Posted by Slidewell on May 27, 2015 at 12:46 PM

    I lived nearby the depot, ’79 -’84. Passed by it on Mountainview Rd., practically every day during that time, and never saw a living being or any activity there whatsoever. Surprised to hear it didn’t officially close until ’91.


  9. Posted by Estelle Oliansky on September 6, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    I lived there as a child.


  10. Posted by Mary Lou Liles on October 29, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    I lived there on the post, 1947-1948. We had great times and a great group of kids- all army brats, sad to see its demise.


  11. Awesome decay! Thank you for this glimpse into an abandoned and off-limits spot. (It is off-limits, isn’t it?)
    I’m new to the area and have become very interested in its history…


    • I lived there in 47 at 1 yr old until I was 8 yrs old..1954..My dad was a security guard at the Depot and we lived in the renovated barracks..I have all movies of the place when it was a community back then..Had a great childhood there..


      • Hello Joanie, My name is Tim Stollery, and I am a member of the Hillsborough Township Historic Preservation Commission. We would love to talk to you about life at the depot. If you have photos or movies, we would love to see them!
        pls call, or e-mail me?
        cell 908 208 1518
        Thanks and lool forward to speakig with you!


        • Posted by Joanie Ely Sundelof on August 30, 2016 at 11:17 PM

          Hello there Tim…Yes, I do have photos and movies (8mm bk and white) which my Dad took of me and family when we lived at the Depot..I was about 8mos old when we moved in and my Dad worked as a Security Guard there at the Depot..We left and bought a new house in Piscataway, NJ when I was 8 yrs old..I would love to be in touch and so glad I just happened to ck back on this site today…I will be in touch with you soon to share what I can. I am also on Facebook as >.Joanie Ely Sundelof Look forward to speaking with you as well. Joanie


      • Posted by ben dubbs on June 25, 2017 at 3:28 AM

        i live there now. as kids we used explore back in the depot coming from a broken fence at ann van middlesworth park. it be great if i could see what it was like up and runinng. please send video if you dont mind. thanks


  12. Posted by Justin on May 21, 2012 at 9:28 PM

    Yeah when the buildings burnt down I was actually there. My first time ever visiting I saw the warehouse on fire and called the fire dept. Lets just say I regretted it pretty bad when they decided to finger me as the main suspect for arson. Thankfully I managed to get my name cleared.


  13. Posted by gypsywanderin on April 12, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    well? where be the photo of me and dj up on top?


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