Air Force Plant 51 - Photo by TomMaszerowski
Air Force Plant 51 (sometimes known as Odenbach Shipyard) is located at the northern end of Dewey Avenue near Lake Ontario. The building is partially occupied by a scrap metal business and it is probably not a great idea to attempt exploring the facility. It is also reported to be one of Rochester's most polluted toxic waste sites. Access to most of the exterior is unencumbered but the interior is secure. Infiltration doesn't look like it would be all that difficult, if you're so inclined (and are wearing protective gear).
The yard is far from abandoned, and the portion known as the building is in use storing recycled metal. Entry into the building without permission will get you a meeting with the Greece Police Department, often Officer Phydeaux, in minutes. The owner of the property is well known for prosecuting, and given the current price of scrap, I'm fairly sure the charge will be a felony.
Air Force Plant 51, just south of Round Pond, was used during World War II to build oceangoing oil tankers and landing craft.
The federal government until 1959 operated Air Force Plant 51, known during the war as the Odenbach shipbuilding plant. After the war, workers there built bulkheads for B-52 bombers and equipment for missile systems.
About the pollution
The person who is behind those allegations doesn't know much about 4800 Dewey, or its uses over the time it has existed as an industrial site. DEC maps show the contamination to be at the North end of the plant, and indicate the contaminants are from a plating operation. No plating was done at the Yard during the Odenbach operations, nor was plating done while A.O. Smith operated the B-29 airframe building there.
The plating operation was carried out by a tenant in the 1970s, a car bumper reconditioner, who ran a shop in the north end of the main "building". This is easily verified through tax records, but somebody seems intent to endrun the process, and leave the bill for cleanup on the taxpayers.
Notes and References
Forgetting About Air Force Plant 51s Toxic Wastes, from the Sierra Club
Excerpts from a D&C article:
More (mostly exterior) pictures in this Air Force Plant 51 Flickr set.
Formerly Used Defense Sites Public GIS: https://rsgisias.crrel.usace.army.mil/apex/f?p=516:3:::::P2_FUDS:C02NY0575
Bing Map: http://binged.it/MYSijZ
Information on ships built at this location: http://shipbuildinghistory.com/history/shipyards/4emergencysmall/odenbach.htm
Listing on Urban Exploration: http://www.uer.ca/locations/show.asp?locid=22977
The main 1300 foot long building was erected in the first 9 months of 1942 along with a canal to Round Pond, and a channel dredged to Lake Ontario. Ships were built & delivered before the building was complete. The white building East of the main building was the medical dispensary & offices. A model of the tankers built there and in Florida by Odenbach is in the Sr Citizen room of the Greece rec center at Town Hall.
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