During the last years of World War I, a new explosive was invented to help stretch the depleting stores of TNT. It was called Amatol, and in 1918, shortly after the United States entered the war, a munitions plant and adjacent factory town were established in New Jersey named after the explosive they manufactured.
Amatol, New Jersey, was built on 6,000 acres of land in the Pine Barrens. Most of the buildings had been built from wood, which was later dismantled. Buildings that were made from concrete still stand today. They are believed to have been the pouring rooms for Amatol as the sides of the buildings are angled in a way that, if there was an explosion, the surrounding area would be less impacted.
Within five years, the Amatol town and plant were demolished. Amatol became a ghost town, which was typical for many areas during that time. In 1926, Charles Schwab bought part of the land where the plant had stood and built a “wooden bowl” speedway. The track was one and a half miles long and was made of wood planking, sort of like an oval “boardwalk”.
Sadly, it was the Great Depression that led to the demise of this favorite pastime; it was ultimately deconstructed in 1933 after hosting eight races. he only thing left of the speedway is the oval layout of the racetrack. Today, the site of the former racetrack is partially maintained as part of the Hammonton Creek Wildlife Management Area, and this section is open to the public for hiking and exploration.